When it comes to facts and claims, the internet is the Wild Wild West. For content marketing in most industries, there’s no governing body that’s checking if your information is actual and factual. This leads a lot of people into thinking that “it’s just a blog,” and that the facts don’t matter.
But in the age of “fake news,” it’s especially important to get the facts right. And if you think it’s just a blog, you’re kidding yourself. If creating digital content didn’t have a large impact for your brand, you wouldn’t be doing it. When you get the facts wrong, it takes away from your content — like, a lot. Here’s why:
It discredits your content
Digital content marketing — whether it takes the form of a home blog, guest post on an outside website, weekly newsletter, research report, webinar, or podcast — should establish you and your brand as experts. It should show that when it comes to your industry and service, you know what you’re talking about.
Let’s pretend you’re reading a long-form blog post on increasing leads in your first year of business. The author quotes a prominent business leader, but in the comments, the quoted expert says he never made that statement and the quote is attributed to another leader in the space. Yikes.
It’s an embarrassing mistake and it hurts the content. If your information is incorrect, you lose credibility. Your words won’t carry as much weight. And, to be blunt, mistakes reflect poorly on your brand. Readers will question if you’re really a leader in the space and may look elsewhere for information and advice they find more reliable.
It destroys trust
At best, inaccurate or misleading information in your digital content is embarrassing and takes away from your credibility. At worst, you lose trust with your audience (aka customers and potential customers) as they think you intentionally deceived them.
Let’s pretend you’re reading that same long-form blog post on increasing leads. Throughout the post, the author cites a research report. The report findings are interesting and you want to read the rest of it, so you click the link. It directs you to a report from 2012.
The 2012 report supports the blog’s claim that using an online tool — like the one the company offers — is the top way to grow leads. However, you notice there’s a current report available and the most recent results show social media to be the top resource.
You would think the company “lied,” intentionally using the old report just to make a sale. The same is true for your audience.
Misleading or inaccurate information — especially when it’s about how great your company and services are or about the cons of the competition — will destroy trust with your readership. They will no longer see your content as a helpful resource, but instead, as just another example of internet clickbait — an ad in disguise. And when readers stop trusting you, that’s game over.
It hurts the overall goal of digital content
Aside from reflecting poorly on your brand, misleading and inaccurate digital content is counterproductive. Content marketing should both help the audience, giving them the useful content they’re looking for and promote your brand. Providing false information does neither.
Let’s go back to that long-form post. The data is misleading, the quotes are attributed to the wrong person, and on top of that, links used throughout the post are broken. Would you find much value in the post? Probably not — you’d probably be a little annoyed you wasted your time reading it.
When your information is wrong, it doesn’t help readers. It’s not valuable. Misleading information isn’t helpful — and there’s a ton of it out there. Readers are good at spotting and avoiding this type of content because it’s useless to them. Quality is still important for digital content. You want your content to stand out from the multitude of garbage blogs