media update’s Talisa Jansen van Rensburg takes a look at how to keep your content real and avoid accidentally creating fake news.

Fake news is everywhere, and it’s been around for a very long time. The shock factor that this type of news brings usually results in people talking about it and sharing the content at high speed. Although this might sound appealing to some, it’s vital to remember that, as a content creator, you have a responsibility to be transparent with your work and to never lead people on.

Not only is fake news extremely bad for audience consumption, but it also breaks the trust that people have in the media, which can lead to a great loss of readership. Additionally, the way your publication is perceived by audiences will undoubtedly be negative — it’s really a lose-lose situation all around.

With that said, it’s time to put a stop to the creation and spread of misinformation.

Here are three ways to avoid creating fake news:

1. Stick to the facts

When discussing something topical or controversial, it’s often tempting to merely provide your own opinions on the matter and reveal your feelings regarding the topic you are writing about. However, this should be strictly avoided (unless you’re writing your own opinion piece on a personal blog).

Ensure that you do thorough research before you start writing; remember, your audience relies on you to give the facts and to stick to information that is relevant. By backing up those facts with reliable sources, your content will remain transparent and true.

And, being honest and transparent in your work allows you as well as the publication you work for to maintain a good reputation. This also keeps your audiences on red alert for any news from you and the company that comes their way.

2. Keep it short and sweet

When it comes to your content, try to avoid filling the article with unnecessary information. This might make it longer and seemingly more elaborate, but by no means does it make the story more interesting. Also, adding extra information could change the entire focus of the article.

Therefore, to avoid any misinformation, keep your points short and to the point, leaving no room for unnecessary ‘fluff’.

For example, instead of saying “I was extremely disappointed to learn that Nestlé is discontinuing a ton of their beloved chocolate bars,” you could say: “Nestle announced that it will be discontinuing several of its chocolate bars.”

3. Keep it clickbait-free

The moment you start including clickbait in your content is the moment you get sucked into a world of ake news. You may think it’s okay to tell a little white lie or exaggerate a point to make the topic more interesting; however, in the long run, this will do more harm than good.

Instead of using clickbait, rather step up your SEO game and create content that uses relevant keywords., That way, more audiences are likely to find your content, meaning you don’t have to resort to using clickbait to get more readers.

Although, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, The Washington Post decided earlier this year that it was going to mix reputable news and clickbait headlines to reach a bigger audience. However, the way in which the publication went about this was ethical and required a lot of research. Therefore, if you are looking to do something similar, ensure you have a clear understanding of how to apply it.

What are some other ways to avoid creating fake news? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to educate yourself more about fake news, then be sure to read about the Five types of fake news and how to spot them.
*Image courtesy of Pixabay