Are you credible? And by that I mean: is your content trustworthy?
If not, your brand’s credibility is sure to suffer.
As a writer and editor, I’ve learned that backing up your content with sources is essential. But it’s not enough to just use any source – credible sources are the backbone to creating trustworthiness.
This coincides with a recent study conducted by Kentico Software, which reported that on average, 49 percent of readers check an article’s fact(s) with other sources. If they cannot verify the content’s claims, 46 percent of the readers will lose trust in said content.
Let’s face it. The last thing you want your audience to say after reading your content is, “Why would I ever believe you?” But what makes a credible source, well, credible? Here are a few reliable indicators:
Publication Site: Where you source can help determine credibility. Columbia University recommends looking at universities and other institutions first, as they are less likely to show bias than a commercial site. Also, make sure that you’re looking at the original source. Though your sister’s neighbor’s boyfriend’s dog walker might provide great insight, information might be lost in translation.
Author: The author should always be identifiable, and preferably have background experience in the topic at hand.
Publication Date: Even the most credible article written by an esteemed professional can lose credibility if it was published in 1994. Columbia College recommends searching for articles on the same topic to get a better picture of how relevant the older article is today.
Objectivity: A great source will remain staunchly objective. If a source presents data in their content, it should be verifiable elsewhere.
Footnotes & References: Even the best sources will provide a list of sources. Links to other trusted sources can only enhance credibility.
Keep in mind that the above list is just a set of guidelines. A source can still be credible without fitting into the categories above. The same goes for a bad source, which can fit some of the above qualifications while still being spotty. A credible source is not made to be “one size fits all.”
But even if you can identify a credible source, how do you go about finding it? Here are some ways to decipher a good source from a fishy one:
Domain: The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay suggests being cautious when looking for information on a .com, .org or .net, as these are available for purchase by almost anyone. This is not to say that every website with one of these domains is untrustworthy. Just approach these websites with an understanding that they may contain some bias. As a general rule of thumb, .edu and .gov sites are almost always okay, while user-generated sites are not.
Also note that .com sites are typically considered for-profit and should be considered as such when evaluating whether it can be used. Conversely, .org sites are almost always non-profit organizations.
Site Design: No one wants to read a messy site. Though a subjective credibility gauge, a messy site design indicates a lack of professionalism.
Spelling: According to Content Marketing Institute, if a reader finds typos, factual errors and inconsistencies, they are much more likely to question and verify the content. Typos and other errors make work look unprofessional.
Credibility is key to successful content marketing. Did you know that completely ignoring your brand is another way to boost your credibility with consumers? Or how about the fact that millennials think you’re trying way too hard?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Bolster Credibility In Content Marketing
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