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3 Steps to Ensure 'Fake News' Doesn't Hurt Your Business

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The significance of a good content strategy to your business’ digital marketing and sales efforts is well understood. But how much damage can bad content do to your brand?

The answer: More than you likely realize.

It’s safe to say none of us have experienced the politicization of content the way it’s currently gripping our country (and beyond). “Fake news” has quickly become the de facto term for delegitimizing any content deemed contrary to one’s beliefs, regardless of the veracity of the content in question.

And while much of the #fakenews furor is centered on content produced by traditional and nontraditional news organizations, the ramifications should be understood by all business owners — and particularly those who rely on good content to help deliver their brand and marketing messagesacross a variety of digital platforms.

Follow these steps to make sure your business doesn’t find itself scrambling to undo a poor content decision:

  1. Stay on brand and on message. Whatever your personal feelings about current politics, sports, social issues, etc., be very wary of interjecting them into your business’ marketing efforts. The content you create, curate or link to should have a direct tie to your business and value proposition. If political issues do directly relate to your business or industry (see what’s happening in Utah with public lands issues and the outdoor industry), or if you feel strongly about taking a political or social stand on behalf of your business, do so with eyes wide open and only after careful consideration of the potential ramifications — positive and negative.

  2. Be skeptical. Always. Social media has made it easier than ever to find and share content with friends, family, coworkers and customers. One of the trade-offs is that misleading or inaccurate content is harder to recognize. As information consumers in the digital age, we’ve been trained to recognize a webpage with a headline, a byline, a photograph, and a couple hundred words of text as legitimate, fact-based content. That’s no longer the case. Before sharing any content on behalf of your business, carefully consider the website from which the information originates (have you heard of it before?), the sources (or lack thereof) contained within an article, and any other potential red flags (misspellings, bad grammar, etc.). Is the content authored or sponsored by an industry trade organization or other special interests that could present certain biases or inaccuracies? When in doubt, find another piece of content.

  3. Rely on what (and who) you know. The biggest backstop to preventing a bad content decision should be your own expertise in your business and industry. Tapping into a network of fellow business owners, industry insiders and trade groups can go a long way toward debunking inaccurate content related to your line of work.

Do you have any steps to add to the list? Care to share any good, or bad, experiences you’ve had with misleading content as it relates to your business or industry? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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Brent Boyer

Written by Brent Boyer

Brent is a writer, editor and content strategist with more than a decade of editorial leadership under his belt. When not working, Brent loves spending time with his wife and two young daughters as well as snowboarding, running, biking and fly-fishing.

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