Last week I was contacted by Roula Amire, the managing editor at Ragan.com, who wanted to know if they could run my ‘5 smart ways to create additional content for your company blog‘ post on their site. The email explained that they wanted to run the post, with my bio and a link back to here.
I was more than happy to do this, and replied telling Roula that they could use/link to any post I write. I think this is where I made my first mistake, and I’ll explain more later on this.
I received an email yesterday afternoon (That I didn’t get a chance to read till this morning), that gave me a link to the article as it would run tomorrow (Monday), and added ‘here’s our edit of your piece’. When I saw the word ‘edit’, I immediately got worried, because I never gave Roula or Ragan.com permission to edit the post.
I checked the link, and the title of the post had been changed, as well as the content. Not drastically, but a few small edits here and there (NOTE: As soon as I saw the edited version of my post on Ragan.com, I emailed Roula asking her to change the title back and add a link to my post here. While writing this post, she emailed me back to let me know she was making those changes, here is the post link she sent me – UPDATE, right before publishing this piece, I see that Roula has changed the title back and added a link here to the post at the end of the article.) Obviously, by changing the title of the post and a few changes in the wording (and by NOT linking back to the original post), the site is making it appear that I wrote the piece for Ragan.com. I did not. And the kicker is, I know that many of my readers also read Ragan.com. So they will likely read that post and remember the ORIGINAL post here that it came from. And then they will think ‘Wait…so Mack is republishing his stuff on Ragan.com and changing the title so it looks like it’s a new article?’ So both Ragan and I end up looking bad.
This is an important lesson learned for me, and hopefully it will be for you as well. I should have had Ragan.com CAREFULLY explain EXACTLY what they were going to do with the article. And I should have made it expressly clear to them that they could NOT edit the content of the post. Yes, that’s a no-brainer and they should have known better, but I should have also known better than to assume they wouldn’t do this. I am asked to republish my posts on other sites from time to time, and the format always is that they will republish the post/article, with a link back to the original post/article. I shouldn’t have assumed that Ragan was going to do the same thing.
So if you are contacted by another site about having your content republished there, here are some tips learned the hard way:
1 – Make sure the site understands that they MUST link back to your original post/article on your site, and that they MUST mention that ‘The original post/article can be found here – ‘, with a link to it.
2 – Make sure the site understands that they do NOT have your permission to edit the post/article (unless you say it’s ok, which I advise against) , and that it must appear verbatim as it does on YOUR blog/site.
3 – Contact other writers that have had their work republished on the site, and ask their opinions. Ask them if it went as the site said it would, or were there any surprises.
4 – Take the time to pay attention to the request. This is where the fault is all on me. The initial email from Roula came late last week while I was in Memphis on client work, and I hurried through the email request to republish the article. Then yesterday when Roula sent me an email explaining how the article would look on the Ragan site, I should have checked it then, but her email came as I was prepping for #blogchat, so I decided to check it out today.
But I think for sites that contact bloggers about republishing their content, please make sure there aren’t any surprises. Please careful explain EXACTLY what you want to do with the content, and how it will appear on the site. If you want to make edits to the content, explain that up front. Send a final draft of how the post will appear on your site, and ask for the blogger to APPROVE the draft, before you publish it.
Well this was a learning experience for me, what has been your experience in having other sites republish your content? Did you learn anything you can share with us?