Why you need to check your sources

Cite your sourcesI know, it’s boring to go out and validate that Wikipedia page or tweet, but it’s crucial to ensuring your content is correct.

More importantly, because I know you aren’t convinced I came up with a list of reasons why you need to care.

  1. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing: Just because they are getting their content from a meme, doesn’t mean you should. (See your memory of your mom asking you about the bridge)
  2. It’s your reputation: I get that thousands of content producers out there are producing more stuff faster than you, but they don’t have to answer for the wrong content to your followers. You do
  3. Nobody else is doing it: That means that the volume of incorrect content floating around is getting higher everyday. If you do just a little bit of research, your chances of becoming a credible source go up immensely. Suddenly your well researched and cited articles will gain momentum and you are the accepted expert.
  4. Bad content spreads quickly: Incorrect content can easily be shared across the internet in minutes. More often than not before you realise a mistake, your content has already been seen by hundreds, if not thousands of readers. The magic of our ability to share is also a responsibility to those who follow us.
  5. The internet is a place where people will relish in your error: Trolls are everywhere and the likelihood that someone will see and make note of your mistake is high. They also are likely not to be very nice about telling you about your error.
  6. Someday you may want to go back to school: Executive programs follow high levels of ethical standards, reviews, and checks against the content that you produce. Being in the habit of giving original sources credit and double checking that you have your facts right will never be time that is lost
  7. It saves you time later: When those trolls jump all over you and tell you what you have done wrong, you will need to rewrite your post anyway. Doing a good job now will save you time in the long run that you can use to create NEW posts.

So, I get it. This is a boring topic that none of us want to do, but we need to take responsibility as creators and push high quality information out to the universe. Next time you write a post take 10 seconds to Google that quote to see if it really was said by the author you are quoting.

Detailed Product Content Solves First World Problems

How can detailed product data help you with regular tasks?

I have a friend who often comments on her “First World Problems” traditionally via social media, but occasionally over a beer if you ask nicely.  At first I had a giggle at the “will my ipad fit in that handbag?” question, but shortly after heckling I realised that it was a question I would ask.

As a loyal online consumer I am looking for detailed information about every product I purchase.  I want to know so much more than just the size and colour.

On the topic of colour: PLEASE add a swatch of the colour zoomed in and in high resolution so that I don’t make a commitment to chocolate and discover cowpie when the courier arrives.

Please give every FUN name of a size or colour it’s generic equivalent: I dislike discovering that your version of creme brulee is actually my version of brown and not the beige that appeared to render on my screen.

Please add DETAILS.  I understand, details cost money when you are talking about product content.  It takes more time to collect it, more time to key it, more cost to hold the data in the larger databases required.

More data costs more up front.  I understand that.  It is my business to know and understand that.  What most retailers, business people, and consumers don’t understand is that less data costs exponentially more. It may not be a staffing or outsourcing cost that you can see on your P & L, but it is there none the less.

When you don’t have enough information I leave your page.  If I really want the item I may ask Google if someone else can answer my detailed question of will my ipad fit in this fill in the blank branded bag.  If Google tells me the answer to my question, I may buy it from the site that gave me the information, or on a very unlikely note I may switch back to the window that I left when you couldn’t tell me the answers. That is of course, assuming I didn’t just close it out of frustration.

I think of surfing and online shopping as a test of loyalty every time I type in a query.  If today Travelocity offers me information that Expedia doesn’t, the odds are high that I will start at Travelocity next time.
It doesn’t matter how many brands have worse content than you. It matters that you didn’t have the content I cared about today and that may lose you my business.
The savings you make by not spending time adding attributes, images, and copy to your product content will be lost exponentially with the sales you WON’T make because customers don’t convert.

They will go to a site where someone cares enough to give them detailed dimensions of the inside of the handbag, or better yet, they will find a site that has taken the time to create a Yes/No attribute for “holds a tablet”.