Are You an Original Content Creator or Parasite?


But isn’t this way to true of many, many blogs out there? You may even be suspect and/or guilty of doing the same thing! As blogging continues to grow and the ease of creating content becomes near-effortless there will be an increasing premium on truly original writing.

Unfortunately a lot of what I read out there is re-hashed, re-gurgitated, or re-blogged content with little additional value or even commentary at times! I see a lot of CTRL-C and CTRL-V action happening as bloggers copy and paste with abandon.

Now, I’m not saying that all of this is necessarily bad and some of it’s just basic journalism, especially if you’re in the business of reporting news. What I am saying is that defining your unique voice and perspective is going to be handcuffed and limited unless you spend time investing in developing just that!

If you do spend time being much more parasitical in your writing then I would challenge you to write one more original blog post this week than you typically do. If you spend a lot of time copy and pasting your competition (or inspiration) then why not make sure that you add some valuable commentary or opinion about the piece instead of saying “Isn’t that cool?”

I have a strong, authentic, and real voice in my community and my context because I’ve trained it, crafted it, curated it, and invested in it for many different years. There are a lot of copy-cats (and that’s fine) but there’s only one original me. The same goes for you and all the great stuff that you have but that you have yet to share publicly.

Be an original content creator and less of a content parasite. Do yourself a favor (and the world as a result) but going deep into your own thought, excavating the gold that you find, and bringing it back to a world that desperately needs to hear about it.

  • Ben Terry

    Great post, John. It’s convicting, encouraging, and challenging. I feel motivated to go even deeper with my thoughts and writing when it comes to blogging personally and professionally.

    Anybody else feel the same way?

  • Mark McIntyre

    Do you mind if I re-post this? Just kidding.

    Being original is scary because people might not like what I say. Also, sometimes I look back on stuff I’ve written and I don’t like what I said. But anything that is worth doing is worth doing badly at times.

    Thanks for the encouragement to be original.

  • Geekfori

    Great stuff man, a hard question for sure.

    I am both unfortunately. I just need to set aside writing time and I am more of a content creator.

  • David Woll

    Can I copy this post?

  • Laurinda

    Great post. I so agree. It’s almost disheartening to be duped by a fancy headline only to read regurgitated or flat out copied content.

  • JamesW

    Great post, I’m original content creator and that will never change :)

  • Rix Banga

    Great article. So tempted to copy and paste this (only joking!!!)

  • Jacob K. Bluhm

    I really respect the idea of being origional. I have had multiple people advise me to simply regurgitate information onto my blog as a way of credentialing myself. This advice really upset me. This is a fancy way of saying copy and paste general ‘blah’ onto your site so the audience thinks you’re an expert. I’m going to stick with being origional. Thank you for the reminder John.

  • Chanté

    Thanks for such a great blog! I’ve been reading it now for about 6 months, and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is, and how it’s helped me in my own endeavors. I appreciate your “can do” attitude – very refreshing! In respect to blogging, I think a lot of people out there have heard that you can make a lot of money blogging, so they jump into this game without realizing that it is a lot of work. Creating original content is not impossible, but it does take some time, research and honing of skills, so I appreciate your originality and varied topics. A lot of your posts just make me smile, and goodness knows, I can stand to smile more!

  • Tom Wigginton

    Wowsa – that was good and encouraging!

    • Ben Terry

      Was it not convicting too!? Such a great reminder and motivator to go deeper in my thoughts when blogging.

  • Augis

    I will disagree with you, John.

    It is impossible to answer the question “Is original or regurgitated content better” without taking in account the blogger’s goal.

    If the goal is increasing the traffic, number of readers and pageviews – then parasitism (at least, to some extent) is inevitable.

    Best proof is that Huffington Post, which is parasitic blog, is the most popular blog in the world.

    Truly original articles are rarity. Most of us are parasites. And – let’s face the truth – it is impossible to post EVERY day original posts, which are interesting and meaningful.

    The solution, possibly, is “regurgitating” elegantly. Take, for example, LISTS. These are the most popular articles in any niche. But what are they if not repackaged information found elsewhere on internet?

    I was experimenting for a while, looking for my own formula of “elegant parasitism” until finding the one which fits me best.
    And now I run the blog in which I simply translate the viral stories on Russian internet (from Russian to English).
    It is definitely parasitism. On the other hand, the translation ensures that my text is original in Google’s point of view.
    And it definitely gives value to readers interested in the news from Russia but not knowing Russian language.

    • John Saddington

      You might want to read my post before commenting next time. 3rd paragraph please.

  • Augis

    Dear John, you are wrong thinking that I haven’t read your post prior to leaving my comment.

    There is one more thing I’d like to add, however. I totally agree with you that it is very important to “have your own voice”.

    However, “having your own voice” is not the same as “being original”. And thus there is a certain dissonance between the title “Original Creator vs. Parasite” and the main message of the post which stresses the importance of crafting your own style.

    John, I’ve been reading your posts for a long time. Some of them are saved in my bookmarks for future reference. And what are these posts that I found to be most interesting and most useful on your site? These were the posts about blog building, SEO, monetization and so on. The posts in which 90% of information is NOT original and can be found elsewhere on internet.

    But I did like “your voice” in how you presented that NON-ORIGINAL information – short posts, straight to the point, connected in series, illustrated with screenshots (where appropriate).

    Possibly the main point in which I disagree with you is that you do not explicitly distinguish between originality in content and originality in form/style.

    You have created a great blog, John, and you are liked by many readers (including me). But this is not because of originality of your content, but rather because of originality of your style. And if there is something that I would readily learn from you – it is how to be a “smart parasite” [ this is compliment :-) ]

    • John Saddington

      well said.


      i think being a “smart parasite” is simply adding something valuable. now, how you determine “value” is up to you, but i think over time this is vetted by engagement, audience growth, and community.

      great thoughts here augis!

  • G

    I’m determined to come up with my own content, and I think it’s one of the reasons I can’t manage to post every day.

    I think it’s legit to take something another blogger has written and add value to it, then call that your own.

  • J.Molina

    Very powerful. And True. Need to be original. Great post.

  • noeltroy

    And I’d actually say Michael Hyatt is an example of someone very successful that doesn’t create original content. He even states as much in his podcasts.