Just the Facts, Ma’am: Creating Journalistic Credibility in Blogging
There is evidence of this trend all over the Internet. Websites and blogs step all over each other trying to be the first one to get the scoop. While it is tempting to be first, it is more important to be right. If your business relies on journalism as a part of doing business, you build much more credibility if you are consistently accurate rather than simply first.
You can infuse your blog or website with a true journalistic mentality by following these guidelines for reporting news relevant to your business.
Never assume a statistic, quote or anything else is accurate until you have taken time to check the facts. If it sounds to good be true, there’s a good chance it isn’t true. Assuming information is factual and publishing it without doing fact-checking first is irresponsible. You risk losing credibility with your target audience. You also risk being sued for libel if you publish something proven to be false and harmful to another party.
Do Your Homework
Every story has two sides to it. It is your job to get the whole story before whipping up a fresh batch of web content. If you run a story on someone using a new mobile app, for example, including all negative experiences or all positive experiences will skew the content to serve a certain bias. Let your readers make their own decisions. It will actually give your business better word-of-mouth if you are not obnoxiously one-sided in your content.
Network with Credible Sources
Working journalists and journalists for hire will all tell you the same thing: finding credible sources gives substance to a story. Using the right sources lends authority to your content. It demonstrates that you are plugged into your industry as a business owner. It tells your audience that they can trust what they see and hear will have informational value.
What do TMZ and the National Enquirer have in common? Both offer examples of using sensational stories to draw in their target audiences. The problem is that often they will take quotes, photos and other details out of context and twist them to fit a certain agenda. You can’t afford to take that tactic in sharing news with your audience. It is a quick way to become a pariah within your industry and lose credibility.
Form a Real Connection
One proven method for creating newsworthy content is sharing stories that relate to your audience and their lives. They want news they can use. They also want to read stories that feel applicable to their circumstances. When you make content you share valuable to your audience, that’s when they will start to care about it and see you as an information resource.
John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.