Happy New Year! There is a lot of misinformation that floats around the internet on a daily basis. We are bombarded every day with news and enough information to make our heads explode. Look at politicians - enough said. The term "credible source" is almost an oxymoron these days. How credible are these sources that are quoted in articles and on blog posts? Are they really who they say they are? Can you trust them with the information they share - are they really an expert in their field and know what they're talking about?
It's important to verify your sources before you even interview them - it will help save you a lot of time and energy. Follow these steps below:
1. Before you interview a source, conduct research first. If something doesn't pan out with your source, you might want to skip the interview. Dig through their social media and website. Is the person a published author or have been published in industry journals or publications? Do they teach classes or webinars on their area of expertise? Do they write articles or scholarly papers?
2. An "expert" isn't always the CEO or PR director of the company. If you want the real scoop, interview their customers or other outside vendors or sub-contractors who work with them. CEOs and owners like to paint a rosy picture and are usually well-groomed by their PR department as to what to say and not to say during interviews.
3. Dig around for a resume/CV (LinkedIn is a great way to check out someone's professional background). Review their bios and past job experience.
4. When in doubt, search online and see what pops up under their name. Do they have a shady past? Do they owe money to the IRS? If their background seems questionable, you might want to find someone else to interview. Your reputation could also be on the line if you quote a source with an unsavory past.
5. Was this person interviewed by other journalists or bloggers? Look for other articles where your source was quoted. What did he or she say? If you have further questions, contact the writer and ask follow-up questions before setting up the interview.
Check out more interview tips - learn how to turn your guest interviews into valuable content on your blog or website.