Last year, we saw the prevalence of fake news vastly shared via social media. There have been rampant sharing of fake news camouflaged as a legit website. But even if these websites turned out to be fake (or sometimes satire), the damage has already been done. It was too late to retract such rumors as it had already been perceived by individuals as the truth. Because of this, marketers have been faced with the problem of having to deal with the effects of fake news. As for the readers, they’re left struggling with distinguishing the difference between fake news and bad news.
The truth is, fake news has always been around. The only reason we’re dealing with it right now is because there has been a sudden spike in the number of stories that were either partially untrue or meant to mislead the readers. This has been pretty evident in the recently concluded Presidential elections, as things got heated and led to the exchange of harsh words amongst friends and family members on social media.
Thankfully, both Facebook and Google have become alarmed by the prevalence of fake news. This prompted them to announce their plans of tracking down stories that were of such nature. But how does it affect content marketing? How do you even determine whether a story is fake or not? Let’s look at things deeper.
How to Identify Fake News
According to FactCheck.org, it doesn’t take a genius to determine fake news. Here are some of the things to look out for:
- Source Credibility. One of the easiest ways to determine whether or not you’re reading legit news is to look at the URL of the page you’re reading. Try to remember the real URL names and extensions of the legit websites. Simple things like using ‘z’ instead of ‘s’ in ‘news’ can already tick you off. And of course, the extension of the domain is usually in ‘.com’ instead of ‘.website.’ or ‘.com.co.’ Remember, these websites were meant to mislead its readers into thinking they are reading something from a trustworthy news network.
- Go Beyond the Headline. Most of the time, these websites attract readers by using clickbait titles that are sure to catch your attention. Before you believe the headline, make it a point to read the entire article. Don’t stop at the headline.
- Look for Quoted Sources. You should also check whether or not the article is linking to another questionable website. This is because there are tons of fake news websites that link to one another. As much as possible, check that the source of the article is a real government website or another credible publication.
- Check the Author’s Name. Take a look at the name of the author. If there is a name attached to the article, you can perform a quick search to tell you how credible that person is.
So How Does This Affect Content Marketing?
Fake news does not only affect those in content marketing, but everyone in the field of journalism. It creates a bad image for authors, writers, and editors. As a content marketer, it could also hurt your campaign as it could destroy your readers’ trust in the things they find online.
The best way you can combat this is to make sure every content you publish on your website has been fact-checked and verified. If you have any stories to pitch, make sure to do this with reputable reporters and media outlets. This is the best way you can fight against fake news.