If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll have heard the reports on how the US election has accelerated the circulation of fake news.
Since then, there’s been a continued focus on social media’s part in the fake news industry, and how it affects the way people consume news. We can guess you’ve been at a party where someone’s outlandish story claim has led to a quick Google and, yep, an outed fake news story.
As content creators and journalists will know, this isn’t just changing how we take in news but also how we create it. As a result of fake news, there are a few best practices you should probably keep to if you want to prove to your audience that your content is genuine and worth reading.
Of course, the first step to building a loyal readership that trust your stories is to tell the truth. Journalists are trained to tell the most interesting version of the truth, and while this can sometimes seem a grey area, there are some rules to stick by to ensure you do the same.
Don’t embellish the truth at all, if you can. Adding to make a story more ‘colourful’ can seem like a good idea to stand out amongst the streams of other small business blogs, but you can easily lose touch with your readership if things get out of hand.
Back up your claims
If you do make a claim that some may question, make sure you are able to back it up with evidence of an original source. It might be unlikely that anyone will question it, but there is always a slim chance, and not addressing the issue will do more harm than good.
Having the original sources to hand (or even better, linked to in the article) will make your blog immediately seem more trustworthy, making your readers more likely to stay. It will also give your blog more authority.
Get industry insights
If you’re a content writer for a business, it could be worth heading to the company director for some direct quotations. This kind of authority in an article isn’t just good for your website traffic, it’s great for showing that you’ve done your research. After all, if your company director has gone to the trouble to comment on the piece, the chance is it’s pretty genuine!
If you don’t have a director to go to, you can use quotations from press releases, or if you have the time you can even contact the source and ask for a soundbite.
Is your social media news feed plagued by fake news stories that are damaging how your own content is viewed? Leave us a comment in the section below and share your experiences of fake news.