Can We Trust the Information We Read Online?
With the absolute saturation of digital information, fake news, and a misconception that nothing on the internet is real, it can be hard to know what sources can be trusted. What’s the first thing we do when we think about hiring a service or buying something? We get online and start researching.
Many blogs become outlets for personal opinions and ideologies to be shared, but blogs also serve as legitimate sources of news and information from industry experts. Since their reputation is on the line, it’s likely they are speaking truthfully about what they offer.
Even still, the question remains, can you trust every blog you read on the Internet?
When You Hear the Word “blog”, What Comes to Mind?
As digital news takes precedence over traditional news mediums, more and more people are exposed to information like never before. The internet is where the news is. It’s where information lives, and it has become a very reliable source of information for just about anything you want to know.
Business Blogs can provide:
- Customer reviews
- A window into operations
- Solutions to problems
Social Blogs can provide:
- First hand experiences
- Favorable conversations
- Emotionally connected content
But, are blogs a reliable source of information?
Yes, and no. There are some blogs on the Internet that are questionable at best. But, there are countless blogs filled with valuable information that can effectively connect you with services and products you’re looking for in a more personal and conversational way. This connection is what businesses need to increase their brand recognition and increase consumer satisfaction. Not everything we hear and see is true, and it’s the same for online information. Use your best judgement, do some research, and cross-check the facts. Fortunately, just about everybody is online, so you have a lot of information available to you.
Three Reasons to Trust Online Blogs
If you’re a business with a blog, guess what you just did? You told someone all about your products and services with in depth explanations and let them know how and why your service is a benefit. You just became a wealth of knowledge. Maybe even someone’s go-to source. Why? Because you gave up all the information we wanted to know without expecting anything in return. When consumers are researching products and services by visiting a business’ blog, it’s a trusted investment. Businesses aren’t going to provide you with false information because their reputation is on the line.
1. Blogs Can Provide Readers with Insider Information.
Many blogs are written by experts working within specific fields of interest. They use their blog to provide readers with firsthand knowledge that can help guide the decision making process. An absolute plethora of information floods around us with every click.
Businesses have nothing to gain by providing inaccurate information, so it’s likely they won’t.
2. Blogs Are Written Without Restrictions.
Industry writers typically have more freedom when choosing the types of blogs they write. They don’t have a chain of checks and re-checks before being published like online periodical pieces would have. Because of this, even the most controversial of topics are given an outlet for discussion. Plus, blogs are usually informally written, allowing readers to easily relate to the language and message. This is perfect for writers looking to provide informative web content that their target audience can connect with and act on.
3. Blogs Are Frequently Updated.
This means web sites that feature regular blog posts are providing evolving information that remains relevant and useful. Site owners don’t want their readers to be turned off by stagnant sites that rarely change, so they put significant efforts into creating interesting content that appeals to their audience. By doing so, blog writers are providing their readers with up-to-date information that is relevant to what happening in the world around them at the present time.
Three Reasons to be Skeptical of Online Blogs
1. Blogs Can be Subjective.
Unlike news pieces that are meant to give the facts only, blogs have the flexibility to include a personal slant or bias. Readers typically see this if they follow blogs centered on hot-button topics like religion, politics, or lifestyle ideologies. Should you use weed killer on your lawn or not? For every blog talking about the benefits of your lawn care options, there’s one talking about the apparent health and environmental dangers of using pesticides.
2. Blogs can be inaccurate.
Because there isn’t usually an accountability structure in place for fact checking and monitoring, blogs can easily feature outdated statistics or facts that readers are unaware of. And worse yet, some bloggers provide readers with content that is just inaccurate. Unfortunately, if their readers aren’t discerning and opt for a little fact checking of their own, they can be easily convinced by false information.
3. Blogs Are Written Without Restrictions.
I know what you’re thinking…this was discussed above and noted as a reason to trust the information from a blog, but it can be a detriment as well. Without restrictions, blogs can do their best to sway your decision making process, and even make heavy-handed claims. Of course the blog you’re visiting is the one that has all of the best information because they want you to believe they have all the answers. It’s in your best interest to cross reference the information you have to gain the most knowledge on the subject you’re interested in learning more about.
As a business, it can be difficult to know whether or not your readers will trust the information they find in the blogs you create. A simple way to help build a foundation of trust with your audience is to be transparent about your business or organization. What is your history? Your industry credentials? Do you provide links with statistical information for your readers to further study? Give your readers a reason to trust that you’re providing them with helpful, relevant, truthful information that they can truly benefit from. Now, that’s successful marketing.