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Blog Posts Honesty Is The Best Policy
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By now, you're probably aware that blog posts are a great marketing tool and a way to keep your customers and regular readers abreast of what's happening inside your company. However, a recent report from the San Francisco Gate shows just what can happen when bloggers decide to practice dishonest blogging. The story illustrates that not even big-name companies like Twitter are immune.
According to the newspaper, Twitter posted a blog in late July designed to market its new ad platform. As part of the blog, they presented a graphical image depicting a screen-shot complete with alleged tweets from three of their registered users. What was the problem? The tweets were completely made up.
Unfortunately, the blogger who put together the post did not have the common sense to create fake account names and images to go along with the fake tweets. When the real account holders saw their names attached to the tweets they made it known the blog was disingenuous.
Twitter issued a short, 12-word apology explaining the company was sorry for the confusion and was working to rectify the problem. They rectified it by replacing the screen-shot with the new one. However, it turns out the new screen-shot is exactly the same except that the account names have been changed to those of company employees.
Blogging with Integrity
If Twitter is willing to be dishonest with its blog AND willing to post a screen-shot that so openly reveals that dishonesty, what does it say about corporate blogging as a whole? It causes me to wonder whether dishonesty runs rampant in the corporate blogosphere or not. I certainly hope not.
As a professional writer, I take great pride in the material I put together for all of my clients, regardless of their size or commercial scope. I do my utmost to make sure every blog post I write is done with integrity, honesty, and the highest measure of research. Although sometimes I do get it wrong, I never do so intentionally.
The problem with not practising integrity in blogging comes by way of being found out. Twitter is unlikely to suffer due to the sheer size of their user base. But the small business found blogging dishonestly could suffer significant damage by way of lost customers and a diminished reputation. Is it worth it? I suggest not.
If you use blogging as a marketing tool for your business, it's good to follow some basic guidelines:
Facts and Figures - Do not ever make up facts or figures. Furthermore, be prepared to document any facts and figures you do use with appropriate resources. Facts and figures work well as long as they can be backed up with reputable reference material.
Case Studies - If you are prone to using case studies in your blog posts, be sure they are genuine. Once again, do not make things up. Don't even stretch the truth when you're referencing genuine studies. Case studies are easily disproved if they are disingenuous or outright false. Using disingenuous case studies is a great way to destroy your online reputation.
Proper Research - For anything other than a pure opinion piece, proper research is the centrepiece of any blog post. People are interested in what you have to say only if what you said is backed up by research. Opinion pieces do not sell; factual, well-researched material does.
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