My experience with republishing blog content

republishing-blog-content

It’s flattering when someone from a website that gets a lot of traffic and has a lot of followers reaches out to you and tells you that they are interested in republishing blog content from your blog on their site. It tells you that you aren’t labouring in vain; that your work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The thought that a blog post that originally appeared on your blog and received just a few views and comments now has the potential to be seen by many more people is exciting.

I was approached by an online publication and told that five or so of my blog posts had been selected for publishing in their entirety on the website of this brand. This site wasn’t trying to pass off the work as their own: I would be given full credit and links to my website would be added to the post. All I had to do was provide a biography and I’d be off to the races as they say.

In the end I decided not to go along with this for two main reasons:

  1. Duplicate content is not good for site engine optimization (SEO) and even though the blog post first appeared on my website, because the other site is much bigger there’s a chance that over time this site would become the top link for my content, and that didn’t sit well with me.

    This is Google’s take on duplicate content. What stood out to me from that page is if you allow your content to be published on other sites,

    Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer…[I]t is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your … article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.

    We’ll come back to that last sentence at the end.
  2. What motivation will anyone have to come to my website after they have read an entire post elsewhere? They would have to really fall in love with that one post and be hungry for more and in this world where attention spans are shorter than ever, and there are so many more blogs, this is less likely than it used to be.

So I suggested a compromise that was based heavily on what Hubspot has in place:

  • any of my original images or videos used had to be attributed to me and to my website
  • up to 75 words of any text content on my website could be used on their site, and they had to attribute the excerpt to me and include my website address
  • links to blog articles had to link to the specific blog post and not just generally to my website

Once published, you own the copyright to your work. I told them that if the above allowed them to meet their own needs for their publication then we could proceed. I didn’t get a response; instead my blog post was republished in its entirety. I immediately wrote to explain that this didn’t meet the terms I had outlined and while I think my blog post was initially republished by mistake, the hassle to locate the right person who could either meet my conditions or remove my blog post was more than I expected. It wasn’t handled professionally at all, but in the end my blog post is no longer on that website.

My point is simple: don’t get so caught up in the thought of having your work republished on sites bigger than your own that you give away your rights as the source of the content. This is NOT the same as guest posting, which I support: ideally when you decide to guest post, you’re creating original content, hopefully your best stuff, and deliberately sharing it on a website that receives more traffic than your own in the hopes that people will come back for more (or better yet, you’re hoping they’ll sign up for your email newsletter so you can develop a relationship with them). This is why your absolute best content should be what you guest post: its intent is to leave people wanting more of you.

If you want your blog posts to go further than they usually do, first off, write something mind-blowing, something that can’t be found practically verbatim on other websites. If you write and publish a blog post without giving yourself a moment to process it and refine it, unless it’s a personal story it’s probably not your best work or the best version of the post. It could still be a winning post, sure, but if your goal is for it to be shared far and wide, give the post the respect you’d give any ambassador!

Once the post is worthy (and do not do like me and spend too much time tweaking!), use social media for more than spying on people you don’t particularly like (ahem): use it instead to spread your post in a non-spammy way. If you’re in Facebook groups where you can share your blog post, do so as long as your post can actually help. Share your post on Twitter many times, not just once or twice. Create graphics for Instagram using the information I’ve shared before. And don’t forget Periscope and Pinterest if those platforms tickle your fancy! People can’t read your post if they never hear about it, and this is where many people, me included, do our blog posts a disservice. I’m starting to believe that anyone who has been blogging for longer than a minute would be better off taking a month off from writing blog posts for their blog and instead write one guest post to be published on a blog that has their kind of people as readers, and spend the rest of the time promoting existing posts they’ve already written.

Now that you know where I personally stand on the matter, there are pros and cons to larger websites republishing blog content that belongs to you. Some people prioritize sharing their message widely over maintaining ownership of their content and I can’t fault that, especially if the message is attached to a cause that needs a lot of financial support.

One last thing: the excerpt that I shared above from Google mentions that you can ask anyone who republishing blog content that belongs to you to do so with a noindex meta tag, so that Google will know to not count versions of your blog post that appear elsewhere. This is an excellent idea, but it may be hard to convince a publisher to do this for your sake. It’s worth a try though, especially since there’s a plugin for that (at least for WordPress users!).

If you’re a blogger, do you allow your blog posts to be republished on other websites?

