Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Your Content Needs Hard Facts

There is a reason why journalism students are taught the five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. These five Ws glean “facts” associated with the story -- who was involved in the story/situation, what happened, where it took place, when did it happen, and why did it happen. It’s acceptable to add your personal angle or slant to your content, but remember that hard facts lend more credibility (especially if you are new to publishing content online). 

Hard facts can be gathered from white papers, reports, market and scientific research, and educational research, theses, dissertations, etc. If you interview and quote industry experts, make sure they have the credibility and expertise to back up their claims and research. The last thing you want to do is quote John Smith who has a class action lawsuit against him…which you find out AFTER you have quoted him in your article. Quotes should come from reliable, trustworthy sources. Do your homework; dig deeper into your sources' background and credentials. It is your reputation on the line so make sure you protect it accordingly.

If you interview an expert, ask them to look over your Q&A or verify their answers before you publish their content. If you misquote or include wrong information, it’s easy to edit your blog post and/or write a simple retraction apologizing for the misquote.

As a copywriter, research is a huge part of my job – writing copy is actually the easy part. I try to include reliable stats and data throughout my content. Your audience wants to see content backed up with actual proof and facts. You don’t need to bombard your audience with data and research every time. But a well-researched factoid thrown into the mix every now and then won’t hurt your content either.

Helpful research tip: if you are pressed for time, use Google Alerts to set up keywords and news feeds - Google does the research for you. Google Alerts allow you to pick and choose the information that catches your eye...AND saves you a lot of time and energy since the information is delivered straight to your in-box. 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice! I try to get at least two sources into all my articles. And yes, I do my work to check them out as well!


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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