In a highly anticipated and much heralded move, the leadership team at Buzzfeed has announced a new suite of editorial guidelines. It’s a sign that the site, once best known for its ‘listicles’ and articles that were long on the funny and short on the facts, is starting to take its position as a news source far more seriously.
Editorial credibility is an important, but seldom discussed, aspect of creating an effective social media presence for your company. Your customers will judge you based upon the content you share via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. If you’re getting informative articles from a less-than-credible source, it opens the door to questions about your own judgment.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to determining editorial credibility. While some sources enjoy higher levels of regard than others, there’s no one source of information that’s believed to be universally correct. The sources that one audience believes to be of high value are considered to be absolutely ludicrous by another. This is one of the issues that’s polarizing our country right now – and it has an impact on the social media marketing decisions that you make.
Do you know what news sources your customers turn to most? Do you understand what voices they consider to be credible? If you don’t know, it’s a good conversation to have with your core group of customers. The better you understand what type of information they find to be most valuable, the easier it becomes to provide them with content they’ll appreciate and share.
The content you share on social media needs to accomplish several goals. First and foremost, it needs to grab the customer’s attention. Second, it should inform, educate or entertain. Third, it should strengthen the relationship between your company and the customer – after all, you both like the same things. If the content doesn’t perform on all three levels, you need to discard it and look for something else.
This process can be time consuming, which is why many companies rely on content sources they know their customers appreciate. Buzzfeed has been one of these sources for many companies. The move toward tighter editorial standards & more ethical behavior is good news for these companies. We’d be thrilled to see other sites following suit. No matter what political perspective or social slant your customers appreciate, an increased focus on objectively observable facts and best practices will serve us all well.