Cite Unseen: Best Practices for Citing Online Sources

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It is hard enough finding just the right sources to support online content as it is being researched and written. After this is accomplished, however, not only do the sources have to be used seamlessly in the piece, but there is the whole problem of citing sources in online content. Using best practices in citing online sources is important because it adds credibility to the created content, and it also makes it easy for readers to investigate these sources if they so desire to do so.

Proper Attribution: The Holy Grail of Online Content

When writing online content for marketing, many areas seem to be gray, but plagiarism is not one of them. Like most professional pieces of literature, online content loses all value when it is copied from somewhere else. Proper attribution is absolutely necessary when writing this content. In fact, citing sources in online content is much more important than whether or not the source is directly quoted, summarized or paraphrased. Any of these techniques is fine as long as it is used in moderation.

What is the Proper Way of Citing Sources For Online Content?

Unlike those tedious citations in high school and college that involved parentheses, quotes, dashes, authors’ names, and page numbers, when it comes to online content, citations can be formatted as the writer sees fit. The thing to remember is that the citation should properly link back to claims that it supposedly supports. If for example, content claims that ESPN reported that a certain product added years to a football player’s career, then that content needs to link exactly to the place that ESPN reported this information. This type of attribution and transparency will build trust with prospective customers while giving content more meat and power.

An example of a citation may look something like this when listed at the end of an article or blog.

Sources:

BCI Media Services Blog or http://www.bcimedia.com/blog.
Sources can also be hyperlinked directly within the text as long as it supports the context of your content.

In the end, citing sources in online content is simply the right thing to do. Customers will appreciate honesty and integrity that is found in powerfully worded, informative pieces that use reliable sources to back up any substantial claims.