It’s Crucial to Fact-Check Your Content, Now More Than Ever

Account Director/Senior Content Director
Published 10/4/17
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In this era of “fake news” (how is that even a thing?) it’s now more important than ever for destinations to ensure the information they’re sharing with potential visitors is as accurate as possible. Sure, businesses close and phone numbers change – consumers understand that. But nothing will damage your credibility faster than publishing “official” travel guides and websites riddled with untrustworthy information.

And we’re not talking about easy-to-spot problems like misspelled words or misplaced commas, but actual information that is flat-out wrong. You’d be surprised how often we see it, which is why content at Miles goes through a rigorous, independent fact-checking process even after it has been approved by our teams, our clients and all other parties involved.

How rigorous? Take this seemingly simple paragraph, for instance …

“Frenchy’s, located on Clearwater Beach, serves a grouper sandwich that’s been voted “Best of the Bay” by the area weekly, Creative Loafing. Order your sandwich fried, grilled or blackened (my personal favorite) and try to get a seat outside for a sunset view over the Gulf of Mexico.”

Before allowing these two sentences to be published, there are 10 questions we’d have to verify first. TEN! And we don’t just trust websites or conduct quick Google searches, but actually get official sources on the phone to confirm every detail – even documenting the exact name and title of who we spoke to, and the time they verified this information.

  1. Is Frenchy’s restaurant still in business?
  2. Is this its full proper name?
  3. Is there an apostrophe in the name?
  4. Is it correctly spelled?
  5. Is it located on Clearwater Beach?
  6. Does the restaurant serve a grouper sandwich?
  7. Is the grouper sandwich available either fried, grilled or blackened?
  8. Is it true that the grouper sandwich was voted “Best of the Bay” by the area weekly, Creative Loafing? (And we wouldn’t just take the restaurant’s word for it, but also confirm with Creative Loafing as well.)
  9. Is outside seating available through the evening so patrons can dine and watch the sunset?
  10. Does the restaurant open to views of the Gulf of Mexico?

That’s just for one paragraph in one story, so you can imagine how time-consuming this process can be when fact-checking an entire travel guide or website. Is it a pain? Sure. But publishing factual information is paramount for any marketer. If consumers can’t trust the information you provide, why would they trust you with their precious vacation time and money?

And just imagine the embarrassment you’ll prevent. I’m guessing Total Beauty did not fact-check this Tweet before sharing it with thousands of followers: