How Fake is Your News? How to Create Topics for Conversation Between You and Your Customers

5

DECEMBER 2016

Some business will do anything to get attention. Even to the point of creating whatever kind of news. You think no news is good? To them, no news is bad for business. It’s now easy to create your own website and hire a content marketing provider. Any novice user with little website acumen can come up with a stunning site filled with anything including fake news. Those unscrupulous web designer masters are only out to get rich. They will concoct the most controversial, fabricated and fictitious news articles even if it crosses the lines of human rights, family values and morality. The sad part is that the articles pass of as true and is shared on social media very quickly.

So how fake is that news you’re reading? If you look closely and use a little common sense (and not too much emotion), it’s easy to spot.

The domain name looks suspicious

Some domain names look legit and are easy to pass of as the reputable news sites like nbc.com.co or abcnew.com.co with the extra .co in the end, with no affiliation whatsoever with NBC or ABC. If you’re not looking at domains, you will believe it. If you’re very informed, you would believe in one article stating Obama will run for a 3rd term which is unconstitutional. But what if you didn’t know that? Go to the NBC or CNN site to see if they’re headlining this, too. Fact checking sites like Snopes are a big help but sometimes, they’re a little too late and the news has spread so far it’s hard to clean it up.

They use satire

The US elections just ended and the results are in. Some say the proliferation of fake news had, in one way or another, a significant role in determining the outcome. Months leading up to the elections saw many websites created to grab the readers’ attention with fake news about the candidates. That’s all they provided. There’s no limit to what news they came up with, who they targeted (they spared no one), and the consequences of their articles – as long as it got viral. Many of these are fiction or satire and will fool the readers into thinking they are true. If you can’t tell if the news is satire since the writing is that good, look for a disclaimer at the bottom of the site.

It’s an Accusation

There is such a thing as evidence-based reporting. If the story talks more about the accusation rather than giving proof that accusation is true, then it is likely to be false. So if the story of Trump accusing Obama to be a founding member of ISIS doesn’t give and hard evidence, then don’t believe it.

They play on your emotions

Some stories are so tabloid they sound ridiculous but will make people rethink if there may be a hint of truth in it. Stories that play on our emotions will do this to us like headlines about the end of the world through major disasters with specific dates or a breakthrough medicine for cancer. It’s really quite possible and would touch the emotions of so many if a cancer or AIDS cure has been found. Did the story make you angry? Don’t share it right away because that’s what the article wanted you to do in the first place – get all emotional and enraged.

So why use fake news?

One fake news website owner said that it all boils down to income and nothing more. But if it has destroyed a person’s integrity, ruined relationships, stirred up hatred in a community, in other words, did more damage than good, then why make this kind of menace at all?

You could use a more amiable way to get viral by choosing the right topics to engage your customers or website. Remember each website you create or post you publish is already a conversation starter so engage them well.

  • Know their problem – Don’t jump into your customers’ solutions before knowing what they have in mind and how you can help lead them to a solution. If you’re a life coach, write topics about their problems. Maybe they’re too embarrassed to express their feelings.
  • Why should you solve your problem – You want your readers to know why they have to solve their problems. As a life coach you know that it’s good to let out some pent up emotions.
  • Offer some answers about you – Sometimes, customers will not be so open to having further conversations and working with you. Tell them about what you do without actually selling your services. Sell the while industry and not your product. Subtle is the key to opening the door of future conversations and eventually, sales.

So you see? Some good things don’t have to be faked to make it work. You could have engaged posts that go viral without faking it. Just use caution and choose the right methods. A good content marketing provider can help you get going. Remember, wars were started with fake news, families were broken because of bogus statements, and communities were destroyed all because of fraudulent claims. It really is a bad idea – marketing strategy or otherwise.

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

Want new articles before they get published?