In 2021, many are quick to cry “fake news” when hearing information and facts that don’t align with their opinions and world view.

However, while we’re now all too familiar with propaganda’s insidious capability to misinform and misdirect, no one had ever even heard the term ‘fake news’ as recently as five years ago when it became almost synonymous with American politics. Though the question now isn’t how fake news and misinformation became so mainstream; the question is how to overcome the challenges it presents. 

In our digital society, people are constantly connected to news and social media. According to recent research, approximately 48 per cent of Australians use social and online media as their main source of news, and 64 per cent of Australians are concerned about what is real and fake news online.1  

In business, fake news and misinformation poses an interesting challenge. While many may be familiar with the saying “all publicity is good publicity” (spoiler alert: it’s not), inaccurate news stories and misinformation can compound the negative effects of bad publicity.  

Even using the fake news approach to garner attention for your organisation is more likely to backfire when people realise you’ve been feeding them falsehoods. Serious business people don’t want to do business with any organisation that would embrace or be caught up in fake news.  

Fortunately, you can counter the misinformation available in newsfeeds, and present your organisation as a knowledgeable and accurate thought leader in your industry. Here’s how: 

1. Be trustworthy and transparent: it’s common for blogs and articles to have eye-catching headlines to garner more views and clicks. However, if the headline has nothing to do with the article, you can fall into the trap of creating your own fake news and misinformation. It’s called clickbait. Creating clear and transparent headlines that demonstrate the content and value of an article will serve you better in the long run. Similarly, building trust with your customers, partners, and prospective audience through authentic messaging will help position you as a trustworthy and knowledgeable voice in the market.

2. Use legitimate third-party sources: when developing content, it’s essential to cite relevant, current, and trustworthy information sources so that readers understand you’re well-informed. By citing relevant industry publications and analysts in your online content, you can help to position your content as credible, and back this up with valuable information from reputable sources.  

3. Ensure you have a current information hub: whether or not you maintain an active social media account, it’s critical that your website always includes the most up-to-date information publicly available on your company. This ensures that the latest news and business announcements are easily accessible and quick to find. This way, people can fact-check information and you can reduce the potential for misleading, outdated, or fake news about your company to gain traction. 

It can be difficult for companies to get cut through in the media and be heard above the noise. This is all the more challenging when there is conflicting, and sometimes negative, information around those same companies.   

With such widespread misinformation readily available at our fingertips, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to write factually, presenting themselves as knowledgeable and accurate thought leaders in their respective industries. 

For more information on how you can develop more relevant and informed content to counter misinformation, contact The Recognition Group today. 

[1]  https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2020-06/apo-nid305057.pdf