Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ve probably heard about and potentially sick of the drama surrounding fake news. Spin stories, exaggerated truths and sensationalism, fake news isn’t a new phenomenon, for decades content creators have been creating less than authentic content in order to get more traffic and views.
With more and more platforms available for articles to be shared and with social media platforms, news websites, blogs and even Youtube aiding the spread of content, it’s not surprising that fake news and unreliable news sources are becoming more of a problem and people are becoming more aware of it.
But what does fake news teach us about the current state of content marketing and what can marketers and content creators do about fake news?
What Is Fake News?
Fake news is exactly what it sounds like, they are the sources and articles that share inaccurate or intentionally wrong content that could mislead people, under the guise of being professional, factual content. The online spread of content has had a huge impact on the opinions that many average people have, discrediting those who are writing accurate and factual content as well as sharing information that isn’t correct.
Fake news has created a number of new problems for audiences, content creators, marketers, publishers and even the likes of Facebook and Google. If you’re looking to create authentic, reliable content that your audience will enjoy, without falling into the trap of creating fake or exaggerated content, here’s what we can learn from this phenomenon and how you can avoid getting too caught up in the newest tactics.
Avoid Unbranded Content
There are still plenty of brands out there who continue to share content or even create content on unbranded platforms and microsites, offering no disclosure at all. While this information might be completely correct if you’re sending people to an unbranded site, this content could be seen as less reliable then if you sent people to a reliable, branded source. These days consumers are looking to scrutinise sites even more, so don’t trick people, brand your content and send people to a site you’re proud of.
Deliver On Your Promises
One of the quickest ways you can lose trust with your audience is by creating the perfect compelling, clickbait headline and then following it up with content that just doesn’t match up with it. You need to deliver on your promises, if you’ve said you’re going to talk about one thing then talk about it, you’ve promoted it as one topic, you need to keep it related to that topic. By failing to deliver on your promises, you can drive people away, making your content look unprofessional and like you only care about sharing false information.
Acknowledge Your Opinion
There’s nothing wrong with sharing your opinion online, providing you do so in a respectful way, understanding that maybe not everyone will agree. However you should never need to try and pass off your own opinion as fact, instead own your opinion and tell people exactly that it’s yours and offer a valid discussion or share some of your insights. Sharing your opinion allows audience to think about what you’ve written and pondering it, rather than taking your personal opinion, which may not always be right, as gospel, which could be misleading.
Practise Good Reporting
In order to produce good content you need to be good at reporting, using the best practises and while content marketing isn’t exactly journalism, you still need to think about using professional practises in order to gain trust and create great content. By using reliable sources, citing where you found the information and not just making stuff up as you go along, you can automatically create much more reliable and credible content.
Content is powerful and it’s important you get it correct meaning your information is accurate, high quality and reflects both fact and the message of your company. Sensationalising your content may seem like an effective way to increase interest in your brand and the content you produce, but it can cause issues and with the increasing scrutiny of sharing incorrect, false or exaggerated content you don’t want to get noticed for all the wrong reasons.