1. What are the ‘unwritten rules’ about copying content that we bloggers should all abide by?
Don’t copy! Be inspired, yes, but don’t lift someone else’s content – and always link back to the post that inspired you. Yes, there is a lot of content out there. No, there are no trademarks. But this is a supportive community, and blatant copying would undermine that.
2. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But when is a post imitation and when is it copying?
It’s hard to be completely original in content, format AND style – for those who manage it, kudos. But to copy all these elements just ain’t right! If you don’t have an element of originality, it’s copying: you can’t get away with writing the same post with just the odd tweak.
There are a lot of fashion blogs out there, and finding your ‘angle’ is one of the biggest challenges. Take outfit posts, for example: you can do ‘daily wear’, or ‘look at my bargain finds’, or ‘something for you to drool over because you can’t afford it and I can’, but essentially they are all posts of people wearing clothes, so it’s essential that your unique style comes through. A lot of bloggers, myself included, like to do a run-down of certain high street collections, and in this case I think you have to have a clear ‘voice’ or an unusual take. Kate at Make Do Style does this well – there is a lot of humour, knowledge and variety in her posts.
If you can credit the source, do. Not only is it good form to reference anything you post as content, it’s also only fair to direct traffic back to the person who inspired you. Pictures are more problematic, of course, but I think we should still acknowledge that it came from ‘somewhere’. Jen from A Little Bird Told Me does this really well, I think – she occasionally posts outfits inspired by other bloggers, but she always acknowledges this in a positive way. It’s inevitable that we are inspired by each other’s approaches, and each other’s sense of style – that’s one of the reasons the blogging network is so fulfilling.
4. How have you improved your blog by comparing it to other blogs? Have you made changes due to something you have seen others doing?
The blogs I’ve been reading lately seem to be taking a more ‘cerebral’ approach to fashion, which I’m really enjoying. I think the standard is being raised all the time because of the sheer size of the blogging network; Friend Friday has been a great way of making you aware of other bloggers work, and IFB’s Links à la Mode introduces a real element of competition (when I first entered a post, there were about 25 entries a week – now it’s more like 100). It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times, but I decided early on to take a positive approach; it’s the perfect opportunity to ‘up your game’ – a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone!
5. Have you ever had one of your posts copied by another blogger or publication? How did you handle the situation?