Citations – Good News in Blogging, Confusing in Spelling, Bad News in Driving

citations

“The triple whammy of homophones ‘cite’, ‘site’, and ‘sight’ has the potential to create a great deal of confusion,” the editors of The Book of Random Oddities explain. To cite, they go on to explain, means to “quote someone, or someone’s work, as a authoritative source to support an argument.” The word “cite”, the book’s authors add, is a verb derived from the Latin “citare”, which means to summon or to put into motion. (In contrast, a building sits on a site, and our vision is our sight.). Of course, the verb “cite” can also refer to issuing a court summons or parking ticket.

My college students are taught to use citations and reference pages to show where they got their information.  That way, the students avoid plagiarism by properly attributing statements to the original authors of that material. .  In your blogs, you use citation as well, giving credit to the sources of your information.  Even if you’re putting your own unique twist on the topic, link to websites from which you got some of your original information or news.

Since, as a business blog content writer, my ”arena” is the World Wide Web, I can’t help but be awed by the fact that the internet has become the largest repository of information in human history.  Trillions of words are added to it daily, and literally anyone with access to a computer or cell phone can add content to the mix at any time.

But the fact is, people read blogs to get information and we, as content providers need to provide that information with honesty and respect towards readers – and towards the original creators of any materials we use to support the points we want to make. 

Looking at citation from a whole other vantage point, author Neil Patel advises citing your own older blog posts (as I’ve done in the paragraph above). “Millions of posts are written, then seen by a few people and then essentially discarded into the blog post graveyard,” Patel laments. In fact, Patel considers old blog posts more valuable than new ones, with the majority of his traffic each month going to old posts.

Citations may be confusing, given the homonym “site” and traffic ticket terminology, but in blogging – citations represent good practice and good news!

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Bloggers and Travel Agents Bring Clarity and Curation

Passports to world travel

“What stresses people today,” explains Matthew Upchurch, CEO of the Virtuoso luxury travel network, “isn’t the lack of information. It’s not knowing if they are asking the right questions….People don’t go to advisers for information anymore,” Upchurch adds. “They go for clarity and curation; they need someone to distill the abundance of information available to them.”

Upchurch may well have been speaking about all internet search activity, not only about travel, I couldn’t help thinking. After all, we business bloggers serve, in a very real way, interpreters and consolidators, and curators. For that reason, I teach, effective blog posts are less information-dispensing than they are perspective-gaining tools for readers to use. You might refer to our work as offering new understandings about things readers already know.

Travelers, writes Jill Schensel in the Indianapolis Star, were “drowning in TMI (too much information.”. The life rafts for an increasing number of those travelers is once again becoming a “friendly, flesh-and-blood travel agent”.

Again, there’s a strong parallel here with blogs, which offer business owners and professional practitioners the chance to inject their own special personalities into each piece of content. One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we translate clients’ corporate message into human, people-to-people terms. In fact, that’s the reason I prefer first and second person writing in business blog posts over third person “reporting”. I think people tend to buy when they see themselves in the picture and when can they relate emotionally to the person bringing them the message.

I like to compare the interaction between blog writers and online readers to behavioral job interviews.  These don’t focus on facts, but attempt to reveal the way the prospective employee functions, discovering the person behind the resume. Just as employers want to know how reliable you’ve been in the past, your blog posts need to include stories about how you solved client problems, and what lessons you’ve learned through your experiences that you’ll be applying in your dealings with them should they choose to become your customers.

Just as Upchurch described Millenials renewed use of travel agents to help guide their purchases, people don’t go to websites purely for information anymore; they go for clarity and curation, and for a human touch!

 

 

 

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