You might think the most important part of a successful blog post lies in killer content, or a compelling tone, or even a click-bait-laden title. And while these tools are used by countless bloggers around the Web to draft outstanding posts, an oft-overlooked aspect that’s just as essential is the quality of the resources used as references in creating these posts.

It might seem like you’re simply sharing some interesting or useful information with your readers. But the truth is, you’re doing much more than that; every blog post you write not only delivers content to your audience, but also shapes their perception of you, your brand, and your authority and expertise. That’s why using only high-quality, primary sources for your content is critical.

Forget citing open-source, user-generated content sites like Wikipedia. These sites are a bad idea for anyone writing a blog post for the same reason they’re a bad idea for anyone writing an academic paper: they are not authoritative sources, and because they can be edited by literally anyone, they are subject to revisions that can destroy the value of any citation they provide.

A better place to start is with actual news articles, which, while not always primary sources themselves, often draw on high-quality, first-hand sources for their own content. Better yet, many of them provide links or citations directly to the primary sources used, allowing you to narrow your search quickly and incorporate solid references into your own writing.

Other potential research aids include social media feeds, video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, and Internet content collectors such as StumbleUpon and Delicious (remembering always that these sites are jumping-off points, and not necessarily solid resources in themselves).

When you’re drafting your next killer blog post, remember it’s only as good as the quality of your sources. Thorough research, review of primary sources, and proper citation will help you create posts that establish your authority, speak to your reader’s interests, and turn help turn browsers into followers and clients.

Secrets of a Killer Blog Post (Resources)

Check out the rest of this series for more killer secrets!

Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Sources

Great content doesn’t just come from words on the screen. It comes from research. Emulate the top bloggers in your niche, but do it in your own way.

Research For Content

The second type of research involves looking for information to include in your blog posts.

Search Via Social Media

In addition to your usual research tactics, consider doing research on social media sites.

Evaluating Your Sources

If you’re not sure about the credibility of a source, use these tips to see how well it stands up.

Cite Your Sources

An amazing asset of the Internet is that many people are willing to share their information, but at a small cost, of course. They are going to at least expect a link back or some kind of attribution. There are copyright laws, but no strict rules about how exactly you should attribute the sources.