Ruby’s Tips for Newbies: Why Your ‘Original Content’ Probably Isn’t So Unique

Original content is the a concept you will encounter over and over in the writing world. Most writing sites of any kind, from social blogging sites to work for hire brokers, will specify that all content submitted must be your own original work and that the content cannot be published anywhere else.

But what does “original content” mean?

Many bloggers believe that anything they write in their own words is original content. But if that were the case, why wouldn’t the expression be “original wording”?

Original Content Equals Original Thoughts and Words

In the academic world, we are taught that we have to provide a citation for each and every concept we borrow. Not just for every direct quote, but for any direct quotation or even just a mention of someone else’s idea or research. Not providing that citation opens the writer up to accusations of plagiarism but beyond that, producing a paper that contains mostly other people’s research and ideas generally means failing an assignment. Even if every single borrowed concept is properly cited.

Why?

Because original content means your own thoughts and ideas. Not just a retelling of what’s already out there.

And don’t think it’s just in academia where these rules matter. It’s important online too. If an article you post consists mainly of you retelling a published news story, you are technically violating the copyright of the original author or publication. While it’s not likely the big news sites are going to take legal action over a rewritten article unless it goes viral, your content will be penalized by the search engines for not being unique.

Google says that original content must “add substantial value to users.” If you’ve ever had the experience of clicking on several different news links, only to find the same details rewritten by a bunch of different sites, you’ll know there is no value added when a story is retold in different words. You were looking for more details – background information, an update on the action, the story told from a different point of view. That would be added value. That would be original content.

What Does Not Qualify as Original Content

In the same way that you want something new and different when you search for more content relating to a current event you’ve seen in the news, your internet readers want original content from you as writers. They don’t just want you to tell them all the same information in a different way. They want something that isn’t already out there.
In the rush to get content online, and often to earn from its publication, many bloggers post material that has no real added value. The most common mistakes bloggers make are:

    • Retelling a published news story in their own words;
    • Rewording an internet meme, inspirational quote, or joke;
    • Publishing health, fitness, or financial advice repeated from a published source;
    • Rewording recipes or tutorials.

All of the above are examples of how not to produce original content. It doesn’t matter if you rewrote the article in your own words, or even if you translated it from another language. It also doesn’t matter if you added your own personal comment in one paragraph, or if you cobbled the article together with information from multiple sources. Even if you give credit to your sources, you still aren’t producing original content.

Original content means your own words, ideas, and opinions are the heart of your article. They must account for the majority of content in your post. They can’t just be added on as an afterthought. Original content means you provide something new and fresh. You put a brand new twist on something familiar, or you provide something completely unique. If you are doing this, your content will be valued wherever you submit it. Your blogs will rank better, your authority as a writer will grow, and the chances are that you’ll earn better money too.

 

What qualifies and what doesn’t. Watch out for these common blogging pitfalls! | #bloggingtips #originalcontent


Original content: Do you make these common blogging mistakes?
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  • Comments

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        It is a really common thing! We’ve seen a lot of posts here on BlogBourne that are nothing more than rewrites of existing texts. People should know that posts that contain too much duplicate content will be deleted on this site. We can only earn a good revenue to share if the quality of content on the site is good too. That means unique content.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I have met people who’ve been writing online for a decade or more, but who still didn’t realize that rewriting doesn’t produce original content. It’s a very widespread belief that the wording is the only factor that matters. So many social writing sites have just let it go unless the post was an exact or very close copy. But BlogBourne wants your original content. It’s the best way we know for the site to be sustainable.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        In the instance of someone who wants to write about a current event or some such, 75% of the post should be your own ideas. Remember that it’s not just about direct quotes: even if you state someone else’s idea in your own words, it’s still not original content.

        Think of it as if someone invented a new machine and you found it very snazzy. If you copied the design of the machine but used a slightly different scale and painted the outside a different colour, it’s still a copy of the original machine. Similarly, adding a few extra pieces of hardware that don’t change how the machine works, also doesn’t make it a new invention.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        It’s good for a site to have writers like you, who can provide original posts and photos of beautiful places where people might want to travel. This is quality content that will help bring in traffic 🙂

    1. Profile photo of Suny
      Suny

      And the content that is still on the internet or found on search engines even if written by yourself is not original.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        Indeed Suny! It’s important that we create new posts and not copy even ourselves. And if we move content from one site to another, we can ask Google and Bing to de-index the old pages once our posts are removed.

