Creating interesting and unique content that excites your core market is essential to business growth, especially if you complement it with an inbound model that attracts the right targeted traffic and introduces quality leads to your sales process.
Content, though, appears to be at something of a crossroads. Fake news is (apparently) everywhere, interfering with international elections and misleading millions of people. So much so that Facebook has gone as far as publishing adverts in newspapers to show people how to spot malicious stories.
Listen to the media and it’s an endemic. So why bring it up? Because we’ve come across a lot of small businesses lately who believe that fake news will impact their content creation efforts; that people won’t bother reading the things they write and that their content will get swallowed up in a sea of fake stories.
Legitimate worries maybe, but it’s important that you don’t overblow the spread of fake news which, without any specific data pointing to it, may be as fake as the fake news stories themselves.
The reasons why fake news is spreading online
‘Fake news’, though it does exist, is fast becoming a catchphrase designed to instantly dismiss people you don’t agree with. It’s fair to say that it was coined during now-president Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House and typically revolved around personal attacks that he wished to bat away.
Only, fake news has been around for longer than that. It used to be called propaganda, but before it was called fake news a lot of disgruntled web users had a different name for it: clickbait.
We wrote an article about it in 2015 when we saw a link to a story that suggested Jim Carrey was a killer. Fake news at its finest…
Even back then small businesses were worried about clickbait and the impact it had on the content they produced. It’s easy to see why; clickbait and fake news relies on:
Outlandish stories: Writing or pushing a narrative that has very little basis in reality and is completely unsourced and, typically, false.
Social targeting: A lot of marketers and outlets have seen huge amounts of traffic visiting their sites thanks to clever search and social retargeting.
Flimsy headlines: The real power of clickbait is the incentive-led headlines that give little away and play on people’s emotions to get a click.
Small businesses can get ahead of fake news stories
It’s easy to see why small business owners can be disheartened when they see frankly crap content at the bottom of stories on national news websites and across social media. How can they possibly compete?
Quite easily really, which is why the most important step as a small business owner looking to grow through content marketing isn’t to overthink the fake news phenomenon.
People aren’t stupid and need to be given a lot more credit when it comes to spotting fake news. Even if they’re tempted to click an article to read it, the empty feeling of dissatisfaction sticks and discourages them from falling for the trap again.
A lot of media agencies are using fake news to push new creative campaigns too to help underline their authority when it comes to publishing thoughtful news and other content.
Technology is also evolving to combat the problem with larger companies coming together to fight the fake news scourge. Storyful for instance has recently teamed up with analytics firm Moat to create a database that promises to track and filter out fake news.
3 ways to create effective content boosts your overall authority
There are things you can be doing right now as a small business owner to boost the authority of your content, cement it as a trustworthy source and share it amongst the people who matter most to your business:
1: Creating local content and accrediting your sources
Creating local content that helps you attract the interest of your local community or gives you a stronger voice in your industry needs to be unique and original. Copying and pasting articles don’t give people a new perspective on a story or show off your industry expertise.
Instead interview local people, get information from local sources, explore your community and industry and take original photography where possible. If you’re writing about an industry event or story explore as many approaches to it as possible, ascertain whether the source is trustworthy and always be sure to link back to where you originally found the material.
2: Paid social media to reach the people who matter
You’ll stand a greater chance of getting your content out to the right people who are more likely to help grow your small business in the long-term if you take the time to research your target market, its likes and dislikes, demographics and more to target those people through paid social media.
Exploring where your target market spends its time online is also key to reaching out to them. With the majority of social media platforms allowing you to reach out to people on a deeply personal level, you can build a creative content campaign that reaches out to them and builds trust.
One of the real annoyances with fake news and clickbait stories is that they aren’t consistent. Rarely will you visit the same website twice when clicking on a fake news story, which is part of the reason why it’s hard to pin down clickbait perpetrators.
Posting regular, original creative content on your website and promoting it to the right people on a consistent basis on the right targeted social channels will not only help to increase your traffic and the amount of high-quality relevant leads, but great content coming from the same place will distance your brand as far from fake news as possible and build a huge amount of brand authority.
If you’d like to know more about the power of content marketing and how combining it with social media and an inbound strategy can boost the quality of your leads contact a Webpresence specialist today.