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20 thoughts on “My experience with republishing blog content

  1. I might have had a few pieces published on other sites earlier on, but for the most part, NO – for the reasons you noted. What I would like is a complete direct link to my post on my site – a snippet can appear on a much bigger publication, on a landing page or on a section’s landing page, but the title should lead to YOUR SITE. If they don’t like it, too bad. No deal.

    • Cynthia, are there are circumstances under which you’d allow another publication to publish your blog post in full on their site if they include a complete direct link to your blog post? Do you define how long the “snippet” can be?

      • Yes. It can be posted on another blog after it has been live on my site for six months. Snippets (no more than the first paragraph) are allowed after a week and ideally, it can only be displayed on a blog’s landing page. The title must redirect to my site. I have a writer (someone I PAY to write for me) who doesn’t understand how to do this – even after I explained to her that there are plugins available. She is free to repost after six months though.

  2. Wow…so insightful.

    I never thought of the arguments presented here, they made a whole lot of sense. For me (until now), once there’s a republishing request…yes, please…go ahead.

    Thanks for sharing this, GNG.

    • Thank you, Abiola! I appreciate you reading and I’m glad that this post will make you think twice before accepting any offers to republish your work—make sure it’s win-win!

  3. i haven’t received so much of that request as the case is the other way for me (that is, another platform wanting to publish on mine)
    i support your saying of not giving one’s right on a content in the sake of getting published.

  4. I republish blog posts a lot on my site. Mostly from much bigger sites than mine. After asking permission of course.
    When I see a blog post that I think fits into what my blog is like, or something similar to what I write, something my blog visitors would like to read or should read, I don’t hesitate to ask for permission.
    What I do on the blog posts is to write a little rejoinder, stating my thoughts on the blog post and why I felt my readers should see it, urging my readers to visit the original post, and the blog itself with links to both.

    I find that I do it more now that I run a Christian blog because there is a lot of encouraging, faith bases, Christian writings out there that other people wrote and people ought to read.
    For my other blog, the post had to be really spectacular, and most times written by bloggers who were also blog visitors.
    I love your blog by the way.

    • Esther, thank you for visiting and providing your perspective on republishing from the other side.

      I’m thrilled that you ask permission before republishing but since you add your own perspectives to the blog post, I would recommend that you not publish the post on full on your site. Share an excerpt, maybe 1/3 of the post, or 1/2 of it (since you have permission), then let people go to the other site to get the full blog post. The reason I suggest this is it’s a generous way to be in blog land and I feel like you have a lot to share, personal stuff that is original to you, and I want to challenge you to explore this. Of course this is only a suggestion and I know you’ll do what is best for you as a blogger.

      PS – Thank you for your kind words on my blog!

      • Thanks for replying.
        You are right that I do have a lot of personal stuff to write about. I am just biding my time and letting it come out gradually but if I come across a really cool post, the first thing that comes to my mind is “my Blog visitors would benefit from this or should read this”.
        I have noticed that a lot of people have their favorite blogs and rarely go searching for new content unless you point it out which is a shame because there are thousands of awesome content out there.
        Look at you and favored girl. Awesome blogs which existed since when I was about graduating from uni, and yet I never came across until few days ago.
        If I hadn’t been the sort to peruse blog lists of other bloggers, I probably would not be here today writing this.

        • You’re welcome, Esther! I’m excited for when you start sharing your personal stories—I believe you’ll find your readers will connect more with your original content.

          But in the meantime I like that you have your readers’ best interests in mind, and you’re doing your part to expose them to new content.

  5. Great points you made there! I personally prefer guest writing. For me, I think it pushes you to step out of your comfort zone. You know like when a student has to go represent his school at an inter-school competition; it’s unlike when he’s competing with his school mates. Thumbs up!

  6. HI Jummy,

    This is great post. When I first started blogging, I initially published a few of my posts on popular platforms hoping that it would generate some traffic for my blog. WRONG!

    Instead, they got all the engagement because google directed people to their site before mine. Luckily, this was a few months into starting my blog. I learnt quickly and have turned down a few offers to share my blog posts on other platforms.

    There is nothing wrong with having your posts shared on bigger platforms. Just be aware of how that might affect the traffic to your site. Guest blogging feels like a better option to me.

    Thank you Jummy for such a great post.

    • Hugs to you and thank you, Mona for this comment. It’s one thing to share my thoughts on something but it’s another thing for people like you who’ve actually gone through it to confirm that it’s a real thing. I’m glad you figured this out for yourself and were able to nip it in the bud.

      Those of us who work hard to create original content need to do more to get our content out there rather than depend on larger publications that really don’t have our best interests in mind (to be blunt!).

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