Credibility of press materials in the eye of the public is still influenced by traditional trust factors. Keep this in mind and remember to:
- present the opinions of independent experts and authorities in the field. Providing a commentary from an expert commends more trust than only presenting the standpoints of both sides of the argument on which you are commenting.
- refer to scientific research, but be wary of pseudoscience – citing scientists or research and learning institutions with bad credentials can effectively sink your story;
- inform the recipients about the limitations concerning the scientific research in question, e.g. resulting from chosen scientific method.
- include different sources of information and multiple points of view – presenting the story from various angles will shield you against accusations of bias and will make your content relatable to a wider audience;
- report directly from the thick of it – emphasize that yours is the firsthand account and not a story written from behind the desk.
Earning the Trust
During the course of our debunking workshops conducted for journalists we brainstormed some additional ideas for increasing the publications’ credibility:
- when publishing a video, add a note describing the process of creating the content;
- include an interview with the author;
- set up a live chat or a webinar with the author, allowing recipients to ask questions concerning the publication history.
- the materials are signed by the author;
- all the corrections, changes and updates on your website are visibly announced. Preferably, avoid the mistakes that could undermine your credibility, but when they do happen, be sure to correct them as swiftly and transparently as possible. Make clear what has been revised. You can also attach errata at the end of the release;
- the original date of publication is included and that archival materials are clearly marked in case their content is out of date – using outdated information or photos from the past in a changed context is a manipulation technique frequently employed on the Internet. Clearly disclosing the time of release will limit the risk of someone misusing your materials;
- the communication is concise and straightforward – on the Internet, more than in traditional media, these factors turn out to be more conducive to building credibility;
- the ads displayed on the site are non-invasive, the website loads fast enough and is compatible with mobile devices – such technical implementations have more influence on credibility ratings than, for instance, allowing the recipients to comment under the press materials.