Is your PR fake news?

Since Donald Trump became president, there has been an awful lot of talk about “fake news.”  The term is now routinely used on news programs, White House briefings, congressional hearings and even PR symposiums.

My understanding is that President Trump coined the phrase.  He likes giving names to people or issues he doesn’t like or who disagree with him.  For some reason, the tactic works for him.

In the public relations, seo services and marketing business, we put out news on a regular basis.  That’s our job, well, at least, part of it.  So if we distribute a news release that makes a claim, and someone disagrees with the claim, does that give them the right to call our release fake news?

This hasn’t happened, but it got me thinking.  In a short amount of time, the term fake news has taken on a life of its own.  And anybody who wants to deny facts, can simply label it fake news and everybody knows what he/she is talking about.

That’s why when we write a news release and make a claim for a client, we always back it up with facts.  It could be a study.  It could be a credible news source or individual.  But we’ve been doing this long before Trump became president.  It is something every organization or corporation should do.  If you claim to be the “best” or “biggest” or “most-respected” or whatever, you need to cite a source.  That’s one of the rules of a submission to Wikipedia.  When a claim or fact is stated, it needs a citation.  If not, the article will be flagged to make the reader aware that it lacks backing.

So keep that in mind.  In your PR, whether it is a news release or social media posting, back up your claims with reliable facts.  Otherwise, someone may come along and with a few keystrokes, label it “fake news.”