How to Identify Credible Sources in B2B Content Marketing
When you’re researching thought leadership content or producing any piece of factual information, you must use trusted sources. Obtaining your information from inadequate sources can tarnish your content’s credibility and give your brand a bad name.
This blog will focus on the importance of credible sources, how you can identify them and examples of bad internet sources that you should avoid within the B2B sector.
Importance of Credible Sources
In B2B content marketing, authenticity and credibility matter! That’s why supporting your content with sound research and credible sources is the foundation of excellent content writing.
Using high-quality links shows your readers that your piece of content is reliable, relevant, and, most importantly, up-to-date.
This is incredibly important in the B2B tech and FinTech space because technology is constantly developing, and once relevant information can quickly become outdated. Therefore, using an obsolete source can negatively impact your content.
It’s also essential because customers make purchasing decisions based on the credibility of the content you produce. So if you aim to generate leads through B2B content marketing techniques, then your content must be trustworthy.
By producing trustworthy content through reputable sources, you can also do the following,
- Offer clarity on a confusing or contradicting topic
- Back up claims with evidence
- Embed data into your content
- Justify different points of view
- Draw clear and compelling conclusions
How to Find Credible Sources
You can find credible sources for your B2B content by doing the following:
- Interviews with experts
- Data and analyst reports
- Surveys from reputable companies
- Reference books
- Government agencies and official organisations
- Public speeches
You can also find credible sources by applying The CRAAP Test. This stands for:
Is the source up-to-date?
As mentioned before, depending on the industry or topic, your source can quickly become outdated. For example, if you’re quoting taxes or regulatory changes, your source must be from the same year, as these topics tend to become outdated quickly.
The same applies to emerging technologies and FinTech trends. These change almost instantly due to new developments, therefore your sources need to be up to date.
At Copy House, we recommend using sources that have been published within the last three years. Again not only does this fluctuate depending on the topic, but it also fluctuates depending on the current environment.
For example, if you’re discussing the statistics of remote working, then this would have changed drastically since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ask yourself whether the source is relevant to your research or argument and whether the data is relevant for your targeted geographical area.
This requires you to look into your target audience and see whether the source can be of interest or relate to them.
It will make little sense if your statistics discuss B2C trends in India when your target market is B2B FinTech brands in England.
Check the authority of the link by observing where the source is published and who the author is. You must also check whether the brand, company or organisation you’re retrieving the source from is considered reputable and trustworthy in their field.
Checking the domain is also a good indication of whether the source is trustworthy. For example:
- .com (commercial)
- .co.uk (country-specific domain, this example is based in the UK)
- .edu (educational)
- .gov (U.S government) for the UK government it’s often gov.uk
- .org (nonprofit organisation)
- .net (network)
Be mindful of the URL ending. Especially those ending in .com as they can be from anywhere and made by anyone.
Is the source you’re reading supported by compelling evidence? And are the claims cited correctly?
If you’re using a source stating specific statistics, it’s always wise to check where they obtained the original information. In some cases, they are not the original researcher, so trusting what they say can cause your brand harm.
Some pages can be biased when it comes to particular topics. Therefore, check what the motive behind publishing the source is. Remember, some sites could be sponsoring their own brand or another brand, hence why there may be some bias.
Also, observe whether the information is objective or if there is a clear bias. Most importantly, make sure the information is fact and not an opinion. If you’re using someone else’s opinion, make that apparent in your work.
Examples of Credible Sources
Why You Should Avoid Bad Sources
Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of using credible sources, here’s why you should avoid bad internet sources.
1. It Impacts SEO
Building your domain authority is not always the easiest. If you attach bad backlinks (a link from one website to another), you can damage the credibility of your domain.
Linking to poor-quality sources with low domain authority will increase the overall toxicity score of your personal domain. That’s why your goal when picking sources should be to link to websites with high domain authority. This way, you won’t end up undoing all that hard SEO work you’ve previously done.
2. It Impacts Conversion
One of the key purposes of creating content in the B2B market is to attract your target audience and persuade them to take the next step or an action that takes them further down the sales/conversion funnel.
To do this, you must put yourself in your audience’s shoes and make sure they feel reassured, at every stage, that they’re dealing with a legitimate, trustworthy, industry-leading brand.
If they find content with links to external sources from unsubstantiated blog posts or competitors’ landing pages, your target audience may have reason to doubt you or even worse, move over to your competition.
3. It Impacts Credibility
Using a bad source can damage your brand’s credibility.
Businesses that publish credible content, with fact-checked articles, vetted information, and quotes from experienced experts, build a solid reputation. Over time, this positive reputation
attracts and retains customers.
Examples of Bad Internet Sources
Always avoid your competitor’s website or landing pages that promote your competitor’s brand. Whether it’s your direct or indirect competitor, you should always stray away from using their content as a source for your content.
It’s like working for McDonald’s but holding a sign outside which says ‘Here’s McDonald’s, but go to Burger King over there.’
It wouldn’t make sense and is bad for business as you’re directing your potential leads to your competition.
This includes sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Quora etc.
You should avoid using these as they are unreliable sources, and the public can manipulate or change information on the site.
However, if you scroll to the bottom of Wikipedia, there is usually a list of sources indicating where the information is derived from. Some of these sources can be reliable, therefore, can be used. If you use these links, first check whether the information is present on the legitimate site. This is where the CRAAP test can come in handy.
Other People’s or Company’s Blogs
Regardless of whether they are experts in the field, taking information from other people’s blogs may not always be legitimate, especially if they took it from an unreliable source.
Also, although some blogs are written by real experts and can be valuable sources for technical topics, others are strongly opinionated, biased, inaccurate, written by competitors, or, again, poorly cited. So you need to be careful when using them as sources.
Although having statistics to support your point is incredibly beneficial to your reader, be wary of where you obtain the statistics from.
If it’s an article stating ‘Top 5 Content Marketing Statistics for B2B’, although they may not be wrong, sometimes they’re not the original study that conducted the research.
If the article doesn’t cite or link to their source, DO NOT use this source in your content unless it’s explicitly their own research. Always reference the original study or research.
Creating B2B Content That Drives Sales and Generates Leads
Ensuring the sources you are using are credible is only a small fraction of the battle to produce excellent content marketing in the B2B sector. As the technology and FinTech space is constantly changing, you must be on top of reliable sources and have a strong content marketing strategy.
At Copy House, we create various content marketing assets for businesses in the technology and FinTech space. If you’re interested in how Copy House can boost your online presence, book a free 30-minute consultation below, or check out our case studies for more information.