According to siegemedia, 52% of business leaders are currently using AI content generation tools to assist their content marketing efforts. That’s more than half of the businesses involved in the research. By looking at that number, I think it’s time for us to sit back a little and consider where content creation and writing are heading with this technology in our hands.
While AI-induced content generation is peaking right now, we have to acknowledge that artificial intelligence has its drawbacks in this field. AI can only create content that it has knowledge of. If it has knowledge of something, it means that the content already exists and was learned by artificial intelligence. So, AI basically can only re-create what has already been published.
Plus, AI doesn’t have an opinion on its own. It cannot form its own judgment and it doesn’t have a personal view on anything. Thus, the content it creates is objective and can be very dull and characterless.
In addition, AI is not always right. Although there are fewer and fewer hallucinations in the contents generated by AI, it can happen any time that AI generates texts containing false and made-up information.
To overcome such issues with writing blog posts or articles with AI, we have to implement some practices that make our content reliable and enjoyable to read. One of the best ways to do that is by including references. Let’s talk about how to do that the right way.
Why References Are Important
When you include external sources in your articles or blog posts, they can significantly enhance the quality of your content. According to the article of Falcon Scientific Editing, there are many benefits of references included in articles:
- If you have external sources for the information you discuss in your articles, people can quickly click on the link you provide, and check the facts for themselves. It is very convenient for the readers who want to get to know more about the topic.
- When you have several sources mentioned in your article, you will seem very thorough and precise. The more detailed your articles are, the more enjoyable and more informative they get.
- External references obviously build a lot more credibility than only stating the information without any foundation. You can become more reliable and much more of an expert in the topic if you include information outside of your website.
- Providing more information for the readers means that it will become easier for them to understand and have a greater and clearer picture of the content.
It’s clear that references are important and must be included in your work, but how do you decide what to include and how to include them? Let’s see how to do this in practice.
Types of References To Include in Articles
There is plenty of information out there you can include in your articles that will enrich your content. Based on the topic, it’s your job to decide what type of reference you would like to use in your blog posts:
- Statistics: It’s always good to lay a foundation for your claims with some numbers. Data and statistics are great components of any content. They are interesting, eye-catching, and valuable.
- Interesting thoughts: If you’ve read someone say something interesting on the topic you are writing about, feel free to quote them! Acknowledge others’ insights but make sure you reference them precisely and directly. The article of theedublogger summarizes perfectly how you can quote people in your blog posts.
- Tips: Many articles and blog posts include tips or best practices. It’s okay to use these as long as you indicate where you got the tips from. It’s always a plus if you can take this even further and add your own insights and opinions on these practices.
- Summarizing the whole article: If you find an article that relates to your topic completely, and you think it will add great value to your content, summarize the article and explain how it adds to your subject.
You can choose which type of reference is most suitable for your text, or you can even combine these and add multiple types to make your content more colorful. Now, it’s time to talk about how to include these.
Best Practices for Implementing References in Your Blog Posts
If you decide to include external sources in your articles, there are some fundamental rules you have to follow to make sure you are doing it the right way. Let me share with you the most important practices to keep in mind:
- Make sure you link the references. The links should direct readers to the exact place where you found the information. You want your audience to easily find the source if they are curious about the topic and want to read more.
- It’s also advised to include links and articles that are free for access to everyone. Your readers may not want to pay extra for the content. It can be frustrating when something catches your attention and you find out you’ll be charged if you want to read further.
- You should also indicate the name of the blog, company, or institute you got the information from. Whether that’s only a thought, some statistical data, or research they have done, the fair way to do it is by displaying their name before you share their content. A simple “according to XY”, or “based on the research of XY” does the job. Just look at the first sentence of this article. It’s as simple as that.
- Another very crucial point is to fact-check everything. Ensure that the content you include is accurate. Use other resources to confirm any information you put out there.
- The next thing connects to my previous point. I would recommend only including references that are no more than 2 years old. Everything around us changes so quickly, so if the content is not up-to-date, it might not be applicable anymore within the topic.
- Lastly, don’t overdo it. Don’t add too many references. Focus more on your own thoughts and ideas, and use the external ones only as your bonus to enrich your content.
- When you use AI to write your articles, make sure you provide it with the exact information you want to be written in there, with the links, and precise name you are referring to.
If you consider these practices, your content will be interesting, backed by evidence, while still maintaining a unique vibe.
In summary, using AI like ChatGPT for content creation is useful, but it has its limits. It's important to include up-to-date references in your articles to make them more credible and interesting.
Even if you write with AI, make sure you rule the writing process and monitor what gets included in there. Balancing AI-generated content with your own insights and carefully chosen references will make your writing more engaging and trustworthy. Remember, the success of your content lies in blending AI assistance with your unique perspective.
So, what are your thoughts on using AI for content creation and the importance of references? Let’s discuss it further together!