Saturday: Our office is closed today but we are still taking calls on 01992 582 824

Why you’ll fall in love with Cariad

Love CariadWhy you’ll fall in love with Cariad

“Cariad” is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! You can see it in our logo which has merged the infinity sign with a love heart to show that once you’re smitten with Cariad, you’re going to stay smitten! Furthermore, if you look closely, you’ll spot the Cariad Marketing initials in the logo too!

As February is the month of love and we are celebrating our 9th anniversary (pottery and willow apparently), we’ve been looking at scientific studies about love in order to check that we’re on the right path.

'Cariad' is the Welsh word for love and is a great representation of our company ethos. We love what we do and our clients love what we do too! #LOVE Click To Tweet

Cariad definition

Reciprocal liking

Reciprocal liking is a psychological way of saying that when you know someone likes you, you’re more likely to like them back, and this mutual liking can blossom into love. Aw!

In the words of Cariad’s MD and founder Justine Perry, when it comes to staffing: “We recruit people who love what they do and do what they love. By taking on the right people with the right attitude and making sure they’re motivated and happy, they’ll keep our clients happy too!”

And we’re happy to report that Justine’s cunning plan has paid off! As a company, Cariad has formed long-term relationships with the majority of clients, and they have demonstrated their love for us in the form of referrals and testimonials. In the 9 years that Cariad has been trading, there has been steady growth in the number of new clients coming on board every year, with a parallel growth in the number of team members working at Cariad Towers. In fact, we have welcomed so many new clients into the fold recently, we’re currently on the lookout for new staff, so there’s lots more love to go round!


Scientists and existentialist philosophers alike tell us that authenticity is a key element in love because it makes for a better connection. These are qualities we like to foster with our clients as we firmly believe that openness and honesty create trust. If a client wants us to do something we don’t think will work, we’ll be upfront about telling them and explain why. Apart from being the right thing to do, this kind of authenticity fosters respect, which makes for a much better working relationship.

You want each other to do well

When it comes to a successful relationship, the boffins talk about compassionate love: “concern for another’s welfare and taking actions to promote it, regardless of whether those actions are perceived to result in future benefits to the self”. In other words, people in love do nice things for each other simply because they’re in love!

We like to embrace this spirit of altruism with our clients for the simple reason that we care about them. It makes us happy when clients do well, so if we come across ways we can help them succeed beyond our contracted work, at the very least we’ll make sure they know about it. Whether it’s a referral, a PR opportunity, helping out with charity fundraising, or voting for them in business awards, our aim is to help them to do better.

This year, to celebrate our 9th birthday, we’ve launched a competition to offer free LinkedIn social media training to 9 Hertfordshire businesspeople. By sharing our skills and expertise, we hope it’ll help other companies do well. And, nope, we don’t expect anything in return, we’re just passing the love forward! The closing date is 23rd February and the workshop will take place on 28th February: find out how to enter.

Why being an award winner is great for business

We were delighted to begin the new year with the news that we have been shortlisted for Digital Business of the Year in the FSB East of England Awards. Over the years Cariad has won many awards so we know a thing or two about how useful they are when it comes to boosting business. The advantages aren’t just confined to being a winner, you can use being listed as a finalist to benefit your business too.

FSB Digital Business of the Year finalist

Winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business Click To Tweet


Saves you hiring a business consultant

Winning, or being chosen as a finalist for a business award is great in terms of your business strategy. Awards are judged independently by business people who have proven success in their field (our MD Justine, having won many awards is now often asked to be a judge herself). If independent experts think you’re doing well, then you’re doing well! Being shortlisted for an award isn’t just a chance for you to dress up and smile for the camera, it’s a genuine indication that you’re doing business right.

Use the judges’ feedback as part of your business plan

Conversely, if you don’t even get to be a finalist, that’s also valuable feedback about your business. What is it that you’re not doing that maybe you should be? Contact the organisers of the award to see if they can tell you where you went wrong – not all organisers will give feedback, but there’s no harm in asking. And if you do manage to get hold of the judges’ comments, use that information to start planning how to make your business better in the future.

