In light of the Christmas holiday’s, let’s talk about regifting and the dirty little secret of regifting other people’s content. Regifting used to be a somewhat dirty word. It means to take a gift that you’ve received from someone and give it to someone else. It’s done most during Christmas, and it can be quite the faux pas to be caught doing it.
Yet don’t we do that every day with internet content? We take someone else’s gift of ideas and words and share them with others all the time on our blogs and on social media.
I like to think of sharing other people’s content as a good form of regifiting. Regifting has become more acceptable as time has passed. With people like Dave Ramsey, the famous personal finance guru, writing about it, one could almost say that regifting is becoming mainstream.
When you share other people’s content, it’s not like giving away that ugly Christmas sweater you’ll never wear. That’s one place where the metaphor falls apart. Instead, you multiply the gift of that knowledge by sharing it on your own blog.
You can expand and change it to start a conversation about the topic. It’s a wonderful way to generate buzz in your niche.
However, there are rules that must be followed when you’re taking the gift of someone’s words and sharing them with others. You can’t just take someone else’s work and give it unchanged to someone else and say that it’s yours. That’s plagiarism!
I don’t want you to take my work, change the name at the top of the page, and pass it off as your own. That type of stuff always comes back to haunt the thief (Like the ghost of Christmas Past) and it does no good for anyone. There are ways to share content you’ve gotten from others without violating rights.
Here are some rules for sharing other people’s content:
1. Give credit where the credit is due
This is the big rule. If you’ve got a Facebook page or a Google+ page and you want to share what someone else has written, make sure that there is a notation that the author is the original source. Creators have ways of finding their own work, so you need to give credit.
2. Don’t plagiarize
This one goes hand in hand with the first tip. I don’t want to see my article with any other name on it than mine, plain and simple. If I’ve written an article titled, “Make Money Blogging with The Buddha, Bill Gates, and Lady Gaga” then I expect that when I see that title, my name and my content will be associated with it.
Most people who are trying to make money online through blogging don’t mind it if you take a bit of time to promote their product. In fact, I will do what I can to help you promote my product to others, and so will many other bloggers.
Try to follow the chain of gifting back if you can. Some people don’t take the time to find the original source of a piece of content. That can confuse people about where the content came from originally.
4. When in doubt, get permission
If you’re unsure of whether someone would approve of the regifting of their content to your blog, take a moment to send the person an email and ask. This will go a long way toward developing great inroads with your peers, but it will also help you any questions about copyright along the way.
These four simple rules for sharing and regifting have come about as a result of many years of experience. The best rule I’ve come up with about regifting content and sharing it is to do what you would have done to you and your content.
Re-purpose your own content.
I love it when people take my own content and spread it around the world. It’s always a thrill to see my links show up in all corners of the earth, gifted and regifted. This article, I wanted to take a closer look at how to share content you’ve found with your own audience.
Getting permission for the use of someone else’s content can be a real pain. Depending on the source, you might have to wait a couple of weeks for a response which may only just start the negotiation. You might not have the time to mess with that.
There are ways to talk about someone else’s content without sharing large chunks of the content outright. For example, you could say something like “I was reading Dave Ramsey’s 10 Rules of Regifting…” This kind of regifting is one of the most desired by content creators. It directs people back to the original source.
Here are some other things you can do to not only share more of another person’s content on your blog, but also give it a fresh face:
1. Add your dissenting opinion
If you disagree with something that you read on the internet that might be of interest to your readers, you could regift that article and then create your own with the dissenting opinion. As long as the dissenting opinion is respectful and polite, this tactic also has the chance to gain some exposure with the original article writer.
One way to do this is to refer to the other article that you disagree with then write counter-arguments. Be sure to link back to the original article so that people can read the context. Also, try to avoid directly quoting too much of the original article. Restate the argument in your own words and then argue it.
2. Use a citation
Anyone who has written an academic paper knows the importance of citations and reference sections. Many blogs are now including reference sections at the end, especially more intellectually-oriented blogs. Wikipedia is a fine example of a page that uses citations to back up its claims. This is a great way to keep your main content clear of a lot of links.
How do you cite an article? Generally, you put the author, then the name of the article in quotes, then the full URL to the article, and finally the date that it was accessed. This can get very long. You may have to put the citation in a smaller font to make it fit your site structure. For example, one citation might be.
CNN, “CNN Front Page”, http://www.cnn.com, Accessed 12/19/2013.
3. Quote up to 10%
Today’s content marketing is all about the distribution of neat stuff to the people that would love to read it. Sometimes, it’s easier to quote the original article rather than try to reword it. Some companies even quote fragments from articles and then offer a direct link to the article in question. The general guideline for content is to only quote 10% or less of the original article.
4. Repurpose It
Let’s take a look at the post, “I Made Money from Angelina Jolie’s Breasts.” That post was written a year ago for another purpose, and it had been sitting on my hard drive for a while. It was written as a private response to someone who believed that money can only be made by conventional means. I took that and used it for my blog after turning it more toward my purposes. You can do the same with your own content.
The Infographic Example
Let’s say that you read an amazing research-packed article about emailing your customers. You have always been more visually creative, so you decide to create an infographic based on the material which you’ve read.
Before taking the time to create that infographic, talk with the author of the article to get permission, or else cite the source of your information at the bottom of your infographic. Most infographics do this anyway.
Using this method will keep you from stepping on people’s toes, and will also get positive attention from the content creator if done right. While it’s rare that this will get the attention of the huge sites, it’s highly likely that you will get the attention of the webmasters at the medium sized sites by using this tactic.
Getting Work Done
I know that you’ve read my previous post about how to easily repurpose your content (if you haven’t, I’ll wait) and learned about the different educational styles. We briefly touched over some of the content transformations that you can do, but have you thought about it in terms of what you can do with other people’s work?
Anything can be transformed into anything else. If you have an astounding video, you can transform that into a podcast. If you have a podcast, you can take that and transform it into an article. An article can be turned into a press release, a video can be changed into a set of slides, and so on.
It’s part of human nature to reuse and transform other people’s inspiration for their own fodder. The internet is all about the sharing of information with one another for a greater purpose, at least ideally. Stealing content goes against this, and it’s a great way to get shut out of the very communities you want to impress.
Now, if you are all for using someone else’s content verbatim, one of the things that you can do is join the other person’s affiliate program (affiliate program university, affiliation link to profit blogging blueprint?) to work with them. You will gain access to parts of their library which might state and explain things in exactly the way that you want them to be mentioned.
When you’re writing about a subject, there’s always going to be some overlap with other writers who are discussing the same thing. Take budgets. Anyone who writes about the basics of budgeting is going to have the same basic information.
There will be some sentences about listing out your categories and putting in amounts and adding it all up to equal your income. Things like this are just part of the common knowledge of the subject.
What you want to avoid is quoting large portions of someone’s exact words about a topic. That’s really the key thing to avoid in all of this. To boil this down into the smallest possible bit of knowledge, remember these two lines:
If you are using a large amount of material from someone else: Cite it, link it, and/or rewrite it in your own terms.
If you are using a small amount of material: Quote it, put in a link.
That will keep you out of trouble!
The idea of regifting blog content is an excellent blogging best practice for money making online. It can help connect audiences and open a road for sharing more information.
What rules do you have about having your own content shared? Please share your suggestions and questions in the comment section below.