A major survey of over 27,000 people has discovered that blogs are the least credible source of information online. Coupled with similar research on the trustworthiness of blogs, this most recent study suggests the end is nigh for blogging.
According to the study, we believe “word of mouth” over and above everything else. The TV news comes next, then online news with newspapers just a little bit behind. Blogs are way down the bottom, with only one in every ten people believing them.
So, how are you going to increase the credibility of your blog? Firstly – and this is crucial – don’t call it a blog…! You automatically enter the territory of the unbelievable if you do. Secondly, if your “blog” is in a directory on your domain called “blog” or if you link to it using a link called “blog” – change them. Perhaps call your blog “Update” or “News” or “Viewpoint” or some other name that fits with your particular sector – but whatever you do, take all steps necessary to eliminate the word “blog”.
Next, write well. One of the reasons many blogs lack credibility is that compared with online newspapers, TV news reports or printed media, they are poorly written. Often, the punctuation is poor, the grammar is bad and the spelling isn’t even checked. As the online reputation expert Andy Beal pointed out recently, even the CEO of Yahoo appears to have forgotten that sentences start with a capital letter.
Forgetting basics like this shows disrespect for your audience. No doubt he probably thought he was being hip, cool and young, by forgetting the shift key. Not so; children are still taught the essentials of grammar and are surrounded by professional media with which they engage every day and that are properly constructed. In other words, even young people expect things to be right and proper – not doing so makes them immediately think (as us oldies do too) that the material is not as professional as it could be.
If you want your “blog” to be believed, it has to be professional – not only in approach, but in writing, grammar and so on. And if you can’t do that – get an editor who can.
So, there you have it; two steps to blog credibility then – don’t call it a blog but simply write information that is professionally put together and presented. That way you will be believed. And if you follow my suggestion of the other day, you’ll be trusted as well – if you focus your information on the needs of your audience.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+