fact checking

* This is the second article of a two-post series about fact checking.

Last time, we found out that in order not to look like an idiot in the eyes of your readers, it’s important to check the facts that you present before you publish your articles. Aside from that, we cited other reasons that it’s an important practice: 1. Your reputation is on the line; 2. Mistakes tend to snowball; and 3. You represent your client.

This time, let’s go over how to bulletproof your articles and avoid the shame of publishing misinformed facts, by following these surefire fact-checking hacks.

To infinity and beyond

The first thing to do is to double-check everything. When we say everything, we mean every single detail. Leave no stone unturned when confirming the truth of your claims. Once you’ve done that, do it again. Triple-checking never hurt anyone. It pays off to be sure, so check those facts to infinity and beyond.

Seek the source

Scientists seek the source of all matter. Anthropologists study the source of each culture. People fed up with stupidity seek the source of that stupidity. As a professional writer, you must seek the source of all information stated as fact. Determine who said it, when it was said, in what context, etc. Once you’ve done that, find a second and even third source who can verify it. Seek the source, for the source can back you up.

Determine legitimacy

Just like a shocked bachelorquestioning the legitimacy of his lover’s fatherly claims through a paternity test, you should also determine how legitimate your source is within the industry. An engineering firm cannot make valid claims about developments in the medical field, so if you’re writing content about something medical-related, make sure that your sources are reputed individuals or organizations within the medical field. In case you have two sources with clashing opinions, then determine which source carries more weight. To do that, start researching.

Kill your darlings

Artists often come up with several pieces, each one dear to them for varied reasons. Yet when it comes to exhibitions and showcases, they don’t hesitate to scratch the pieces that don’t meet the standards they set for themselves. By doing this, only their best masterpieces are on display. In terms of your writing, you shouldn’t think twice about deleting a statement you can’t back up with a credible source. Remember: if you can find a source to back up a claim, delete it!

The devil is in the details

Nothing is too minute to skip on double checking. It could be the spelling of a place, or a hyphen in the name of a company, but if you miss these things, it could blow up in your face in ways you didn’t expect. Every time you’re unsure of anything, Google it. Some tools online can be helpful as well.

There you have it: five foolproof ways to be bulletproof. Keep these in mind each time you write an article, and you’re golden. If you want to learn more, simply sign up here.