If you think your business isn’t quite ready to enter an award for this year, don’t just leave it. It’s a really useful exercise to look at the different categories, pick the ones you’re interested in entering next year and research the information the judges are asking for. What you’ve then got are useful indications of the direction you need to take your business in if you want to be in with a chance of winning the award the following year.

For instance, if the award is asking for evidence of your company’s CSR policy but you don’t have one, create one and make it into a policy document! Then, when you enter the award the following year, you’ll not only be able to use it as supporting evidence, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk about the positive effects introducing it has had on your business in terms of customer engagement, staff engagement etc. The more information and evidence you put into your entry, the greater your chances of getting into the final.

Similarly, if the category information mentions testimonials, then use that as a reason to ask your customers and clients to give you testimonials throughout the year – the more the merrier!

PR opportunities

Everyone loves a winner and winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business. There will usually be a professional photographer at the event, so make sure you get hold of a high resolution copy of you with your award (maybe you’ll even get to stand next to someone famous). Then write a short press release about the win, add a quote about how delighted you are, attach the photo and send it off to the local paper, trade press, and any trade bodies you’re associated with (they usually have a news section on their website).

You must also post it on all your social media channels and add it as a news story or blog onto your website. The news will give your clients or customers extra assurance that they’re dealing with a great company.

The organisers of the award will send you a logo saying ‘winner’ or ‘finalist’ which you must add to the homepage of your website. This will give future clients or customers the assurance of the quality of your company, which can only result in more sales.

Use social media to your advantage

Don’t just use social media to post photos of you and your award. The value of social media can be best seen before the ceremony begins. Find the social media details of all the other finalists the day of the ceremony, then post ‘good luck for tonight’ messages to them. By tagging them in to your message, you’ll reach not only the company but all their followers too!

Hertfordshire business awards

There are literally hundreds of business awards you could enter, some specialising in trade, some are national, and some are local. Many are free to enter making it affordable for even the smallest of businesses – a lot of awards cover start-up businesses so don’t discount entering even if you’ve only been going for a few months. Bear in mind, though, that if you are short-listed, you will have to pay to attend the ceremony, so if cost is an issue when it comes to entering, do some research about how much it’ll cost to attend it.

Here’s our recommended list of Hertfordshire awards that are free to enter, have a broad range of categories, and bring prestige to the winners and finalists.

Inspiring Herts – administered by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, information about entry for the 2018 awards should be available at the end of January/beginning of February.

SME Hertfordshire Business Awards – watch out for details of the 2018 awards in mid- to late-February.

Hertfordshire Business Awards – run by the Archant newspaper group, winners are bound to get publicity! Look out for details of the 2018 awards in late June.

Biz4Biz Awards – getting into the finals of this award relies on the public vote which usually opens in July, after which the short-listed businesses will have to do a presentation to the judges.

Best Business Women Awards – whilst this is a national award, its home is in Hertfordshire and we love it, so we’re including it in the list! Look out for details in March.

If you are entering business awards and would like to capitalise on any of your successes, we can handle the management of your social media and content marketing. Contact us at the award-winning Cariad Towers to find out more. And please keep your fingers crossed for us at the FSB East of England Awards on 1st March 2018!

A case of website integration: when three become one

Our website team has been at it again! We were asked to design and build a new website for UOE, a company which has three separate parts of its business. Originally the three divisions each had its own website, but this had become confusing and cumbersome, so UOE asked us to consolidate them all into just one website, It was a website integration and migration process that required detailed SEO planning and flawless execution.

This proved to be a massive task in terms of migrating content from each of the three sites, ensuring there was no duplication of pages, and writing new copy that brought all the information and different sides of the business together in a consistent way.

As UOE is currently doubling the number of stores and coworking hubs and has ambitious plans for the future, we also added a store locator plug in, as well as dedicated pages for the three new stores which will be opening shortly.

