If content is king, then content accuracy is the crown. As things move forward in the importance of content marketing, businesses will have to produce compelling content that is accurate to a fault. Building a shaky reputation is worse than not having an online presence at all.
According to Justin Pearse, head of marketing at Bite and board member of the British Interactive Media Association:
In 2014 we will see brands stop talking about ‘acting like a publisher’ and start actually acting like one. The froth surrounding content marketing will start to settle and brands will start investing in the people, processes and technologies to deliver truly compelling content.
What Accuracy Means for a Blog and Newsletter Writer
With corporate opinions and stories that are found in newsletters and blog posts, writers may tend to get a little loose and sloppy. This cannot happen. For a business to be seen as anything but insignificant or ignorant, the writers must be top notch and prepared to work. Just because your name doesn’t get signed on the end doesn’t mean you can be vague, unoriginal or uninformed.
The Topic for You
There are plenty of freelance jobs floating around, but a good writer knows what topics they are fit to handle. This doesn’t always mean you have to be fully educated in the area, but having a background understanding of some sort is important; adding insightful points won’t happen with research alone.
If I research high-end retail lighting, for example, I can add my own insightful tips on advertising advantages with my background in marketing. I don’t have to be an expert in lighting to get the facts right, but I shouldn’t pick up the assignment if I don’t have anything of value to offer the client.
What’s Really a Reliable Source?
Does Wikipedia count? What about HubSpot or CNN? As we were taught in college research papers, a good source has some kind of checks and balances in their publishing. Blog pages, for example, are usually not considered an authoritative source you can back up your points with. Websites that have editors, contain about us pages and .com or .org addresses are usually safe to use to some degree. If you are using a study or statistics, the publisher should be knowledgeable, but not have a vested interest in the results.
Most of research is common sense—if you feel proud that a source sees the same points you are making, then include them, if they don’t add anything but a link to the conversation, then don’t. Especially use sources that the target audience of the article would respect. Vogue or Elle are highly regarded authorities for fashion blog posts, for example.
Adding a Source
If a client doesn’t specify not to, then find an authoritative source. Remember, a client will not want you pointing to advice from a competitor, so make sure you are choosing a level higher. A lawyer or medical website, for example, could benefit from government studies, statistics or facts.
By backing your work with opinions that are further researched and adding your own insight, you will be able to create the kind of content that is highly regarded and keeps your clients coming back for more.
Alethea M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.