It’s so easy to speak your mind online.
In fact, it’s so easy that amateur writers are constantly sharing thoughts that have no basis in anyone else’s reality. You can visit the Huffington Post and flip through a dozen well-written and compelling articles until you find one that accurately cites real proof.
The internet is one big op-ed machine. Want to create content that really stands out from the rest? Find ways to prove your concepts.
Anyone can rationalize a theory. It takes proof to build it into a tangible one.
As far back as college (for those of us who remember it), we’ve been trained to present an evidence-based argument. Why have we abandoned this approach? Well…we can say whatever we want, whenever we want on the internet. It’s a whole lot easier to just speak your mind without putting time and energy into research.
A scientific approach to writing gives you credibility. It shows you’ve taken the time to do your research. The scientific method is in place for a reason; observation, measurement and experimentation explain behavior. For writers, truth seeking in journalism offers a great comparison for why evidence-based writing makes for a compelling argument. The Poynter Institute is among the many voices pleading for a science-based approach to journalism, particularly in relation to the web.
Sometimes, experts can get away with conjecturing on experiential theories. Of course, this requires you to prove your credibility on the subject matter. You do that by providing evidence of your experience and success.
Some things are just common sense. Anything outside of common sense — which is what your writing should cover if you want it to stand out — requires proof if you want to offer value to your readers.
Which indicators of proof work best?
On the granular level, numbers are perhaps the most important way to prove assertions. From a higher level, what shapes do these numbers take?
- Academic experiments: Whatever topic you write about, science can help. Sociological and scientific experiments that apply to your topic can make your argument more compelling.
- Surveys: A mainstay in the world of marketing, surveys help your credibility by presenting a popular belief or practice. The more the world agrees with you, the more credibility your writing has.
- Case studies: More granular and specific versions of experiments, case studies offer proof that a strategy works the way you say it does.
- Interviews & expert testimony: This is a narrower version of surveys. Interviews & expert testimony proves you know what you’re talking about by aligning your point with an established authority on what you’re talking about.
Sharing your perspective can be a powerful thing, but strong evidence builds an even stronger case. Rely on the right proof indicators and your readers will find a greater level of trust in your content.