About UOE

UOE is enjoying strong growth and has ambitious plans to expand its network of high street Stores & Post Office franchises and coworking Hubs. Currently, it has three complementary divisions which serve consumers and small enterprises. These are:

Post Offices and UOE Stores – UOE has gained a high street presence by taking over the main Post Office franchises in East Finchley, Potters Bar and Hertford, and combining them with their own shops selling stationery, cards, branded gifts, business supplies as well as offering business services such as printing, binding, photocopying etc. By combining the Post Offices with the Stores and training all members of staff in all aspects of the business, UOE has not only been able to keep the Post Office at the hub of each community but also to increase opening hours, sometimes to 7 days a week.

Coworking Hubs – The Hertford branch of the Post Office & UOE Store also has a UOE Hub, a coworking office space which serves local small businesses and freelancers with affordable small serviced offices and hot desking facilities. This means entrepreneurs can keep their business and personal lives separate, at the same time as having a professional address and introducing them to other small business owners. The professional atmosphere of the Hub, combined with the networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs enables Hub members to fulfill the principle reason the Hub was set up – to help people GET WORK DONE!

Office supplies – UOE’s B2B office supplies division has been the core business for many years. Companies with accounts can take advantage of UOE’s online office supplies business as well as services such as document management, design and print, expenditure control etc.

If you would like to talk to us about all aspects of web design and website migrations however complex your needs, contact us online or give us a ring on 01992 582 824.

How to write in a gender neutral way

There’s an old riddle that really used to get people scratching their heads. It went something like this: “A doctor and a boy were out fishing together. The boy was the doctor’s son, but the doctor was not the boy’s father. Who was the doctor?” The riddle plays on what used to be entrenched views of professions, i.e. that doctors were all male, nurses were all female (think of any Carry On film and you’ll get my drift), and that only men went fishing etc etc. The riddle confounded expectations of what we thought was the ‘norm’; the answer to the riddle, of course, is that the doctor is the boy’s mother.

Well, according to figures published by the GMC, there are now more women GPs than there are male GPs, rendering riddles like this null and void. Which is a good thing.

Even Hollywood’s going gender-neutral

You may have noticed recently that the world of acting has started referring to luvvies of both sexes as ‘actors’. Even if we’re specifically referring to a woman who treads the boards, her official job title is Actor. Because this is quite a new thing, at the moment, every time we hear the word ‘actor’ our brains may fill in the blanks with an image of a male actor but, over time, we will get more used to the fact that it refers to either sex, like we already have (or really should have) with professional roles such as manager, chair, television presenter, singer, entrepreneur and even Prime Minister.

Who knows, using gender-neutral terms for Hollywood stars and wannabes may even halve the number of Oscars needed in the future, giving Emma Stone an equal chance of winning the ‘Best Actor’ award as Casey Affleck. Although this… Click To Tweet

Writing in a gender-neutral way = thinking in plurals

People have been encouraged to write and think in a gender-neutral way in business and academia for many years, so you’ll hopefully know the rules by now. By making gender-specific words and phrases plural, you’ll allow readers to make their own assumptions about gender. Anything they still can’t cope with, to paraphrase The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is, therefore, their own problem.

Star Trek fans (yes, I confess, I’m a bit of a Trekkie*) are well aware of this. In the original series, Captain Kirk’s crew famously went “where no man has gone before”. By the time the Enterprise had been taken over by Captain Picard, they were going “where no one has gone before”. Just one small word makes all the difference when it comes to including everyone (women and aliens of all genders) in the exploration of space.

The rule also applies when it comes to pronouns. Some people still think that if you refer to everyone as ‘she’, this will tick all the equality boxes, but all they’re doing is overcompensating… and being very annoying. Others prefer to write ‘he/she’ or ‘his/her’, but I think this can get very clunky and it basically looks like you’re trying too hard.

The best way round this is to make everything plural, so you use the word ‘their’ instead of ‘his’ or ‘her’, i.e. “Trekkies will always be happy to talk about their favourite Captain”.

If you are looking for engaging, intelligent and relevant content marketing that includes everyone, contact us for more information.

