In this day and age, we’re all looking for credible information! So much of the information we consume every day comes from non-credible sources or is from a good source but goes uncredited. For many of your clients, they can easily become frustrated if they cannot verify where you got information from and if it is from a good source. Poor information management can really hurt your business. I worked with a client last year who put information on their website that they did not fact check or cite correctly. As a result, they had clients asking them about the strange information on their website, and ultimately, they lost customers.
Fact check and cite good information! Your clients can see when you are knowledgeable and trustworthy when you cite good information. An excellent rule to have when you are writing about anything technical or not within your expertise is to find a credible and trustworthy organization to cite. You can do this by checking if they are a government or research facility with peer-reviewed and published work. For less formal topics, you can use a variety of information from private businesses or news sources, but make sure you look at multiple companies or journals to see if the information is consistent! When your information is from reputable sources and it is consistent across multiple platforms, you and your clients can be assured that it is accurate. Once you have found credible information, be sure you cite it! Clients like to see where your information is coming from. Citing your sources also helps clients see how credible you are when talking about certain subjects. You do not have to know everything, but you do need to know where to find accurate information and to tell your reader where it's from.
There are a variety of different citation styles such as APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), or Chicago. The key to citing is to name the author, the title of the book, journal, or website name, year, and link to the source (if you can). If citing within your writing doesn’t make sense, having a full list of sources at the end of your writing looks amazing! Owl Purdue is a great online resource for examples of how to cite sources in a wide range of formats. You can also use applications like Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote to digitally grab all the information you need to cite your source and paste it into your writing.
Your clients will thank you for the extra work you put into finding and using information that is credible and cited. The more convincing sources you cite, the more trustworthy you become as a business when it comes to the topics you talk about. You want to foster trust in the content you put out to your clients. At the end of the day, no one expects you to know everything, but everyone appreciates seeing checked, credible, and clearly cited information.
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