Adding credibility to your corporate blog post is a simple thing to do and goes a long way to help your reader understand and confirm your claims. You just need to know what to avoid and look to the right sources.
Adding credibility to your blog is essential when you are new on the market and need to bolster your claim or support your value statement. Large companies who have well established track records can support their own claims. For the rest of us; we need to look to third-party testimony to add credibility and assure our audience that we know what we’re talking about.
The idea of adding credibility with excerpts, quotes and statistics has been around for a long time. You see this all the time in more traditional media like TV, radio and print. You’ll no doubt remember watching a late night TV commercial with a familiar celebrity extolling the virtues of a new exercise machine or remarkable new insurance plan. And you probably remember that 4-out-of-5 dentists recommend a specific kind of toothpaste, or that 9-out-of-10 doctors recommend a particular pill to cure your headache.
Adding quotes to your blog post can go a long way to demonstrate to your readers that you are credible, especially when the quotes are from a reliable source. But remember that one person’s reliable source is another person’s quack. You’ll need to pay special attention to your audience and understand their level of understanding and the level of product sophistication. You won’t want to quote the baker down the street to support the safety of that new nuclear power plant, and it doesn’t do you any good to quote the guy who claims to have been probed by alien visitors. Practice some scrutiny when looking for quotes and make sure they are relevant to the subject and from a reliable, well respected source.
Including an excerpt is also a great way to add some credibility to your claim. The rule of thumb here is similar; mind the credibility of the source and watch for quackery. Excerpting an encyclopedia entry or research article is an excellent addition to your blog, so long as you are sure to maintain the original context and include enough to assure your readers that you are not cherry-picking.
Statistics are also a great help when you are communicating efficacy or adoption or some other measurable metric. As with the others, the source of your material will ultimately come under scrutiny, so it makes sense to include statistics from scrupulous sources such as colleges and university studies, or studies performed by established research firms who have a reputation to protect.
With each of these methods, watch for the pitfalls of adding someone else’s words to support your own; when we include excerpts, quotes or statistics we open the door to logical fallacies, and these can work against you if they are not understood. Building a ‘straw man’, ‘begging the question’ or hopping on the bandwagon are the more common logical fallacies that crop up in marketing efforts that can erode credibility in the long run. It makes good sense to understand logical fallacies as you begin to add supporting information to your blog.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to add a quick note about permissions. For the most part, including an excerpt, quote or research results in your blog are absolutely permissible so long as you include a source reference and include content that is agreeable to your position. In some cases you will run into information that is licensed or that requires permission before use. In these cases, be sure to apply for permission in the appropriate manner; doing so will increase your credibility and work to instill confidence in your readership.
Building credibility often requires the inclusion of a third-party voice to assure your readers that they can trust your information. Adding excerpts, quotes and statistics is a great way to build credibility and establish trust. Just be careful to vet your sources, avoid logical fallacies be honest with the information you include. Misusing supportive information can backfire, and recovery from failure is always harder than doing it right from the start.
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