*In case you’re wondering, I know I’m supposed to worry about these things, but I actually have no opinion about split infinitives and am unfazed about whether or not we ‘go boldly’ or ‘boldly go’. The misuse of apostrophes on the other hand…

A smooth way to raise money for Isabel Hospice

Isabel Hospice

The boys at Cariad Towers have been waxing lyrical about their bravery, as they offered up various body parts for waxing, all in the name of charity. And it all happened on Facebook Live!

The lads were all smooth-talked into getting smooth body parts as part of the Isabel Hospice Clash of the Corporates challenge.

An initial part of the ‘Waxathon’ challenge had been to raise over £500 in advance, after which they agreed to have their waxes broadcast live to the world. Thanks to donations from supportive family and friends, the target was reached and their Facebook Live appearances were guaranteed. And thanks to the live coverage, an extra £100 was raised before lunchtime!

If you’re reading this and feeling a bit guilty you didn’t contribute, there’s still a chance – click here and be generous!

The entire event came about thanks to the lovely Marion Adams from holistic therapy centre The Natural Touch. Marion kindly offered to donate her time, expertise and a considerable amount of wax for the cause.

Too quiet for our liking

The boys were clearly gritting their teeth too tightly during their ordeals, as the lack of screaming was slightly disappointing to anyone watching online (or listening outside the boardroom door). But at least we managed some snaps of classic facial expressions to make up for it. And thanks to their collective bravery, they did themselves proud – there were no red faces… but plenty of red arms, legs, chests and pits after Marion had worked her magic.

This is how our brave lads became collectively more aerodynamic:

Isabel Hospice Waxathon

  • Rory – Armpits
  • Alex – Lower leg

Isabel Hospice

  • Dateme – Chest   
  • Jack – Back
  • James – Arms

Between them, it almost adds up to the full Monty…


Things then got even hotter!

Whilst Team Cariad loves being generous, we love eating even more! So, to continue the fundraising theme, Sara got busy in the kitchen and came in to work with more slow-cookers than you can shake a stick at, full of delicious chicken and chickpea curries for lunch which she sold for £5 each, raising another £70 for the Hospice.

Amazingly, our social media apprentice Rory had never eaten curry before, so approached lunch with the same tentativeness that he’d previously approached his armpit wax. Luckily for him, it was a much happier ending and he was later spotted going back for seconds…

It’s not over yet

The Great Cariad Waxathon was arranged as part of Isabel Hospice’s Clash of the Corporates challenge which we’ve thrown ourselves whole-heartedly into.

As part of the challenge, we’ve already raised nearly £200 on the sale of cakes in the office alone (you can’t keep a good Cariadian away from a bit of baking for long), and we’re now in the final leg of planning our grand finale, Race Night, which will be held on Saturday 6th May in Hertford. That event promises to be lots of fun and, who knows, you may even go home with more money than you started with! Race Night tickets are still available, so get a group of friends together and book now!

Abodebed’s new look website

Sometimes a business needs a completely fresh look, and that’s exactly what Abodebed in Hemel Hempstead wanted. As a company which provides luxury serviced apartments, Abode was conscious that its old website wasn’t as visual as other accommodation sites in the travel industry. That’s why they asked us to completely refresh the brand and build a modern, responsive website filled with high quality, original photography.

Good photographs are hugely important to the accommodation industry. It’s not just a ‘nice to have’ aspect – the right photos can mean the difference between a booking or a vacant property. So Cariad’s professional photographer was tasked to take enough stunning images of every room in every apartment to give guests a really good idea of exactly what they can expect. We then changed the layout of the website’s design to give the photos far greater prominence.

Sometimes a business needs a completely fresh look, and that’s exactly what Cariad Marketing can deliver. Click To Tweet

Abodebed Serviced Apartments Hemel Hempstead

Whilst visuals are a hugely important part of a website, it’s equally important that your journey through it is intuitive and straightforward. In Abode’s case, many guests will be booking accommodation via their tablets or mobiles, making responsiveness a vital element of the new site.

Finally, we also refreshed Adobe’s branding, making it brighter and fresher, and changing the font to reflect modern trends.

