Is Creating Original Content Worth It Or Should I Just Piggy Back Off Others? Thumbnail

When I first started blogging in 2009, I took the angle that it was better to create original content vs. simply copying other people’s content and putting my own spin on things. After all, once you’ve created a new terminology, you’re looked upon as a creator instead of a regurgitator or a consumer.

But after seeing some very large sites simply regurgitate content about what another site said, I’m not too sure about my stance. If you never create your own content, you never have to really think as hard. It’s also impossible to ever run out of content either! You can simply piggyback off other people’s good work, and potentially rank AHEAD of them on the search engines for the original work.

Let’s discuss!


* Yakezie – Yakezie is a made up term I came up with while brainstorming late one night on my bed. I had just got rejected from a blog net work and I was adamant to not let such a rejection get me down. Given Financial Samurai is Japanese-themed, and Yakuza has negative connotations, I decided on Yakezie (Yah-Keh-ZEE). I wanted one word that was short and catchy. From the creation of the word Yakezie came the creation of the Yakezie Network. So far, so good, although activity used to be much bigger when direct advertising was all the rage.

* 1/10th Rule For Car Buying – I believe car buying is the #1 personal finance killer today. Americans spend way too much money on their cars. Not only do we hurt our finances through overspending on a motor vehicle, we also end up polluting the earth and causing major traffic jams. I hate traffic jams! The 1/10th rule has been a relatively huge success based on the number of social shares on the post (triple what you see b/c I changed my post URL structure in Jan, 2014 and my social sharing plugin in March), the number of comments, and the recurring traffic.

* The TITTS Ratio – The Total Income Taxes to Total Savings ratio gives a savings guideline based on the percentage an individual pays in taxes. Did you know that on average, the government takes more from you than you save a year? Ridiculous I say! Besides having an obvious catchy acronym, I truly believe that we all need to seek to save 2X more than what the government takes from us to get ahead. The TITTS ratio is a relative failure in the blogosphere because nobody has picked up my catchy acronym.

* The Jeans Strategy To Save And Stay In Shape – The Jeans Strategy is a way to get people to save more for retirement and stay in shape. Who doesn’t own a pair of jeans? And who doesn’t love a pair of great fitting jeans? This new term is too early to decide whether it is a success or not. From the initial comments and traffic leading to this post, activity is incrementally positive.

The above are four examples of original content that took some time to formulate. Two are successes (Yakezie, 1/10th Rule), one is a failure (TITTS Ratio), and one is TBD. The first three things took a while to come up with. Every time I have to think of something new, I think I lose some brain cells that can’t be replaced. The Jeans Strategy was more of an epiphany that took the normal 1.5-2 hours to write and edit.


* Copying the news. All you’ve got to do is see what’s trending in the news, republish what is happening on the news, and the write about your opinions on the topical news item. The benefit with this strategy is that you’ll never run out of ideas. If you happen to rank well on a worldwide trending topic, you might get massive outsized traffic as well. There is an enormous installed based of readers who care about this topic, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel like I’ve done in the examples above.

One strategy I’ve thought about doing is simply banging out an editorial piece as quick as I can once an East Coast publication publishes something. Given I’m three hours behind, a good strategy is to simply figure out a major east coast media company’s publication schedule. If I can publish a 750 word post within 35 minutes of them publishing about the topic, and make my post more edgy, surely I could rank well on the subject too.

* Copying others who copy the news. One strategy I’ve seen are bloggers who highlight other bloggers who copy the news. The hope is that the original blogger who is copying the news can give a shoutout to the other bloggers who are copying them, copying the news. It’s not a bad strategy as everybody does appreciate a link back, especially if they didn’t come up with something original.

* Ripping off other people’s content. This is the worst strategy of piggy backing because it’s stealing. At the same time, everything in the personal finance arena has been said before. I’m surprised there aren’t more rifts between writers who end up writing eerily similar articles. But let’s say you are a car enthusiast and like my 1/10th rule for car buying. Instead of ripping off the 1/10th rule completely, you can come up with the “10% rule of car buying” or the one month paycheck rule for car buying. These “new rules” basically will say something very similar, and perhaps you can create your own little buzz as well.


The Comment Commentary post is something that I think every blogger should consider. It’s a form of user generated content (UGC) that not only creates good interaction with your community, but it also provides a different point of view. So far, my “Comment Commentary” posts have done really well in terms of generating discussion:


Maybe It’s Your Fault Why The Wealth Gap Continues To Widen? (161 comments) – After so many bashing comments about my 1/10th rule where people said it’s stupid, unjust, and unfair, I decided to collect some of the negative commentary and tie it together with the bigger social issue on the concerning widening of the wealth gap. The post was a big hit and caused more discussion as a result.

What’s So Bad About Bank Of Mommy And Daddy, Cry-Baby? (120 comments) – I had one reader leave a 700+ comment on why my average net worth chart guideline could only be achieved with mommy and daddy’s help, even though he said he got no help and is in the top end of my average net worth chart guidelines! I wanted to delve into the psychology behind this inconsistency. What resulted was magical.

The Comment Commentary Strategy ™ is a virtual giving machine that feeds upon itself. Using CCS is also a great way to use extreme commentary that may be disheartening to your advantage to generate even more traffic to your site. There’s always a silver lining!


So far, everything I write just comes to me one way or another. I’m currently in the middle of trying to buy property in an absurdly hot San Francisco real estate market, for example. As a result, even with negative experiences of losing a property bidding war, there’s plenty of material to be produced.

I don’t sit down and think about a two-week editorial calendar because that kills the joy out of blogging. The only time I schedule one or two weeks of posts at a time is when I’m planning on going on vacation.

If you aren’t very original in your content, I suggest simply meditating for five minutes each day by yourself, or brainstorming with a friend. You’ll be amazed what you’ll come up with. And before you start piggy backing off everybody else’s work, consider combing through the gems in your comments section. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something fantastic to share!


It’s been over seven years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive and active income stream online now. My online presence has allowed me to pursue other things, such as consulting for various financial tech startups as well.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. 

Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. You never know where the journey will take you! There are professional bloggers now who make way more than bankers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs while having much more fun, much more freedom, and doing less work. 

Updated for 2017 and beyond.