Writing a legal blog post on a subject you know well is something that all blog owners strive to do. Establishing yourself and your website as an authority is improved by writing about your own knowledge or expertise. Unfortunately, when you are blogging for a legal audience failing to cite your sources could lead to trouble. No matter how authoritative you believe you are in a world of constantly shifting laws with a 24-hour news cycle posting incorrect information can lead to major problems. Understanding why citing sources matters will help you avoid finding yourself in a sticky online situation.
Citing sources is often an exercise in honesty. No matter how educated you are it is normal to reach out to a peer to check your own fact or benefit from their knowledge. When this happens citing your sources shows that you are intellectually honest. Without proper citation you are passing off the knowledge you obtained from another source as your own. This does yourself a disservice and potentially harms your professional colleagues who benefit from being cited personally or professionally. Giving credit is extremely important no matter how short or trivial you believe the blog post to be.
Strengthen to Your Argument
The Internet is filled with people who believe that they are experts on certain subjects even when they do not have any actually experience or education on the topic. For that reason, readers often take the content they find in certain blogs with a grain of salt. Citing sources gives strength to your argument by showing that others agree with the point you are making. More importantly, it shows that you were so secure in the accuracy of your knowledge that you took the time to provide the reader with additional information on the topic from a source you knew agreed with you.
There is nothing worse than being very publicly wrong on a topic that you are presenting yourself as an expert on. Searching for and citing sources helps you fact check your own writing prior to posting it. Looking for sources gives you an opportunity to verify that you are presenting information accurately. If you are unable to find a relevant source chances are your information is not accurate. Remember, even if you delete a blog post or an inaccurate passage the Internet is known for its ability to record and distribute information indefinitely especially if that information is causing someone else embarrassment.
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