Abodebed Serviced Apartments in Hemel Hempstead

Whilst they specialise in providing accommodation for business travellers and business people who need to stay in Hemel Hempstead when they’re working away from home, Abodebed’s apartments are also used by tourists and people looking for somewhere to stay between house moves.

The apartments are based in the centre of Hemel Hempstead, next to the Riverside Shopping Centre, a short walk from the railway station, and just off the ‘Magic Roundabout’.

There are a number of one and two bed apartments, all of which also have sofa beds that can accommodate an extra two people per night. This means that even though the apartments are at the luxury end, they can be more cost effective than hotels, as well as giving guests a lot more space, including living room space complete with a dining room table.

Abodebed’s serviced apartments have all the amenities you enjoy at home, including a fully equipped kitchen, as well as WiFi, Sky TV, a DVD player, hairdryer, iron and ironing board etc. Every apartment also has its own dedicated parking space which is an increasingly valuable commodity in any city.

If you think your website needs to be more visual, modern and fully responsive, contact us to talk about what you want and what we can do for you.


Sponsoring the Best Business Women in the UK

Cariad Marketing is delighted to announce it’s a sponsor of the Best Business Women Awards, celebrating the success of business women nationwide.

Debbie Gilbert has been delighted by the success of the Best Business Women Awards and the diversity of businesses coming forward. Click To Tweet

Best Business Women Awards

Established by mumpreneur Debbie Gilbert three years ago, the awards are designed to recognise the achievements of women entrepreneurs working in all kinds of business. “Awards are often aimed at bigger companies which can be off-putting to the smaller business women. That’s why we decided to make the categories industry-specific, i.e. business services, legal services, recruitment, coaching etc, rather than the broader small or medium-sized business categories.”

Debbie’s policy worked from the very beginning with a surprising but hugely gratifying high number of entries, many of which came from women who’d never even considered entering themselves for awards before. “After the first year, more people were inspired to enter because they saw women like them winning and it gave them more confidence in themselves.”

Best Business Women in the UK Awards

Debbie Gilbert (right) and her assistant, Zoe at last year’s award ceremony.

Keeping costs down

One of the Award’s USPs which Debbie will not compromise on is affordability. “I know what women are like when it comes to spending money on themselves – they’d rather buy their children new shoes than treat themselves to a fancy night out to celebrate their achievements – which is why I’ve deliberately kept costs down. The awards are free to enter and the ceremony is held outside London so we can still put on a black tie event (I want my winners and finalists to feel spoilt) at the same time as keeping the price as low as possible.”

2016 Best Business Women Winners’ Club

One unusual (and possibly unique) aspect of the Best Business Women Awards is the Winners’ Club. Every year, award winners become lifetime members of the Winners’ Club, which means they’ll continue to be supported by the BBWAs on an on-going basis. As Debbie explained, “As the winner of awards myself, I’ve found that at the ceremony, you’re given the award, have your photo taken, and then it’s all over. The reason behind the Winners’ Club is to give winners continuing support. I organise networking events for winners and sponsors twice a year, and even though we’ve only been going two years so far, I know that winners have already done business with each other and the sponsors, which is perfect.”

Best Business Women in the UK Winners 2016

The winners’ club 2016.

Winning formula

Debbie has been delighted by the success of the Awards and the diversity of businesses coming forward – from falconry to waste disposal and everything inbetween! “All the women who enter have amazing stories to tell and I love the passion they put into their businesses. In fact, I get really emotional on the night when I see women getting rewarded and being recognised for what they do. It’s why I do this – money just cannot buy that feeling of pride.”

Our sponsorship

The tremendous success of the Best Business Women Awards, coupled with Debbie’s enthusiasm and commitment to women entrepreneurs around the country are a winning combination – and one that Cariad is proud to be associated with.

Our MD, mumpreneur Justine Perry, is 100% behind an organisation set up to support women who run their own businesses. “I’m delighted that Cariad are involved with the 2017 Best Business Women Awards. I meet many inspirational female business owners in Hertfordshire who never cease to amaze me with their incredible journeys, determination to succeed and exemplary work ethics. I can’t wait to see who the winners are this year!”

