3 tips for blogging with respect and ethics to build your brand and reputation.

This post has been cooking for a while. I have been observing a lot in my daily visits to other blogs, but the timing was not right yet.

What is the most important thing about blogging? It’s your Brand, your Voice. Some people will say they don’t care about it, that it’s not (that) important for them, but it is all a matter of perception.

Your Brand is not only your logo and statement. In fact, your Brand is pretty much your personality, your character, who you truly are. Way before people started talking about “personal brand” we all had ours already. The only difference is that now it falls under a concept, a defined word.

The blogosphere and pretty much the virtual world has no boundaries. We touch and are touched by people all over the globe through our Brand. But chances are we will never meet each other. It’s not that I am a pessimist. On the other hand, I’m one of those lucky few who had the chance to meet MANY of previous penpals and Internet friends in person. Still, I know I’ll never be able to meet everyone I came across online in one lifetime.

This distance and almost anonymity sometimes lead people to certain behaviors. They are behaviors they would not have against those they know in their “real” life. Respect in the virtual world can be too flexible sometimes. One must have strong moral feelings guiding their attitude because chances are they’ll never be confronted with the opposing side.

3 tips for #blogging with respect and ethics to build your #brand and reputation. Click To Tweet

Have you ever heard how difficult it is to prove that someone “stole” your idea, your post or your content? It’s a hard and exhausting process mainly for the “victim”. First because they see their hard work being taken away from them. Second, they also have to fight the other part for something that is theirs (what is an absurd to start with).

Throughout the years, I saw bloggers closing down incredible pages because they got sick and tired of seeing their work being taken away from them.

It is a pity because the truth is, those who are copying and pasting the work of others will find someone else to steal from. Unfortunately, the readers of the original writer will lose their real source of inspiration.

We cannot control people out there. It’s hard enough to keep our head straight up high with everything going on. As a blogger and a reader; however, there are some small steps you can take to reinforce your Brand as one that respects other authors and the public.

My 3 tips are:

Give credit where credit is due

Sometimes you are writing a post, and you remember that article you read… “Damn! Where was it again?” You add it to your content without a link back or reference because you just can’t remember it. Who hasn’t gone through that? The more you read, the harder it gets to find all references. The same goes for books or even people you met throughout life.

In such cases, there is little you can do. Maybe you have internalized the message so well you wouldn’t even know where to start searching if you wanted to give credit.

But if there is a way you can refer to the source of your content, DO IT! 

Some people are afraid of giving credit because they think it’ll make them look like copying someone. You know what: the result is quite the contrary.

Don't be afraid to give credit when credit is due. #blog #socialmedia Click To Tweet

I remember once reading a post that was an exact copy (and paste) from a book. I’m a weirdo who has read way much more than I dare to assume. Don’t be deluded by my GoodReads profile since I share only a fraction there.

You know how I felt when I saw post? I felt sorry for the blogger. If they had mentioned the source of their post (and tried to add at least some of their own thoughts instead of just copying it), they would showing how knowledgeable they are. If you share something from an interesting book, it’s because you read it, you took the time to research a certain subject and you are serious about the quality of your content. While if you just post it there and hope no one else saw it before, you are exposing yourself to ridiculous.

Again, saying that we can give credit to absolute every single thing is hard. It’s impossible to be sincere. However, do a some research:

  • Found a great quote? Look for its author.
  • Read a post you also to share your opinion about it? Link back (build a conversation and a relationship with the author).
  • Got inspired by a slogan? Let the author know you’ll be using it too.

Some writers only give credit to ‘bigger’ bloggers. Have in mind, however, that most of them time, it’s the ‘smaller’ bloggers who contribute the most for your growth.

It is also an exercise for yourself. If you start giving all due credit, what is left that is truly yours? If the answer is “little to none”, then we have a (big) problem.

Basing your brand on someone else’s ideas is neither healthy or ethic. You surely have fantastic qualities that only you have. Instead of just being a CTRL+C/CTRL+V writer, take the time to discover the treasures hidden inside of you.

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“Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Give it back time and time again

There are 2 major factors that stay in the way of the “sharing is caring” blogging mentality:

  • time
  • me, me, me

Time

This one we all know way too well. We write a blog, edit it, create images, post it, share it on the social media, reply to comments, return the visits, etc. This list can grow as further as we want it or time allows.

How many times did you delay a reply? Or a visit?

