Are we entering the Fake News Era? Judging by headlines generated from across the U.S. political spectrum, it would be easy to conclude so.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that about half of the respondents—”technologists, scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers and others” selected unscientifically by Pew—believe that the problem is here to stay. [http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/10/19/the-future-of-truth-and-misinformation-online/]
While that may sound depressing from a big-picture standpoint, it’s also an opportunity for content producers. And if you’re in the business of generating donor-driven revenue or adding members, you should be in this category.
Simply put, your audience looks to you for guidance on the issues that are important to you. Sharing relevant facts—from simple statistics to detailed pieces of research—is one way you can help engage your members, donors, or target audience. More importantly, you can be a trusted source that helps shield them from the “fake news” syndrome.
How does this work in practice? Say you’re a charity that supports providing subsidized pet spaying and neutering. You can blog about how many homeless pets are handled by your community’s shelters, and how not all of them end up in new homes. Instead of simply relying on basic statements—”spaying your pet is good for everyone,” or worse, having false statements (“fake news”) shape the narrative, point out the ramifications of not supporting your position: some unwanted pets do not find homes, and are euthanized as a result.
Sharing real-world stories and verifiable data that underscore your position is an ideal way to gain trust. Gaining trust is a key step in ensuring that prospects become donors and/or members—and keeping them in the fold.