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I would like to start writing blog articles online as a guest writer. Most blogs have guidelines that have to be loosely followed; like what the niche should be, if it needs to be a list, and a bunch of other ideas of what they're looking for. Let me give you a for instance of my thought process with a hypothetical situation.

Let's say this blog is about handyman work. They want tips and tricks for house crafts or basic construction. Now, I don't know much about this, so I decide to research the idea. Now, this is where I start to get confused. How do I research tips and tricks without plagiarizing these other articles?

I don't have a lot of experience with most things, but are all articles out there personal experience only? How do I research in a way that doesn't plagiarize others, while finding my own interesting article?

Much appreciation to everyone's constructive criticism.

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One of the most important maxims in writing is “write what you know.” If you don’t know anything about handyman work, then don’t write about handyman work. You’re right, it will be hard to write anything original about handyman work if all of your knowledge about it is direct from a book with no practical experience or knowledge of the basics to draw on.

That is not to say that research is not important. It certainly is. But research is not going to enable you to write articles that compare favorably with articles written by someone who has years of schooling and years of practical experience on a subject, and who has also done research on that subject. And today, there will be millions of such people writing about any particular subject that you might choose.

Generally speaking, when people blog about something, it is the thing they either know best or are most passionate about, or both. So you might start by making a list of the 5 things you know best and the 5 things you are most passionate about. There may be some overlap. And then ask yourself if you have something to say on those subjects.

  • If I come across something that I'm interested and passionate about. Like, for instance, if I'm writing an article named: 10 Things About Julius Cesar You Didn't Know; When I start researching, I come across list style articles of this information that's already written. I can't use these lists to write my own article. Again, I'm probably over thinking this, but I hope this helps you understand. I like writing fiction, but I can't find a paying outlet for that. I'm trying to make some cash on the side. Thank you very much for your answer. – Jason Mar 22 '16 at 16:07
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I would suggest that you cite the original source, if you are researching ideas that others have done.

If you write:

This how to do X thing. Y method can be used, as shown [here].

then you are not claiming it as your own work. Anyone else can then access the original poster's website, from which you have done your own research, and will know that that is where you have got the information from.

Also, if you are directly copying any text from said article/blog post, then you will need to add them as quotes. You can, however, summarize or explain in your own way what they have written, such as

Person A uses X technique, which is good for achieving Y effect. However, make sure to take note to "Never do Z if attempting X technique", as Person A states in the article.

Obviously if you are drawing from your own experience on anything, then there is no question of plagiarism. However, plagiarism comes when you attempt to pass of the work of another as your own, hence clearly referencing whose work your research has come from will not be plagiarism.

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Mike.C.Ford writes: "I would suggest that you cite the original source". Seemingly sensible of course. But as OP wonders, "are all articles out there personal experience only?" Sometimes you see the same idea or even wording in several places (especially on the internet where everything is treated as public domain and authorless). It can be hard to tell what the "original source" is. Giving credit where it is due also means not giving it where it is not, and this can be tricky. So you may have to do some sleuth work to get to the truly original source.

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While ethically correct, giving credit and creating links to other sites would be antithetical to the aims of a content marketing blog, which is to attract potential customers to a site and to demonstrate the expertise of the company. So linking to other sites as the source of information would defeat both aims.

On the other hand, there is no copyright on ideas. If you can write new copy about how to do handyman work based on what you have read about handyman work you are not violating copyright or committing plagiarism. It probably won't be very good copy, if you don't understand the topic you are writing about, but if the copy itself is original (however unoriginal the ideas may be), it is not plagiarism.

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