In my time as editor and writer for basketball and sports; rumors, half-truths, and being the first to report a news story dominated the social media world and still does, especially on Twitter. Whether it’s the big news corporations, or the smaller blogs and websites that have a solid following, news stories will break, either true or based off of a rumor that either way attracts viewers and followers. However, in most cases there is no legitimate source reporting these rumors, creating a boy who cried wolf scenario that can be detrimental to the smaller news outlets and blogs. Why is this important and how does it effect you?
Whether you’re a passionate blogger for your favorite sports team, or a small business owner, what you tweet, post, or advertise cannot be half-truths or complete lies to attract followers or customers. Knowing this, I always frowned upon writing articles just to get viewership, in which money can be made based off the traffic these posts attracted. Sure it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks, but the loyal readers, the ones who could potentially tell their friends and co-workers that this site is good and honest, will leave and find another website or blog to follow that won’t waste their time posting bogus news stories.
The same can be said for the business world. Whatever you’re selling: a product, your skills in a certain profession that requires physical or mental labor, or the information that you’re reporting as a journalist, has to be 100% honest or sooner or later the person who bought into you will leave once they learn the truth. A good reputation is what builds up a strong core of followers or customers, and that starts with being open and honest about your product. In the sports journalism world there are some writers who are respected much higher than others, and that’s due to the connections they have, but also the accuracy of the rumors or stories they are reporting.
Walk down a main street in your city or town, there is most likely a town diner or a family owned restaurant that is famous in your neighborhood. They rarely if ever advertise, but how did they gain their popularity and customers? The first patrons who stepped foot into that restaurant were satisfied with the food they ordered, and in turn told their friends and relatives about that specific place and how they must go there.
The best way to grow your clientele is to have a product that is so good they immediately share their experience at your store, restaurant, or your services such as plumbing, computer repair, etc. Your first customers are your advertising, whether they enjoyed the time and money they spent, or didn’t. The customer’s satisfaction builds up your reputation, and being truthful further enhances what you’re selling.
We can all learn something from sports, but take a look at the sports journalism aspect of the industry. Lessons can be taken away just from one article or Twitter account in which lies, false rumors, and lack of credibility become exposed. This also happens in business on a daily basis.
Do you want a loyal following and fan base (yes companies and businesses have fan bases too)? Marketing and advertising that is true and honest that reinforces the product you’re selling will attract new customers, and the ones who have already bought into what you’re selling will return. If you’re a writer or blogger, the same applies to you as well. Reporting rumors isn’t wrong, but check the facts and sources releasing these news stories before posting. Followers on Twitter want information, and if you’re not reporting news that’s worth their time, they’ll find another outlet to follow.
Honesty and being truthful cannot be stressed enough. If you apply those two qualities in anything you do, you’ll be successful with many loyal and real customers and followers.