Reblogging Etiquette

ReBlogging EtiquetteLately I’ve seen a lot of bloggers wondering what the etiquette should be around reblogging (blogging something previously posted on another blog).

Before I get into the tips, let me say that I think re-blogging can be useful. If you’re being reblogged, it’s an honor that someone found your content worthy of sharing with their followers, and it can extend your reach and bring people back to your site without the effort of guest posting. If you’re the reblogger, it can sometimes be a lifesaver in terms of getting content up on your site when your week has fallen to pieces. Plus, you’re providing your readers a service through vetting material for them and bringing them the best.

If done incorrectly, though, reblogging flirts with the line of plagiarism. You don’t want to flirt with plagiarism. She carries some really nasty diseases.

So how can we reblog in a professional, mutually beneficial way?

Ask First

Unless you know that the blogger doesn’t mind others reblogging their content, always ask first.

With all the social media options available, it’s not that hard to reach a blogger anymore. If Lisa or I don’t respond to a comment on our blogs right away, you can usually catch us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or through email. I know that we’ve entered an age of instant gratification, but patience is still a virtue.

You should do more than just ask permission though. Not all reblogging is created equal. Find out the format the original blogger prefers. Are they alright with you copying the entire post onto your site? Or would they prefer you copy only the first couple of paragraphs with a link back to the full article?

Why does the format of the reblogging matter?

Comments – While I can’t speak for every blogger, I like to try to reply to comments on my post. If my post is appearing in full someplace else, chances are good I won’t be able to monitor the comments there as well as on my own site. With a guest post, you’re able to plan in advance. With a reblog, unlike with a regular guest post, I haven’t planned the extra social media time into my day to be able to check and reply to comments on two (or more) sites where my content is appearing.

Site Stats – If you’re a writer who’s blogging as part of building a platform, your site stats matter. They can influence whether you get an agent, whether people take you seriously, and (if you choose) whether you can eventually sell ad space on your site. The click-through rate for a post reblogged in full is much lower than for a partial repost with a link.

Common Courtesy – A good blog posts takes me 1-3 hours to write, depending on the complexity of the topic and the amount of research necessary. While I’m happy to share and to help, I’ve made significant sacrifices to produce my content, and I believe that still gives me the right to decide when and how it’s used.

Credit the Original Source

If something goes viral and you find it four people down the chain, go back and reblog from the original site. It’s respectful to the owner of the material, and it’s kind to your reader who won’t want to go back through a chain of sites to find the original source to see if they have more excellent content to read.

What if you follow the chain to a dead end? Part of being a responsible writer is doing your research and exercising due diligence. Run a Google search, and see if you can locate the original poster on your own.

Add An Introduction/Conclusion

If you end up reblogging the content in full, add an original introduction or conclusion telling people not only where you found the content but also why you thought it was worthy of reblogging. What’s the point that resonated the most with you? What do you disagree with?

Have you tried reblogging? What other pieces of etiquette do you think should be observed? Do you think reblogging is a great new trend that can benefit everyone or no better than plagiarism?


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13 comments on “Reblogging Etiquette

  1. Something happened and posted my reponse twice. Can you delete the above comment and post just this one?
    I will be a new blogger beginning in April. In preparation, I have done a lot of research, have summary paragraphs written for a lot of posts and have written several so far. The reason I have done so many posts in advance is that I have multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and other health problem. My biggest fear has not been readers (although I am anxious about that!), but is that my health sometimes may interrupt my post writing (even though I will be posting only twice a week). I have some people I know who will be able to guest blog if I truly need it, but then I was wondering if there were any other alternatives. It sounds like re-blogging also may be an option. I do not want to do these alternatives to me writing my own posts often at all because my readers will be coming to hear me write (hopefully). But these options can help me if I am in really bad shape. Thank you so much for teaching me what is the best way to go about reblogging. As newbie, I appreciate any “unwritten” rules.

    • It sounds like you’re going about it in a great way. My personal preference is to work with a two week cushion of posts so that I have some breathing room, but that’s not always possible.

      You pointed out another great reason not to reblog too often–people who come to your blog are coming to get to know you. Thanks for adding that 🙂


      • Sorry about the wierd sentence towards the end. Thankfully, you understood what I was trying to say: That I did not want to do the options of guest-blogging and reblogging too many times because my readers are coming to hear me blog. In your reply, Marcy, you mentioned that you like a cushion of 2 weeks. Therefore, I’m thinking that for me a 3 week cushion would be ideal – even 4 wks if I can. But as you say, that may not be always possible. I think as I blog and know how my health interacts with my blog writing, I hopefully will get into a groove (understanding that this may take time). Thanks again.

  2. Excellent advice, Marcy. I haven’t considered reblogging, mostly because it’s so easy just to share links through FB or Twitter nowadays. Also, many bloggers create “mashups” of their favourite posts during the week.

    • I love doing mash-ups. it gives my readers vetted material, it serves as a way for me to save links to some of my favorite posts, and it helps give other writers/bloggers some traffic.


    • The “mash-up” is an excellent way to truly share information from other blogs — not only does it do a nice job of vetting the material, as you mentioned, Marcy, but it often ends up helping readers click on the links to those sources – granting traffic to where it belongs. I think this is a much more favorable way of doing things and can ultimately bring more honest traffic to our own blogs.

      • I definitely was planning to do linking and even a resource page because my blog will consist of discussing how people manage forced changes in their lives. Thanks to Bonnie, Marcy and Janet for the term “mash-ups.” To myself, I was defining these type of posts as reference posts (comes from my academic background!). Does anyone else know of a blog/post/website that mentions blog jargon? I realize a lot of this I will learn as I go. But if there is a reference 🙂 out there for blog jargon, I really would appreciate the info! Thanks so much!

  3. Unless the re-blog is only the partial format AND includes new content, to me it smells way too much like plagiarism. If my post solely consists of the re-blogged content, I think any discussion that results unfairly happens on my site. The original blogger deserves the traffic. I fully support guest posts, and linking and referring to other posts as this is a wonderful way to really start and share conversations. I admit I may be missing some of the nuances of this concept, but re-blogging simply doesn’t sit well with me.

  4. Pingback: What in the World Wednesday? « Witty Words

  5. I have re-blogged very rarely; usually I tell my readers that I loved someone’s work and why and then just link back to the other person’s blog page – I feel that’s the fairest way to handle it. I’m not as good about this with images as I am with text, which is something I am working on – but I do always tell the source of things, even if I don’t link back to the original.

  6. Your post reminded me — in a good way — of writing essays for my English 101 class. This is when and where they hammer you back to basics and get you clarify your writing through simplification. It occurred to me reading your post how treating a reblog like an essay would benefit all. As for making an argument, the reblogged speaks for itself. What we need to do is introduce clearly and well in a way that makes it our own, then make a close in order to merge our perspective with the universal.

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