The internet is packed full of incredible ideas, stunning photos, and inspiring quotes, but you can’t just use these works without permission. Your brand’s reputation depends on your ability to share other people’s content respectfully and truthfully, or in some instances, not share it at all.
However, it’s rare that a quotation from a book, paper, or author is off-limits. With that said, blogs are hotbeds of source attribution issues that are sometimes so severe that they’re illegal.
While blogs don’t have to be as strictly attributed as scholarly resources, there exists an accepted internet-sharing etiquette we should follow. It’s important to give credit where it’s due, by applying accordingly.
How to Include Citations in Blogging and Long-Form Content
Certain types of website content will increase sales revenue for your company, but to make yourself a respected expert in your field, you must give credit to other hard-working creators.
1. Failing to Cite a Source (at All or Correctly) is Plagiarism
If you’re using someone else’s words or ideas in a blog post and you don’t cite the source, you’re plagiarizing. Not only is plagiarism a moral offense, but it’s also illegal if you’re claiming another person’s ideas as your own and selling them as a product/service to make a profit.
In some cases, citing the source incorrectly could land you in trouble. Before using a quote from another source, review how to correctly attribute a source in your chosen citation style. For scholarly sources, refer to the website’s terms & conditions or copyright law, just to be safe.
2. Choose Between APA, MLA, and Chicago Style Citations
There are many ways to cite sources, and the citation style you’ll use may depend on the academic discipline involved. APA, MLA, and Chicago Style are the most commonly used,
- APA: Psychology, Education, and Sciences
- MLA: Humanities
- Chicago: History, Business, and Fine Arts
Most bloggers prefer to use MLA and APA, regardless of what topic they’re writing about. There are a lot of rules surrounding each citation style, so you should get familiar with your chosen citation style. Or, you can use a citation generator from Quillbot to cite sources accurately.
As a rule, bloggers should match their citation style with the format. You shouldn’t use an APA citation style if you’re using the MLA format or vice versa. The exception to this rule is if the person you’re quoting from has a content usage guide, but this is usually limited to full quotes.
3. How to Add a Full Quote and Half Quote to a Blog Post or Article
Content creators can either quote a full quote or a half quote. A full quote includes the information cited without breaking up the text, whereas a half quote breaks up the text with an ellipse. Here’s examples of both methods using the same quote from HubSpot’s Kristen Baker:
“However, content marketing is not just publishing a thin piece of content and hoping people will find it. It’s about purposefully tailoring your pages, videos, ebooks, and posts to your target audience so that they find you the inbound way rather than the outbound way.”
– Kristen Baker, HubSpot (Follower her on LinkedIn)
“…purposefully tailoring your pages, videos, ebooks, and posts to your target audience so that they find you the inbound way rather than the outbound way.”
– Kristen Baker, HubSpot (Follower her on LinkedIn)
According to HubSpot’s Guidelines, contributors can use their content if the quote is under 75 words, HubSpot is listed as the source, and the citation links to the original source referenced. You should always check if the person or website you’re quoting has a content usage guide.
We also included a link to Kristen Baker’s social media account. This isn’t necessary to do, but it’s nice to do. Besides, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are good options.
4. How to Add a Data Without a Full Quote to a Blog Post or Article
If you’re not taking a full quote but you want to share a fact or paraphrase a part of a text, there are a few ways to do it. The easiest way is by linking to the original source. For example:
“According to Statistica, mobile devices account for 58.99% of global website traffic in the second quarter of 2022.” This example names the website providing the source.
However, this example: “Mobile devices account for 58.99% of global website traffic in the second quarter of 2022.” doesn’t provide a named source and doesn’t have to. As long as you link the statistics to the page where the source was found, it’s considered “proper attribution.”
5. How to Cite a Source From Social Media to Your Website
Citing a source from social media is similar to the examples above, except you’ll use a person’s username instead of their full name (if applicable). For example, if your website is using a Tweet, you would quote the Tweet and then attribute it like “- @kbakes_2 on Twitter.”
If you’re taking a screenshot of the Tweet instead, you would still attribute it the same way as the previous example (i.e., “@kbates_2 on Twitter”) but preceded with a “Screenshot Source:.”
Alternatively, you could use a plug-in that allows you to share a post directly from someone’s social media profile. It’s a good practice to ask social media creators before using their content.