October 11, 2020

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Welcome to The Way of the Blogging Ethics. We promise not to bore you with a series of rules put in a bullet points list!

What is Blogging Ethics and why it is important?

Ethics is a system of moral principles which affects our rights and responsibilities. It concerns the language of the right and the wrong. When it comes to bloggers and content creators this is a tricky topic since everything is situated online. 


We like to call the digital version of ethics: blogging ethics.


The Internet is often home to relativity and freedom of speech. Nonetheless, certain things ought to be respected since the quality of our presence online is based on the authenticity and honesty of our approach. Even the International Journalists' Network came up with basic ethics rules when blogging


The content that we create should always be in service of the Truth. Truth with a capital “T;” especially if we hope to create a real audience based on authentic content. Besides, following the moral principles is a way to avoid lawsuits and bad karma, which is always a good idea, I think. 


When developing your blogging ethics it is crucial to think about your value system. In other words, how you expect others to treat you, should be your point of reference when treating others. 


For example, what you would like to think about the content you consider worthy, should be a reflection of the content that you create.

Why you should care about blogging ethics as a content creator?

Well, bloggers and content creators have one crucial thing in common with journalists - they create public content. When something is public, it is available to everyone and this means that you have a huge responsibility. 


With every word written you affect people that are your audience. As beautiful and romantic this is, it is also very important to take it seriously. 


When doing anything in life we often intuitively check in with our inner guide to see if it is aligned with our moral system. Hence the need for a “ethics of the blogger.” 


When creating public content you kind of have to root your values even deeper and find a strong reflection of what they are. This is a wonderful opportunity to work on yourself and for yourself while taking care of your audience. 


Having a set of rules gives you a direction in how to interact with your inner world and the outer world. It is clear that when you set a good structure, you can dance around it creatively. 


In other words, when you set a Code of Ethics when blogging, you are rooted enough to fly high to the spheres of creative content writing and exploring new fields of possibilities. I call this: “being on the highway rather than on a golf cart riding here and there on the golf course.”


Your vibe attracts your tribe. This is true in all aspects of our lives. So, when creating the content, keep in mind that the things you talk about and how you talk about them will attract the reflections that you ask for.

What are the Dos and Don'ts of blogging ethics?

Let's see what are the best practices when it comes to ethics and blogging.


Dos

Authenticity

When I say that we are most beautiful only when we are true about who we are, I really mean it. You can only be the best version of yourself and that is all that you should wish to achieve. 


When you show your authentic nature to those around you, they feel it and they are attracted to it. It sounds simple when people say, well, just be yourself. 


I am aware that this is not an easy task when all that we were taught is to suppress our authentic feelings and emotions. But, you can change the flow of things and overcome what they have told us we should be. 


Scratch into the authenticity, show us your unique perspective of things. Be brave enough to show your true colors and you will be rewarded. You will earn a lovely audience and encouraging feedback.


Creating Value

Beyond a set of blogging ethical rules, value is what drives people to you. Creating value in this context means offering your audience a better understanding of things they need to change in order to improve their business or life even. 


Firstly, observe and search for ways to improve all that you know a lot about. 


Secondly, when you see what can be better, find solutions. And lastly, share these with your audience or clients. Their success is your success. Honestly, this is true for all humanity. If you are growing, this is enhancing my growth. I call this sustainable cooperation. 


As a content writer and blogger, you are enough of an influence to help a lot of people with your own experience. Be generous with your knowledge.


Inspiration: Give due credit

When somebody inspires you, it is a gift. A gift that should be honored and rewarded by sharing your source with the world. Your work is not less important, or less original because somebody motivated you to create it. 


There is always something that inspires us, consciously or subconsciously, inner or outer. So, when somebody pushes you into creativity and expression, always find a way to show appreciation. 


Also, giving due credit is something that shows that you are responsible and trustworthy. The resources you provide are certain proof of your words. And the most useful thing about giving due credit is that it helps you avoid plagiarism. Even if you make changes in your text, do tell the name of those who inspired you. 


Also, when sharing photos from the internet, acknowledge the source. Plagiarism is a form of stealing. Use the time you would invest in packing the ideas of others into different sentences to come up with your own idea.


So, cite, acknowledge, and link your sources to support them and be honest about the roots of your ideas. 



Be open to honest feedback

When creating content online, you expose yourself and your work to a wide range of people. In other words, you are vulnerable, which is actually good. Blogging ethics is not just a set of rules or a guidance on how to create content, a blogger’s ethics also opens him or her to the outside word. 


Vulnerability is a place of growth. You are open to change, fluid and receptive. In this state of mind, you can accept the supportive feedback and heavy criticism. 


I love to say, “Those who do the real work, make a real mess.”. In a sense that whenever you open yourself to doing something, you will probably make some mistakes. It is a part of the process of learning and growing. 


Stay humble and admit when you could have done a better job. There are no errors, just turning points that shift our perspectives.

