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Are fake stories hurting Bloggers Credibility?

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This month there has been a lot of interesting debate about fake stories. More specifically, the traffic they can generate and the potential damage they can do to the authors crediblity. It all started when Money.co.uk posted a story entitled ‘13 Year Old Steals Dad’s Credit Card to Buy Hookers‘. The story reported that a 13 year old ordered a credit card through his fathers existing credit card company and then treated him and his friends to a $30,000 spending spree involving him, his friends, an xbox and of course, the hookers. The story was completely fabricated though it generated a lot of traffic for the site since it was picked up by a lot of mainstream news publications (online and offline). It was also Digged about 2500 times.

The problem with this story was that it wasn’t posted on a satirical site, it was posted on a serious site about financial issues where the reader had no reason to believe that the story was fake. The author of the story was a man named Lyndon of CornWall SEO, who promotes his Linkbaiting and Social Media Optimisation service on his website. He wrote an article on his blog explaining his side of the story but later removed it. Thankfully, WiderFunnel reproduced the story on their blog (it’s worth checking out). I don’t believe the owner of Money.co.uk realised the negative side of using this traffic technique, sure he got a lot of traffic but who is going to believe the articles printed on the site from now on are true.

Are the traffic benefits from fake stories worth losing your crediblity over?

There is a great article which summarizes this whole affair on Jonathan Crossfield’s blog entitled ‘Linkbait at any Cost?‘. He rightly points to the old story of ‘The boy who cried wolf’. How can your readers trust you after you have misled them in order to get some extra traffic?

Some blogs use link bait a lot however not all link bait can be tarred with the same brush. For every good example of link bait, there is an article which generated traffic using questionable tactics. Is writing fake stories for your blog wrong, unethical or even just plain stupid? This is something where opinions can be divided but personally I wouldn’t risk losing my credibility just to get extra traffic. James Mowery from Tech in Demand feels the same way. Today he wrote an excellent article on Performancing entitled ‘A Warning to the Blogosphere About the Potential Increase of Fake Content’. In the post he explains why he has lost faith in the blogosphere with regards to credibility. Unfortunately, I have felt the same way the last few months. I have unsubscribed from a number of blogs because I have lost faith in their integrity, whether it was because of a fake story or whether the author was completely raving about a product just to make some commissions.

An example of a fake story backfiring

Around the start of April, Jim Kukral, Sam Harrelson and Shawn Collins decided to create a fake spat between them all. They all openly threw mud at each other on each others blog and critized Jim’s new site TwitterMeThis. If you want to how it developed then please read the post I wrote about it all in April.

So what happened? Well, they later let everyone know that the whole thing was staged. Some commenters suggested that it was probably fake at the time but others did believe it and unsubscribed from the authors blogs because they were disappointed with them. I have to hold my hands up and say that even though I read others saying it was probably fake I did actually think the spat was true because after subscribing to Jim and Shawns blog for a few months I didn’t think they would be stupid enough to create something like this. I’m not sure if they created the spat for a laugh or if they did it to gain some extra traffic but in my opinion it backfired as it hurt their credibility.

Overview

Crediblity is something which is very delicate. It can take years to build up a good reputation and minutes to throw it all down the toilet. I am not disputing that some web developers have benefited from marketing fake stories to promote their sites however in my opnion it’s something top bloggers should avoid like the plague.

It’s also very important to check the reliability of a news source before you report it (sometimes this isn’t always as easy as you think). You may find you have to apologise to your readers if you report a story which turns out to be fake, at the very least you would have to explain what happened.

From a collective point of view an increase in fake stories will definately hurt the credibility of blog writers. Top news agencies might be more reluctant to link to articles on blogs, at the very least they will scrutinize them more. James Mowery made a good point when he said that ‘Bloggers are beginning to prove why journalists still have jobs’.

So what do you think. Are fake stories hurting Bloggers Credibility?


For reference, here is a list of the articles mentioned in this post :

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Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and .

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Blogging

Blogging Is Not What You Are Doing But What You Are Being

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Phew!

Think this one through.

Blogging is what you are being. Not doing.

Blogging is not mindlessly doing stuff. Oh shoot. You realized something, didn’t you? Blogging is not building an email list. Email lists do not give you success. Nope. Clear, confident, detached bloggers who have fun building email lists and who trust in the blogging process grow big, responsive, profitable lists….over time. What does this mean?

“Over time” means you do not panic, flip out or bail on blogging, if you calmly build a list and have fun doing it, for a long time, and see the appearances of little or no growth. This is BEING a successful blogger; having fun, trusting, being patient, taking the simple, easy route, even if it feels uncomfortable after blogging and list building for a bit and seeing the illusion of scant results.

Most Bloggers Fail Because They Screw It Up

Most bloggers buy into a lie; doing specific things makes you successful. Nope. If this were the case, everybody who builds a list would be billionaires. Because they built a list, lists breed success, right? Nope. Even if you follow steps robotic-like, your energy, your emotions, your feelings, all make up your BEING. The 6 and 7 and 8 figure earners who happily take this journey are being the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners energetically, calm and confident, after having fun creating content and connecting, and seeing $4 in blogging profits after 6 months of being the person. Every other blogger panics after 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, stop being the millionaire success, do dumb stuff, begin being a broke person, and see struggle and failure until they decide to be the successful blogger again.

The Core Elements of Being a Success

Blog mainly:

  • for fun
  • taking the easy but uncomfortable path; do what feels natural to you, even when you slam into fear of wasting your time, fear of being criticized, fear of mental blocks, etc
  • with a complete trust in yourself
  • with a complete trust in the blogging process
  • with a complete trust in sound, proven advice from successful bloggers

Very few bloggers be these energies persistently. Very few bloggers happily earn a pretty penny over time. Few bloggers be success. Most bloggers try to do their way to success but since they act without giving any thought to their intent, their driver, their energy, almost all of these bloggers are being broke, poor, struggling and failing.

Blogging is not robotic. If blogging was robotic, every blogger who did specific things in a certain way would succeed. But this is not true. Blogging is energy. Top bloggers use all types of different approaches to reach the top. This indicates blogging is primarily energy, your energy coloring your actions and results.

Imagine if you feel like a failure. I advise you to write a guest post for me. You tell me you are lazy, have no ideas, cannot do it, need to take a few months off, etc. I offer you an opportunity to promote your success but since you are BEING a failure and feeling like a failure you are blind to the DOINGs (generous guest posting) of a successful blogger. See what I mean? Plus, if you seize the guest posting opportunity while feeling like a complete failure, either the post quality stinks or you write a masterpiece by the odd chance, that nobody reads. Nobody read it because you are feeling/being a failure, so, you see failure results.

100% of the time, blogging is energy. Being a success means blogging your fun, doing what feels easy and natural to you, trusting in self and the process, and feeling uncomfortable along the way.

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Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?

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Aha!

The question of blogging questions.

Why does blogging seem hard?

Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.

Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.

Why?

Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.

But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.

Real World Example

A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.

Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.

But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.

Solution

Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated.  Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.

Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.

Tip for Feeling Fear

Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.

Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.

Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.

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Blogging

Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?

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No.

One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.

Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.

Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.

Example

Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.

Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.

Think Scale Not Small Time

WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.

One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.

Titans scale.

Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.

You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.

People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.

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