I’ve written before that one of my favorite forms of inspiration is the kind I get from other bloggers and articles I read online or in print. My notebook is filled with ideas prompted by things I’ve read online, and I’m sure that yours is too, which is great because that’s exactly why we’re all here and what makes this such a great community: to inspire one another.
Stealing inspiration from other bloggers can get tricky though when you’re not sure how to go about it, or when you don’t give credit where credit is due, and a lot of times, that uncertainty leaves us not wanting to hit the publish button on what might be a really great post. So today, here are my four tips to keep in mind when stealing inspiration from your favorite bloggers or articles.
Ask Yourself Why
Why do you like this post – specifically, what about it? Is it the writing, the subject matter, the photos, the way they approach the topic? What specifically is inspiring you to write your own post and, if you were to comment, what part of the post would you respond to?
Once you know what it is that you like about the post or article you’re reading, you can start to narrow down what it is that you want to write about – and it may not be what this person wrote about at all. You may find that what you really like and were inspired by is their openness in discussing a certain topic, or that you think their photos are absolutely stunning. Whatever it is, figure it out and move from there.
Expand on That
Now that you know what it is you like about the post or article you’re stealing inspiration from, figure out what else you can say that the author hasn’t already said. How can you expand on their ideas in a way that they haven’t, and that you find interesting?
This step is so important because, once you know what you like about a post, it can be easy (and tempting) to just write about that exact same thing. Even if you’re saying it in your own words though, using someone else’s exact idea without making it your own is theft. It isn’t doing you or your blog any favors and would probably upset the original author if they ever saw it.
I keep saying that this is a post on stealing inspiration, but what I mean is that you should be using blogs, videos, books, and articles that you love as inspiration for your own ideas, not that you should actually steal.
That said, if you find that what you want to say would be really helped by a direct quote or a photo from the post that inspired you, ask permission first. Especially with bloggers, it’s crazy easy to shoot someone an email explaining how much you loved their post, and what your own idea is. Chances are, that author spent a lot of time writing their post or article and would be really upset if they saw their own words typed up elsewhere – even if you did give them credit. Beyond that though, having large portions of an article published in various places kills SEO because Google interprets it as plagiarism, and nobody wants that.
Finally – and most importantly – give credit where credit is due. If you got a great idea because of a post you really loved, then let your readers know that’s where you got the idea. Link back to the post that you’re stealing inspiration from so that if they want t0 (and they probably will once they see how great your post is), they can head on over and check out what that blogger had to say.
It may not make sense to start off your post with something like “this post idea came from so-and-so,” but it can be super easy to add something in like “after reading so-and-so’s post, I started thinking…” And most importantly, don’t just say you got the idea from someone and give their name or blog name – link back so that readers can share the love.
So what about you? What are your must-follow rules for stealing inspiration from favorite bloggers or articles? Let me know in the comments!