How Your Content Can Go Beyond Surface Level and Fight Misinformation

How Your Content Can Go Beyond Surface Level and Fight Misinformation
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How do you combat misinformation? By becoming thoroughly informed. This is the difference between true knowledge and surface-level information.

Ask yourself … do you truly know the subject you’re writing about or are you only skimming the surface? The secret to creating next-level, great content, lies in having a deep understanding of the topic you’re covering.

It also helps prevent unintentional misinformation.

The film “Don’t Look Up” is based on this very theme: How misinformation can spread and have truly dire consequences for those who don’t do their own research or take the time to “look up”… the truth that is.

Why the overflow of superficial content? Social media may be to blame, along with a lack of knowledge on a topic. With influencers rushing to produce as much content as possible to feed their followers, without taking the time to do due diligence, the world is becoming oversaturated with surface-level, or just plain wrong, information. This information spreads and eventually enough people believe it.

How Your Content Can Go Beyond Surface Level and Fight Misinformation

Controlling the narrative can have dire consequences

Adam McKay wrote and directed Netflix’s film, “Don’t Look Up” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. The film focuses on a comet that’s hurtling toward earth and is set to make impact in approximately 6 months. Scientists (DiCaprio and Lawrence) struggle to not only inform the public, but to ensure the public takes the threat seriously.

Spoiler alert — they don’t.

Their campaign to inform the public is instead polluted with a counter-campaign — don’t look up. The purpose is to hide the truth from the public, while minimizing the gravity of the situation. All this so the comet can be mined for trillions of dollars.

“Don’t Look Up” is an extreme yet great example of the power media has on the public.  There’s a comet heading toward the earth but the narrative is controlled, resulting in indifference across the globe.

Some quotes from the film that stood out ( for all the wrong reasons):

  • “Let’s not be dramatic here.”: When trying to get their point across about the comet, the scientists are told, “let’s not get dramatic here.” Because why be dramatic about certain doom?
  • “Are we not being clear?”: You can feel the frustration as Lawrence’s character has a fit on a morning show, as the hosts jovially continue the show even after being told about the comet. 
  • “Keep the bad news light.“: Why do they downplay the severity of the news they just received? The morning show aims to keep the bad news light, even when the news is very, very bad indeed.

Don’t fall into the same trap with your content. Here’s how you can combat misinformation by starting with content and delivery that is not just surface level.

Create in-depth content

How to create in-depth content in 3 steps

Content, when used correctly, can help your audience make a decision, whether it’s to purchase a product or service, or in this case, take steps to help save the world.

Let’s consider how you can create in-depth content that doesn’t just skim the surface.

1. Think before you write or share

We’ve all heard the saying, “think before you speak,” but this applies to writing as well. Maybe we should consider this to be more specific — think before you share information.

When curating content, are you familiar with the source and are they trustworthy? It’s important not to blindly share content. Do your own research and if you find samples that back this up, and you’ve done your due diligence on your source, you’re more likely to prevent the spread of “junk news.”

2. Understand your topic

Albert Einstein famously said, “if you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If you find yourself struggling to explain your topic in as few words as possible,  you probably need to do some more research and ensure you have a deeper understanding of what you’re trying to convey.

Having a deep understanding of your topic will nurture conversations, whether you’re sharing on social media or a blog. Don’t write something you can’t back up later with additional details. Great content spurs conversation, and an in-depth understanding of your content will keep the dialog flowing and result in a truly engaged audience.

3. Always be authentic

When creating content, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Your audience can see right through this. The truer you are to yourself, the more you’ll relate to your readers and the easier it will be to share content that makes an impact. Pinpoint your voice and tone and keep it consistent. Your voice is your personality, and it should shine through your writing.

Your tone is your mood, and it can and should shift depending on the topic you’re covering. This is where the morning show hosts in “Don’t Look Up” got it wrong. They adopted a tone that was upbeat regardless of the circumstances being reported.

examples of brands with in-depth content

4 real-world examples of brands with in-depth content

Looking to be inspired? Here’s a roundup of content that does more than skim the surface:

1. The HOW Channel by Publicis Sapient focuses on providing video content that’s centered around helpful advice and takeaways for businesses. They’ve transformed the way content is shared by adapting to aligning with a digital-first strategy. 

2. Parsley Health Guides provides content around health and wellness. Using ebooks, videos and professional advice, this company has positioned itself as an expert and thought leader in its niche. From free online courses to guides to clean eating, there’s a lot of great info to digest on the site. 

3. Home Depot isn’t just out to sell you lawn furniture and power tools. The brand wants to make sure you know how to use their products and use them well. With advice from lawn care to fence building, Home Depot has positioned itself as a brand that wants you to be successful in your home improvement endeavors. 

4. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Patagonia in this roundup. This powerhouse of a brand doesn’t simply sell environmentally friendly clothing.  Take a look at its Instagram page and you won’t see a brand trying to sell you things. No, rather the company uses its reach to spread a message, “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

Combat misinformation in content

Combat misinformation in content

“Don’t Look Up” is based on misinformation and how the public is blind to issues happening before us. The movie is a clever allegory for climate change and the news that doesn’t make it to the headlines.

Content creators can apply these lessons to amplify their own work. This ensures that the content you provide your audience is authentic, valuable, and conversation-sparking. The brands highlighted above are doing it right. They aren’t simply selling, they’re sharing valuable content that makes a difference. Get inspired to dive deep and your brand will make an impact that goes way beyond the surface.

Ask yourself… do you truly know the subject you’re writing about or are you only skimming the surface? The secret to creating next-level content lies in having a deep understanding of the topic you’re covering. #writing #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

About the author

Brenda Percy

Brenda Percy is a writer and editor with a background in technology, marketing, and journalism. She's written content for businesses of various sizes and industries throughout her nearly two decades of experience.