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It takes more than knowing keywords to create quality content. Catch phrases, buzz words and click-bait terms are all too prevalent. This is especially true on platforms like social media. Instead of sharing information, a lot of people simply regurgitate falsities or flat-out lie for the sake of getting views. So, what can you do to avoid looking fake when creating your own content?
Creating Quality Content Over Fake News
Before we get started, I just want to point out that this post is for those who operate blogs like myself that are centered around helping others or sharing news. Fictional content such as poems, stories and the like can be quality without the steps below. If you blog to share life stories or to be creative, this isn’t necessarily for you.
Currently in the United States, and around the world, the phrase “fake news” saturates blogs and video. It’s getting more difficult to differentiate fact from fiction.
Why is this important? Because your reputation as well as that of your organization are on the line.
Unless your purpose is to create satirical content, you don’t want to be known as being fake or “click-baity.” You’ll be seen less professional as conspiracy theorists wind up becoming your primary target audience. While this may be OK for people like Alex Jones, some of us want to be recognized as experts in our field.
What can you do to avoid being fake and create quality content?
Step 1: Always Cite Your Sources
If there is one thing that will improve your validity in any topic, cite your sources. I try to link back to any information I find valid on any blog post I create. Not only does this look good for you professionally, but it also improves search engine optimization.
See, sites like Google are also interested in quality content. This is why so many algorithms are created to make sure your content is relevant to the search term. Links play a part of that as it shows you are dedicated to providing solid information to your visitors.
Besides, citing sources demonstrates that you’re not simply pulling facts out of the air like Donald Trump. When you start quoting things that don’t really take place, people question your capacity as an expert.
For example, I could say that content marketers have no idea what kind of material is effective to engage visitors. Or, I could say according to Inc.com, 65% of marketers struggle with finding effective methods of content. Which statement do you think is more accurate?
Step 2: Verify those Sources
It’s one thing to blindly quote a source. It’s another to actually verify the claims. In fact, citing sources means nothing if the original post was based on falsehoods as well. It’s like taking to Twitter and spreading an Onion article as being factual.
The Onion is a well-known satirical news outlet purposely designed for entertainment, not news. It’s like watching Saturday Night Live believing it’s a real news cast.
If you’re quoting someone who is stating a “fact,” verify where that fact is coming from. If the post cannot cite where the information is from, it’s safe to assume that it’s fake. I know it may sound harsh, but in today’s world, it’s better than spreading information that may be grossly incorrect.
Take my health blog, for example. When I write a review about any food product, I break down it’s ingredients. Then, I research every component to verify the product will do as it claims. Except, I look for actual scientific evidence to support data instead of blog posts.
As a result, I’ve learned a lot about the components in Celestial Seasonings teas thanks to extensive research.
The point is you need to put effort into verifying your sources if you want to create quality content. Otherwise, you’ll start to be recognized as someone who spreads misinformation and become less trusted among visitors.
Step 3: Delve Deeper into Context
It’s extremely common for people online to take things out of context. This happens when only a portion of the story is told and the readers make their own assumptions. This often leads to wide-spread hate, fear and mistrust.
Here’s a great example of what I mean. The commercial to the right is one of my favorites. It’s a prime example of why you shouldn’t judge content too quickly. You may not have all the facts. Unfortunately, a lot of developers do this on purpose for the sake of ratings. A lot of so-called news services will purposely cut clips to highlight a point in the context.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, almost any story can be reviewed in greater detail. All it takes is for someone who has a few moments to spare to find the truth. In many cases, all it takes is a simple Google search of the context.
Only sharing portions of the story or otherwise omitting important facts can be very misleading. It has potential to ruin people’s lives while vastly damaging your own reputation. This is especially true in a world where social media hate fire can spread faster than on a grassy plain during a high wind.
Step 4: Get Both Sides of the Story
One of the biggest reason why I love Philip DeFranco is because he puts in the effort to get all sides of the story before presenting his opinion. Because so much damage can be done without getting all the facts, Phil demonstrates why it’s important to get both sides of the story.
One of the hardest things for many people is collecting all the facts only for the information to contradict with their beliefs. This is when parts of the context are omitted. And this is why a lot of material today is less than quality content.
In a world rife with misinformation, the last thing you want to do is blindly trust any piece of content as absolute fact. Not only does it propagate poor information, but it makes you look less reliable and less professional. As Google cracks down on issues such as these, you want to make sure you’re not going to be penalized for something you thought was accurate which only turns out to be nothing more than fear mongering.