I recently wrote a marketing piece on Ginkgo Biloba. I was pleased with it.
The claims were strong and substantiated; the story was Sexy Nutrition. Part of that story: ginkgo trees are 200 million year-old “living fossils,” with individual trees living up to 3,000 years. Bafflingly, the client circled these facts in red pen and wrote “substantiation needed.”
What the heck? The Natural Health Writer is all about substantiating supplement health claims. But the Ginkgo facts had nothing to do with health! I shrugged, retraced my research, and started new research to reinforce that my ginkgo facts were strong. They were. The silver lining? On my second round of research I discovered some compelling ginkgo factoids that will make my next ginkgo piece even sexier.
The Lesson: Substantiation is essential, but it’s a slippery slope. If we as an industry start requiring substantiation for non-health related facts, we may end up needing substantiation for statements like “the sky is blue!”