From My Desk To Yours – 35th Edition

To Quote, or Not to Quote? That Is the Question.
By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor

Our answer? Be the Source.

Maintaining originality is the most important key to building your brand, credibility, sales, referrals, and ultimately viral distribution of your articles.

Your view matters. It is your vision that keeps articles desirable to readers and as long as you are wanted by readers – publishers will want to use your articles in their newsletter (which means more traffic back to your site). Prove your status as an expert in your niche by not using more than 3-5 lines of sourced material in your article.

Here’s why:

Articles Are Evergreen

Evergreen articles have no expiration date; they are timeless. Timeless articles remain beneficial to readers and publishers because the content and information stays accurate and valuable. They will out-perform articles that discuss fads or topics that will no longer be a main head-liner a month or even a year from now.

Articles Are Not Dissertations

Readers and publishers want quick, easy, original, and informative content. This ideally is in the form of articles between 400-700 words. It’s easier to republish an article of this size than a research report topping around 5,000 words.

Also, our data shows the average article reader’s attention span wanes after 2 minutes. And if that wasn’t enough, it has been found that the average reader reads text roughly between 250 – 300 words per minute. That means after 2 minutes of reading (about 500-600 words), your reader is ready to call it quits on your article! Hence our recommendation: 400-700 words.

Protect Your Credibility

Plagiarism IS a serious matter. If you find yourself absolutely itching to quote another author, ALWAYS attribute the quoted content to the original author. You can find more information in our Editorial Guidelines: Article Content (Section 1.b.).

We want to solidify your credibility, not the person you are quoting. Supplement quotes with plenty of your own commentary: 1) quote and cite the original source, 2) reflect how the quoted author’s topic may have influenced your niche, 3) whether you agree or disagree, and 4) provide unique content the quoted author may have overlooked or neglected to provide!

Bottom-line: Be The Source.

If you want your articles to spread over the Internet like wildfire, provide YOUR own unique insight. Be the author that inspires readers, be the author that hooks publishers, and be the original source.

Before you panic about providing content that is both unique and from your own view point, check out this video to help you get started and consider the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Write Your Article. Then follow-up with these brainstorming techniques to stir up some hot new ideas for your niche.


Karen writes:

I prefer to write evergreen articles where the information remains valuable for years to come. It is difficult to keep up with the latest trends in such subjects as the latest mobile phones.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM


Wolfgang writes:

Things are moving pretty quickly on the internet, so if an article is evergreen or not, will depend a bit on what you like to write about, I write about Internet marketing, so I don’t know if my articles will be evergreen.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 9:57 AM


M Francis writes:

The only ideas that will remain evergreen are related to justice, good vs. evil, God, creation, self-improvement, etc…

Technology, not so much.

This is my own “not quoted from anyone” opinion.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM



Very useful suggestion. I really do enjoy seeing it explained through a vdieo. Well done, as usual.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM


Nahid writes:

I agree with Wolfgang. Internet is moving at astronomical speed! This makes it hard to write evergreen articles on the subject of IM.

However, it is still possible to write about the fundamentals of internet marketing which will always remain the same.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM


Oneal Degrassi writes:

You say readers are ready to go after 2-3 minutes. But if published in a newsletter or on an authority website, one would lean toward believing they will stay a little longer.

Plus, I personally believe (this is a quote from Miss Teen South Carolina – LOL) it comes down to the quality and style of writing. Does it “fit” the target audience? Does it use effective transitions? Is it using the correct industry terms and jargon? Is it effectively answering what the reader wants to know?

I just feel that it is the content that dictates how long someone reads a piece…not statistics of gazillions of hits on a general article directory.

Just a thought.


Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM




You’re probably getting tired of being thanked by all those readers who find your articles so useful!

Here’s another. Thanks.

I consider the quality of my blogs is more important than being too traffic-driven. This means that every piece of writing has to have my personal Q.A tick beside it.

As for plagiarism, most authors try very hard to avoid it. We’re all original enough, and that’s what readers want.

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 4:06 PM



Newer then a weed in the grass here. But if I understand the issue, we are asked to use our own brain and creativity? Surly you jest, it is 2011, who engages in such an old fashioned idea anymore ;)

As I quoted in my new book Greasy Village (coming soon) “I care little about the titles assigned to men, rather I care more about their spirit”

Paul Erik Van Schaick (

Comment provided October 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM



Dear Penny,
‘To quote or not to quote?’. ‘Be the source’- What a beginning…Beginning is important- How you begin. And so aptly you have started- Congrats. It is not easy to write; to express in this way esp. choosing the word so nicely ‘Source’- Congrats again.

Yes, I agree, originality is the key. This is what I always maintain in my article writing. I pic-up the title which is closely related to human life. I try to share my experiences like- how to stay healthy, full of positive views, even when you are in stress.

Recently I’ve written an article and the title is- ‘Adversity, Destiny and You’. And after reading your answer ‘Be the source’ I felt I need your views…to enhance my capacity in article writing…hence sharing the beginning with you-

“When adversity beckons…answer the call gracefully. Look into the eyes of adversity…a very deep penetrating look. And the day this happens to you, mark my words…you will start writing your own destiny”.

My blog is-

I seriously need your encourgement…pl. read the beginning and the blog. And kindly guide me…in becoming the Source.

Comment provided October 13, 2011 at 3:23 AM



The best advice that I can provide is to understand what your readers are looking for and deliver that in your own words. You know your audience better than most and they will be the 1st to tell you if what you are writing works.


John writes:

I consider evergreen articles as article has no expiration and articles are timeless. As EzineArticles telling us through this article that articles are timeless, I prefer writing timeless articles with word limit 400 – 700. Keep updating us with your services like this thanks EzineArticles.

Comment provided October 13, 2011 at 11:56 AM


Steve Larsen writes:

Quick question – I am just getting into writing articles and I just got a notice from some site that has “used” one. That is not what the actual message said but it read something like they have now referenced it. My question is, how on earth do you find if your articles are out there just getting snatched up by whoever? Thanks.

Comment provided October 14, 2011 at 6:36 AM


Steve –

One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a short, unique phrase in your article and then do a quick search on that phrase. Provided the phrase is truly unique, the search results should yield a list of places your article is currently being used.

I hope this helps.




I agree with you totally, Study shows that Google loves original and unique contents. Being unique you give your self a chance to grow on ranking which gives you more organic traffic and referral traffic as other would like to have you on there sites.

Comment provided October 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM


Life Insurance writes:

Using Your Keyword at Tiitle, first paragraph, 2 or three at content and last paragraph.

Comment provided November 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM


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