Why Fact Checking Matters for Freelancers

You don't have to be a marketer or writer to benefit from fact-checking.  As someone who's been in e-commerce for a while,  I'd say knowing the facts goes a long way for anyone trying to sell their services or goods.  By knowing of people, events, or places in the current time, you may be able to close a sale on that piece of knowledge alone.  Why?  Because people will go to lengths to see if you know what you're talking about.

Becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME)

This may sound intimidating to anyone outside of marketing but in this case, you can be an SME of just about anything.  If you know for a fact that adding oatmeal to your homemade desserts is better for heart health, you may want to bring better statistics than what's listed on a cereal box.  You should be able to explain why pure oats are better than processed and so on.

Anyone can look things up on Google or Wikipedia but how much of this content is accurate?  Most of us know how to look for basic inaccuracies found in content (Lifehack) but what about respected sites that have old information?  Oftentimes the online public library is the best place to find updates and other information that will support your claims.  However, there are some ways to go the distance in finding the information you need.

Doing Better Information Searches

It's no secret that there's no singular way to do most things.  From changing your car's oil to making tamales, people are going to have shortcuts or tailor their content for a certain audience.  While this may work as a secondary (or tertiary) source of information or in your personal life, today the competition is too steep to cut corners.

If getting facts directly from a known expert is impossible, then the next best method is to aim for sites that are equally relevant.  By using Google's Advanced Search feature, you can reach a number of educational or government agency sites that have no choice but to tell the truth.  Just enter the keyword or phrase, followed by the domain type (.edu or .gov). The former sometimes publishes content from campus blogs but these usually have a disclaimer that recommends readers to use this information at their discretion.

Learning from the Pros

Communicating with clients means learning how to listen and respond in order to keep the engagement going.  Who better to learn tips from than a writing entity like the Poynter Institute?  They offer a variety of writing, communication, and journalism courses for novices to seasoned professionals.

Their media literacy series of classes can help anyone learn how to dissect information that goes in, as well as use data to back up claims or give stories a little more sustenance.  Most public libraries also have fact-checking fundamentals that are easy to understand and put into practice right away.  If there are topics you find yourself visiting often, it may help to create a personal library you can access.