If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of our award-winning digital marketing services, get in touch!

A new, improved website for JM Sports Massage

Building websites aren’t the only projects on our talented design team’s ‘to do’ list. In the case of JM Sports Massage, in addition to the new website, we were also asked to redesign the logo and create designs for stationery, including gift vouchers, and signage.

The client’s previous website was one she had created herself on Wix and was very basic. As she grew her business, she wanted a new, professional website to have more functionality and be a better reflection of her brand. This meant adding pages to attract specific client groups who wouldn’t normally consider sports massage but who could benefit from such treatments, i.e. office workers, the elderly and the young, as well as the sports people who would.

Upgrade your website to a more professional, bespoke one with responsive functionality and an easy-to-use content management system. Click To Tweet

There are also more information pages about the various treatments on offer which help to position the client as an expert in her field, and also provide a better user experience and more opportunities to help with the organic rankings.

JMSports Massage


JM Sports Massage

JM Sports Massage is run by Jenny Miller, a qualified and experienced sports and remedial massage therapist with an interest in using sports massage to help overall health, wellness and posture-related conditions for people of all ages, strengths and motor abilities.

In addition to sports massage, she provides treatments for stress management, osteopathic conditions, rehabilitation exercises, core strength and muscle testing.

She firmly believes that you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage, as everyone is subject to the aches and pains that have ‘everyday’ causes, such as bad posture or sitting at a desk too long, as well as muscle fatigue, stress and muscle overuse.

Jenny is very keen to educate people on using their bodies correctly and will use the blog section of her website to consolidate her position as an authority and pass on useful information relating to sports techniques, posture and health.

If you are currently using an off-the-shelf website builder but would like to upgrade to a more professional, bespoke one with responsive functionality and an easy-to-use content management system, talk to us about building and hosting as well as support and maintenance.

Getting into the right sales-mind

Cariad have been at it again and have just launched a new, responsive website for an innovative sales training company, sales-mind.

The new website positions sales-mind as thought-leaders in innovative sales training programmes that focus on the psychology of the salespeople themselves rather than the consumer.

We were tasked with reflecting this innovative business ethos in the design and user experience of the company’s new website in a way that appeals to sales directors and CEOs, i.e. the decision-makers who may not attend the training themselves.

Whilst the website needs to be relevant for sales-mind’s needs today, we were also asked to ensure it would be able to cope with the functionality needed to keep it in line with the company’s expansion plans. Whilst the current content can be viewed by everyone, in the future, the client is planning to add subscription-only content, both in text and podcast formats.

Innovative business ethos is reflected in the new website design & user experience. Click To Tweet

About sales-mind

The difference between the training provided by sales-mind and other sales training companies is that sales-mind training focuses on the challenges and mindsets of the salespeople themselves, rather than looking only at ways of persuading the customers to buy, which is the way they used to do things back in the ‘70s.

The advances in communications since the era of flares and terrible haircuts have profoundly changed the way customers research and buy products and services. With everyone being able to access as much information about products and services as they need, they respond differently – and often negatively – to ‘traditional’ sales techniques.

sales-mind training takes this change in consumer psychology into account. The sales mindset is no longer applied to the consumer, but is focused on the salesperson’s own mental strengths with regard to the softer sales skills of focus, resilience, motivation, self-belief and empathy.

This kind of training is designed to be thought-provoking and motivational, giving sales teams and business development managers the tools they need to help them become more effective and engaged brand ambassadors.


If you would like us to design and future-proof your new website, call us on 01992 582 824 for a chat about your requirements.

As a matter of fact: using truth to improve SEO rankings

You can barely open a newspaper or news website without being bombarded with warnings about the predominance of fake news and so-called ‘alternative facts’. Political factions of all sides may be using them to convince supporters to side with them, but anything less than provable truth simply will not do when it comes to using content marketing to improve SEO rankings.

It’s all about positioning your brand as trustworthy and transparent.