By silencing your ego and sharing the Truth about your learning process, you will attract the people that are honest and genuine.


Give in order to receive

This is a universal law that can be applied in every segment of your life. When you share your knowledge and all that you have to offer unconditionally, you will inevitably get the same in return.


Some people believe that whatever you give comes back to you, that you need to give without expecting anything in return, and that you will eventually receive. What a great blogging ethics!


That is to say, if you share good energy and words from your heart, no worries. People recognize the generosity and always wish to give back when they receive. You can also do offerings through giveaways. It is a beautiful way to collaborate with a brand by sharing a product that you support with your audience. 


Try to feel your audience as your family, your tribe. These people are there to support you. So, give them love and acknowledge the abundance principle through this relationship.


Also, be available for your audience and clients even after-sales. Do not give up on them once you finish your work for them. It is always good to show that you are there for them if they need any additional help. Be there for your people.



Quality not Quantity

Many different tricks will attract your audience, but the quality of your content will keep them coming back. The question you should ask yourself is whether your blogs are going in-depth and meeting the needs of your clients. 


I made this as one of the moral rules to follow since it is essential to understand your responsibility for the time people invest in reading your content. To put it like this, people are trusting you with their time when reading your words. Raising awareness of the fact that your thoughts are a part of someone else's reality should be a motivation to create high-quality content.


Numerous bloggers make a bunch of blog posts and not even one of them offers a full experience with the information that the audience comes to find. 


Don’t disperse into the fragmentation of the content so it would look like you are writing more than you are. Rather have a few well-covered articles that will give the people what they came for.


Collaboration

And lastly, collaborate, include others, share knowledge and expand your community. You can have an inspiring presence online all by yourself, but it is always good to make a web of mutual support with other content creators, bloggers and even customers. 


Look for ways to motivate others to create, start their own business and follow your path if they wish to. Be generous with what you know and what you have by offering creative solutions through collaborations.


Write your own Blogging Code of Ethics

Writing is therapy. Why not jotting down a few ideas on a sheet of paper or on your computer? You should write your own Code of Ethics to integrate all its rules! Having a series of ethical blog guidelines can be useful when you are confronted with a challenging situation. 

Let's go to the next step. 


Don’ts

I would say that these are pretty obvious, but I will list them to organize a clear structure that reminds us of what to avoid when creating our content.


Focus on the value before the big bucks

We live in an era when marketing is playing an important role in content writing and blogging. Of course, it is wonderful to gain money through blogging and you need to use some basic marketing tricks if you want to enhance your rankings. 


But, let’s just make sure that this is not a priority. If you focus on high-quality content and value of the work that you create, chances are huge that people will get to you because of what you are offering and how you are offering it. 


If the content you create has all of the “Dos” that we listed above, you probably won't need to overthink the marketing strategies, since you will be original enough to stand out from the crowd.


Many people start blogging from the idea that it is an interesting way to earn some money. But, the truth is that it is not an easy job if you want to do it right. It asks for devotion, constant creativity, a love for exploring and researching and most of all, a will to discover and share the Truth. So, do not forget that you are sharing the truth with people and that this should be your primary motivation.


If money becomes your only motivation, maybe you should rethink your call and take a break.


Do not engage in deceptive practices

As a blogger or content creator, you should never suggest or promote something that is not the Truth. Misleading people is unquestionably immoral. It is an act of conscious manipulation with unhealthy motivation. 


We have so many examples of this in politics and marketing strategies that big corporations use. Be authentic and courageous enough to believe that the Truth will get you to your goal. 


Avoid Lawsuits

This one is pretty obvious. Let’s not give ourselves this experience of having to go to the court because we are lazy.

Blogging ethics is one thing that can keep you out of trouble when doing business online. 


The first thing that you should do is explore a few laws that concern blogging and content creating. They are available online though many articles cover this topic.


Secondly, keep your life simple and avoid plagiarism by being aware of copyrights. Through avoiding hijacking of the work of others you are giving respect for the time they invested in researching and also keeping yourself away from troubles. Copyright law includes photos, videos and sounds. Ask for permission before using any form of art, if it is not on the public domain. 


Thirdly, be careful when talking about other people, especially public figures. It is a grey area since famous people are often fragile, so avoid giving comments and using heavy words when describing human beings.


And lastly, do not write defamatory material. In other words, something that you can not prove to be true. To sum up, be genuine, authentic and mind your own business! 


Let us know what you feel and tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

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About the author 

Martin Couture

I help people just like you start, grow and future-proof their online business. After years of creating digital experiences for brands like Disney, Nike, Tiffany, Fendi, BMW, Mercedes... I decided to start blogging and making niche websites. Now, I want to help you achieve what I have achieved. I worked at the 2 biggest independent agencies in the world: Wieden+Kennedy and Serviceplan. Martin Couture is Content Marketing Consultant at the Art of Growth Marketing.

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