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.

There’s No Swearing in “Good” Content (but maybe there should be)

I love content.  I am the first person to credit a site that finds that perfect balance of words and images for their brand.  That being said, I think too many of the little guys are afraid of really shouting out what makes them special and instead sound like a dirty little brother of the big sites.

Unfortunately they don’t have the budgets that big brands have for SEM and digital marketing so they find themselves on page 4 of the search results because while their content sounds just like everyone else, their site has less links and credibilty.

While the socially acceptable way to approach both product and site content is to think about telling the customer your story while weaving in responsible SEO and deep links; is that the best way to address every brand?

Some pretty successful small/medium businesses make their brand by specifically being clear and concise in their copy.  Sometimes that means the use of words or phrases that a lot of us shy away from.

A great example of this use of light profanity comes in some great blogger/web/copywriting talents likeRedheaded Writing and The Middle Finger Project.

Their specialties are not just about helping your brand sell its stuff, but also about defining a voice for your brand.  If your brand is “The Shit!” and you are afraid to tell people you risk becoming another bland voice in an ocean of bland voices.

I understand that most big corporations need to focus on their voice and their customers expectations, but if you are a small or medium business that is designed as clever and cheeky don’t be afraid to use a bit of real language to get your message out there.

Translate your passion about your level of awesome in your content.

Differentiate yourself and define your own online voice.  Don’t let the big guys define you.

I can tell you I am personally more likely to click on a link claiming that this widget is “the best fucking widget on the planet!” before I click through to another beige sounding widget.