    2. Profile photo of Sandy KS
      Sandy KS

      I am glad you pointed this out @ruby3881, your article can be hard to swallow for some writers. However, I think it is one everyone needs to read.
      As I find it hard to create original and unique articles.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I find most of your writing is original, Sandy. Because you tend to write from personal experience a lot, the chances of duplication are smaller. There are a lot of bloggers whose content consists entirely of rewritten content, though. And I’m sure this post won’t make them happy! But since BlogBourne’s editors will be rejecting and even deleting posts that rely too heavily on already published material, it’s important for everyone to read and learn, and to be informed about the potential consequences of submitting posts that are rewritten from other sources.

    3. Profile photo of Suny
      Suny

      If you do not own the site you cannot de-index content or request any search engine for that. I would have asked for all the articles posted anywhere and republished them anywhere else if that was possible but unfortunately that is not possible for a contributor even if the article is removed from a site. Sites with republished articles get placed too low on PR.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        You are very much mistaken, Suny. Anyone can ask for content to be deindexed. Google doesn’t ask for proof of ownership. They just want the link and they check if the content has been removed. Google will also deindex articles that are removed, over time. Asking for the content to be removed from the index just makes it happen more quickly.

        The majority of issues over deindexing stem from content that isn’t properly deleted from a site, despite the author having used the site’s “delete” function. Oftentimes, the only thing that is removed is the name of the post from the writer’s list of articles on the site. If one clicks on an existing link, the post is still live on the site. These are issues to take up with the site owner.

        But one solution I have used on such sites is to publish a notice of removal by the author. This holds the place for the post and allows me continuing access for the purpose of editing. I then ask Google to deindex for significant changes (rather than content removal) and I migrate the post. I then have the option to edit the original post to add a redirect link to its new location. This allows anyone with old bookmarks or links from social media to find the migrated content. So it’s a win-win situation.

    4. Profile photo of Barbara Radisavljevic
      Barbara Radisavljevic

      My most original content is my photos. I love photo essays. Unfortunately, I hesitate to write them anymore except on my own sites. I’ve had bad experiences writing them on third party sites. I gave them up on Persona Paper because the photo gallery was so hard to use. I got burned on Bubblews when they destroyed them all with an update and wouldn’t let me edit them. So far I’ve not had time to try it here.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I hear you, Barb! Many writers were burned by that Bubblews update. It impacted more than just the images too: it truncated a lot of text that fell below the images in multi-image layouts. The posts were absolutely destroyed and because the admin took away the ability to edit, nobody could fix their posts. I finally just started deleting my really old posts and resubmitting them. They needed repairs, and it was the only way to do it.

        If there are any issues on BlogBourne that you need help with, know that you can contact the owner and staff. We respect original content, and we certainly want you to be able to maintain control over your creations – be they text or images.

    5. Profile photo of Ruth Cox
      Ruth Cox

      I so enjoy the uniqueness of original content from a fellow writer. That personal spin, or personal touch of the writer’s pen, can make even an uninteresting article topic one I enjoy reading. I also enjoy original artwork and images. Hence, even though I am not a photographer, I tend to use only my own photos and images when I write.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        I quite agree: a personal twist on even a boring topic makes for original content – and better reading enjoyment!

    6. Profile photo of Vinaya
      Vinaya

      Even though you may have written the content, it similar contents exist online your own content will not be considered original content.

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        That’s why it’s important to write something that isn’t already out there 100 times or more. There are dozens upon dozens of articles listing the health benefits of ginger, for example, or giving recipes that use ginger. So I chose to write about the dosage and precautions when using ginger as a medicine, instead. Always try to put your own unique twist on the subject.

    7. Profile photo of Linda Jenkinson
      Linda Jenkinson

      These are excellent points and ones that DVN are striving to instil in their writers. No point in just retelling- but adding new info or unique info is the key~~ Unique is very hard to find unless you can interview a source or authority but adding extra news does help!

      1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
        Kyla Matton Osborne Post author

        One of the things I very much admire about Dani and Michelle is their insistence on quality. I love that they moderate selectively and that they won’t promote a writer until the quality is good enough. I love how much effort they both put into educating their writers, and how they are realistic in setting payment rates. I certainly hope that as we move forward, BlogBourne can be as successful as DVN, DTC, and the rest of their sites 🙂

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