During the course of an average day, I come across tons of useful and inspirational ideas right here on the Internet. If you’re anything at all like me, you probably spend a lot of time reading blogs, RSS feeds, and scouring the web for informative little tidbits, too.

As I’m reading a particularly great article, the cogs in my brain go to work processing those little nuggets of information. Then, before I know it, I’ve got a dozen or more ideas for a new article or blog post. Many of those simple ideas turn into actual pieces I end up writing here at Small Business Bonfire or for my own blog. For example, the other day I saw this on quoting sources, and it inspired me to write this post.

Using other sources for blogging inspiration is great and even expected. And most of us recognize the difference between lifting someone else’s content and using an existing work as a springboard for creating a piece that is uniquely our own. Still, it’s a good idea to give credit to the original authors for their part in the creative process.

Why It’s Good to Give Credit

  • Giving credit is the right thing to do. First and foremost, you should give credit to others for their ideas because it’s right. Whether you believe in karma or subscribe to the Golden Rule, acknowledging the contributions of others is a good idea.
  • Giving credit creates connections and avenues for collaboration. In this medium, giving credit to someone can simultaneously serve as an introduction of sorts. You might find that your mutual interest in a topic leads to collaboration on a new project.
  • Giving credit adds credibility. Whether you quote an expert or a colleague, crediting your sources of inspiration gives you credibility in a broader community. It shows you keep up with what’s going on in your industry.
  • Giving credit continues the conversation. Whether you get comments from the original author or from others who have read the article you referenced, giving credit increases your chances for continuing the conversation and making your blog more engaging.

How to Give Credit

  • Copy and paste sparingly. It’s never a good idea to copy and paste large chunks of text into your own post. Pull a short, relevant quote or paraphrase the text instead. Plagiarism — even if it’s intended to be flattering — is still plagiarism.
  • Always include a link to the original blog post or article. Send a little link love and traffic to the original source. It’s not just about proper etiquette; it also makes life more convenient for readers who want to learn more.
  • Give credit for photos, too. When using images licensed for reuse, you should link back to the photographer’s profile or the permalink where the image was originally hosted.

When you think about it, giving credit is a whole lot like saying thank you. And saying thank you is never a bad idea.