Rules to Follow in Writing Articles for Your Blog or Website
Writing informative and engaging articles for your blog or website is the right way to attract visitors and increase your site traffic. This is all well and good, especially for your marketing campaigns. But are you adhering to the rules to ensure you’re maintaining journalistic integrity?
You may be thinking how online business promotion and advertising is related to abiding by journalism ethics and standards. One thing you should keep in mind is whatever you write is still subject to criticism, whether your articles are published in traditional or modern media. Tony Burman, former editor-in-chief of the CBC News, declared that “Every [news] organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.” This still applies to all types of web content, except the literary and scientific articles.
Everything we publish on the net is subject to scrutiny. Many people have the tendency to believe whatever they read without questioning the source. This poses harmful consequences for them, especially if the writer has slanderous or malicious intent. When we apply this to marketing, writers are prohibited from exaggerating the effectiveness of a product or service in providing a desired outcome. Overblown claims are not tolerated, as these can mislead customers and make them believe that using a certain product will cause the anticipated effect.
This is particularly true for beauty products like whitening or tanning creams and lotions. Advertisements for these goods cannot say that “Product X can make you change your complexion in less than 7 days. Try our product because with Product X, you’ll look beautiful every time you use it.” This makes it important for all businesses to be careful in saying how their products will affect customers and meet their needs.
Almost all articles follow some form of guiding principles. A written marketing piece should be creative and clever enough to draw attention and attract interest without giving the wrong impression to consumers. According to Joe Chernov, Content Marketing Vice President for Eloqua, there are rules to follow to make sure you’re providing truthful and accurate content:
1. Fact should win over opinion.
Stated opinions without facts to serve as backup are not truthful. This is because opinions are sometimes biased or prejudiced against a certain idea. There should be statistics, data research or quotes from experts to support your statements.
2. Have a reference for every point you want to make.
You should have a source for all the main points and claims you make in your article. Quoting sources provides your article with more credibility and makes it less likely to be challenged. Listing your sources also helps you remember where you found the information and assemble an unassailable defense for your stated opinions.
3. Clarify everything with your sources.
Looking for quotable sources can be difficult, especially if your reference does not want to be cited for some statements. When writing your articles, make sure you find some other references you can use as a foundation for your assertions.
4. Look for a different viewpoint.
It is easy to get lost in an issue if you isolate yourself on only one side of the matter. Seek the opposite side of the argument to get a feel of things and know what the big picture looks like. Being familiar with how the other side will compose their argument will make it easier to frame your arguments for the side you’ll support.
5. Append a byline for your sources.
Always look for the originator of your source documents to ensure you’re crediting the right person for the information you want to cite in your article. A byline can include some facts about the writers’ current occupation and activities to establish how they became experts in their respective fields.
6. Minimize jargon.
Readers can find it hard to stick to an article that has many technical terms they cannot easily understand. Lessen the instances when you have to write down something that would sound too technical to your readers. Make your piece easily comprehensible so they will continue reading and not be alienated.