Luckily there are share buttons and “click to tweets” that can help us out. 

If you like visiting as many blogs as you can, and don’t have a Virtual Assistant to help you out, you need to be creative to give it back to everyone who stops by.

On our Facebook group, some of us automatically share new posts of members on our Twitter account. Personally, I love Shareaholic’s and SumoMe’s share buttons. If I’m short on time, I still can give some love to my favorite bloggers by promoting their awesome content, even if I don’t make it to leave them a comment. StumbleUpon is another fabulous way to help others shine too.

The advantage of “click to tweets” is that the author is marked on the message. This way they can see who shared their content and guess what they can do? Give it back! It’s a win-win situation and doesn’t take long.

Click To Tweet is a great way to have your #content shared with credits. #blog Click To Tweet

Me, me, me

Believe it or not, there are still many bloggers out there who think it’s a “me” thing.

Be careful that it has nothing to do with writing personal posts or having a personal blog. You may have content full of tips, delicious recipes, and fabulous DIY projects, but still show no respect to your visitors.

Yes, it is true that for the most varied reasons, one may not be able to be there, to return every single visit, or comment each time. There is a slight difference between the attitude of those who “can’t” and those who “don’t care”.

No matter which book you read, course you follow or convention you attend: networking is a magic word you will find all over the place when it comes to blogging.

While you will find people with whom you will grow some special affinity, they are there for the interaction. Your website might rock, your content may be stellar and your images out of this world, yet it’s not about you.

Do your best to bring something from which your readers will benefit. If you have an inspiring story, share it. Just be careful not to act as if you were the only person that matters.

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Watch your words

When it comes to blogging and social media, the only means we have to express ourselves is through words. There is no body language or physical expressions that can come and save us from a misunderstanding. What you write is what is registered.

Besides, in this world without frontiers, many of us use English to communicate, but it’s not our native language. Even among countries where it’s the official language there are (major) differences. If you come from a country as big as mine, depending on the region you live in, you may also deal with another vocabulary. Now imagine the Internet!

Because of that, it’s extra important to be attentive with our comments and replies. And I write that based on my experience.

As a Brazilian, from Rio de Janeiro, I “mean what I say and I say what I mean”. I tend to fix things afterward instead of avoiding certain situations.

I used to be like that online too. Until I got some comments on my blog that left me with a big question mark on my face: “why are these people writing that?”

As the shock passed, I went through the possible reasons I could think of:

  • cultural difference
  • lack of English knowledge (many have VAs to reply to comments, and they aren’t native English speakers)
  • having a bad day
  • not realizing it could be misunderstood

The last one hit me like a truck! I realized then I had done it myself. Not because I meant something bad, but my words, out of a context, could also have been taken as rude or inappropriate.

Since that day (and after having a comment completely misunderstood), I started to be more careful with my words.

Avoid misunderstanding by using neutral vocabulary in your comments. #socialmedia #blog Click To Tweet

It’s not like I don’t speak my mind anymore. It’s just that I do my best to make sure my words reflect my thoughts in a neutral way. It’s not perfect because, in communication, a lot depends on the receiver, still I do what I can from my side.

Before hitting the send button, ask yourself if there is any way your message can be misunderstood. If so, try to rephrase it. Sometimes, restart from scratch or send nothing at all. I know that creating commotion is a way many people use to market themselves. If it’s your thing, this item may not be for you. But if you want to show how much you respect those reading your content, this exercise will bring the return you want.

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Respect is all about who you are. It’s that thing one must give before receiving it. It may be an excellent tool to build your reputation or a weapon to ruin your Brand.

While rebranding, growing and evolving is part of the career of bloggers, whatever direction you choose for your content, you still want to have it associated with a positive image of yourself. Don’t let small details damage or destroy all your hard work.

If you caught yourself missing some point, there’s no need to worry. Just try to fix what you can and make sure you change your attitude going forward. We all make mistakes, and they’re an important part of the learning process.

For those who have seen their ideas “somewhere else”, welcome to the team. I know it’s annoying, but you can’t lose your motivation because of that. I never challenged those who I felt were “stealing” my ideas because they are not me. They may copy my words or content, but they will never have my Voice. Sooner or later their masks fall and they are left without content, ideas, a Brand or respect.

What is the most important aspect of respect in blogging to you?

For more tips on Blogging read also:

Please check the list of link parties I join here.

How To Be A Blogger Everybody Respects

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.