In general, when you want to find out the facts surrounding a particular event, you go to a news website where “reliable” journalists present non-biased information, leaving you to form your own opinion. When you want to find other people who share your opinion and possibly expound upon it, you visit a blog. I think it’s important for bloggers to understand the difference and learn how journalists stay connected so they can give their blog more journalistic credibility.
Even though blogging has evolved over the years there’s still a bit of a stigma attached. In my opinion, that sour taste that develops when people talk about blogs is ironic – blogs originally developed as a means for people to express opinions and share ideas, as opposed to the hard-facts and news you find on websites. Yet this is the very reason people still relegate blogs to the back burner – because they express opinions they’re also perceived to lack credibility.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t express your opinion on your blog because that’s a big part of what blogging is all about. Expressing your opinion enables you to connect with your readers on a personal level. But many bloggers just seem to pull their opinions out of a hat and present them as facts, with no supporting evidence to back up their claims.
For example, in a blog post about Facebook, I recently wrote something to the effect that Facebook had once again allowed access to users’ private information. But I wanted to stress the point that this had happened on more than one occasion and that something needed to be done. I didn’t just want my readers to think I was ranting because I don’t like Facebook.
So I rewrote the paragraph and searched out reliable sources of information that showcased the facts and statistics surrounding a number of documented instances where Facebook had, indeed, violated users’ privacy and I linked to those sources in my blog post. Now I’m not some blogger just spouting off, I’m a journalist giving them cold, hard facts to back up my opinion. As a bonus, this is also the type of article that generates natural backlinks from other bloggers looking for credible sources to cite.
Now, how did I find those reliable sources to link to? I made those connections the same way journalists make connections. For that particular article I did a Google and chose to cite mainstream media sites. I also like to use Twitter trends, especially if I’m on the trail of a popular, trending topic.
But I don’t stop at those Tweets, I also contact the person who’s sending them out and try to add them to my every-growing network of contacts. Journalists make also make connections using LinkedIn and Facebook and they reach out to people through their own websites and blogs.
My point is, your blog will have much more credibility if you take some time to connect with other experts and cite them as sources in your blog posts, instead of just rattling off comments that may or may not be true. And that extra dose of credibility is what it takes to get other bloggers to link out and connect with you.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!