Look at the fun people have had with lambasting the President of the United States and his team for their liberal use of the phrase ‘alternative facts’ and how they have affected the President’s credibility. When it comes to content marketing, you definitely do not want to give the same impression to potential customers and clients!

The way to build and maintain trust in your brand is to be above reproach. And when it comes to writing content, this means being very careful to quote reliable sources and only provide links to respected websites.

Writing content as though you’re writing for the BBC will ensure your brand has a good reputation. Click To Tweet

Unreliable sources

Anything that isn’t corroborated by another source is unreliable, however much you want to believe it. Fake facts are cropping up all the time at the moment, especially on social media where they go around the world like wildfire. Yet just because there’s a photo of someone famous and a great quote written next to it, it doesn’t mean to say it’s true in any way. In fact, these urban myths are so prevalent, they’ve generated fact checking websites, such as, which only exist to show what’s true and what’s false. These websites are exceedingly busy in the current political climate.

Joke/satire news sites – the internet has bred a new genre of website that publish openly made-up joke news stories, usually as a reaction to real news. The Onion, NewsThump, The Poke and the Daily Mash are the better known ones, but more are popping up all the time and they can look very much like a ‘real’ news website. So make sure you don’t quote a story written by one by accident! A spoof story about the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in The Onion was recently retweeted by… the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer! Unfortunately, Spicer didn’t make it clear whether or not he understood the content was satirical, leaving scratching its virtual head about his motivation for the retweet; needless to say, this ambiguity did nothing to enhance his credibility.

Clickbait the people who write clickbait headlines are very clever. However much you try to avoid them, you can’t help but be drawn to their sensationalist temptations. But all they want you to do is click through as every click results in advertising revenues – the more clicks, the more revenue; therefore the greater the pressure on companies to churn out more and more outrageous stories. And the more popular as a revenue stream clickbait becomes, the less important it is that the stories are accurate or even true, leaving you with the question, how can you trust what you’re reading?

The short answer is, you can’t. By diluting facts with misinformation, you lose trust.

Wikipedia Wikipedia is a wonderful website, and is a great starting point when you’re researching your content as it summarises the basics. Just don’t quote it as a source because it’s open source website that anyone can log in to and make changes – this has led to a lot of untruths becoming well known ‘fake news’ stories and ‘alternative facts’.

On his TV programme Modern Life is Goodish, the comedian Dave Gorman told a story which illustrates this point perfectly. On his Wikipedia page – presumably as a joke – someone had added a sentence to his biography about the time that Dave hitchhiked around the Pacific Rim. The problem being, it wasn’t true. What’s more, one local newspaper wrote a piece about him, quoting this ‘fact’. This example of sloppy journalism simply devalues the quality of that local newspaper. And is a prime example of why you must never quote Wikipedia without double-checking that the ‘fact’ has come from a reliable source… then quote the reliable source instead.

So what is a reliable source?

A reliable source of information comes from an organisation with strict editorial guidelines focusing on accuracy, impartiality, honesty and truth. For example, the first item on the list of the BBC’s editorial values is ‘Trust’, which basically encompasses all the other qualities listed such as truth, accuracy, impartiality, fairness, integrity etc. Therefore, you can guarantee that a story on the BBC news website is from a high quality, reliable source – your readers know that, and so does Google, meaning your blog is not only more believable and trustworthy, it’s also more likely to come higher on those all-important Google rankings.

The broadsheet newspapers such as The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian and the Financial Times are similarly committed to high quality journalism, according to their editorial guidelines, and are therefore good sources to quote and provide links to. (Interestingly enough, The Times newspaper does not publish its editorial guidelines on its website.)

Newspapers often publish stories based on new studies which are a rich seam of high-quality source materials. You can generally trust results which are first published in scientific and academic journals as they are peer-reviewed, and have usually gone through a thorough vetting procedure.

Write like a BBC journalist

When you’re writing a blog or other content as a way of kindling trust in your brand, it’s imperative that you are fair, objective and, most importantly, truthful. BBC journalists are respected around the world as a result of strict adherence to this policy, so if you want your brand to have a good reputation, write content as though you’re writing for the BBC.