About Our Code of Ethics
"Our mission at IMPACT is to be the #1 teacher in the digital sales and marketing space for growth-focused business leaders and professionals."
Whether it be written, video, or otherwise, all content published on our website is held to the IMPACT Code of Ethics.
As a publisher and online educator, these are the values we expect to be reflected by everything that gets put in front of our audience, especially under the IMPACT name.
Since 2009, IMPACT has been a respected thought leader in the digital marketing content space. We deliver information that is not only of the highest quality, but also the most trustworthy and helpful, as we seek to create heroes, grow businesses, and change lives in the digital sales and marketing space.
As a contributor (whether you are employed by IMPACT or partnering with us as an external sponsor, contributor, or freelancer), you play a vital part in upholding this reputation when sharing your experience, advice, and perspectives on our website.
Our ethical standards will guide you in this.
As an IMPACT contributor in a dynamic, competitive, digital era, you may be faced with ethical dilemmas:
- Should I accept compensation in return for positive coverage?
- Should I ignore the flaws in this brand or product?
- Should I take a stance on a socially-charged issue?
These are just some of the conflicts this Code should help you navigate.
By embracing the spirit of the five following pillars of our code of ethics in every piece of content you create for IMPACT, you will help us accomplish our goal of delivering the most honest, innovative insights available to business, marketing, and sales leaders.
Furthermore, you also position yourself as a trustworthy, reliable thought leader in your area of expertise.
If you ever have questions about a dilemma or conflict of interest, consult Managing Editor Ramona Sukhraj. Otherwise, please read through this carefully and apply it to all aspects of your work with IMPACT.
1. Honest, thorough, and transparent
Honesty is the best policy in life — and in content.
As described in They Ask, You Answer, people only choose to buy or do business with you when they trust you. This trust is what sets you up to be seen and accepted as the #1 educator in your space — and this begins with honesty.
If a situation arises where you could be considered biased (i.e. discussing your company, the company you work for, a client, partner, etc.), disclose it.
For example, if we ever highlight client work in a “best examples list” on IMPACT’s website, we always overtly declare the relationship.
You should also be transparent about any updates or changes made to your content after the initial publication date. If we historically optimize an article, for instance, we will leave an editor’s note stating such and explaining why the changes were made.
The same should be done if the article is updated or changed to reflect recent developments or new data.
2. Current, factual, and sound
Digital sales and marketing are fields that constantly develop and change. As such, the information you share must be as up-to-date, factual, and sound as possible at the time of publication.
For example, if you mention a statistic from 2018 to support your claims, but that statistic has changed in 2020, the most recent data supersedes the older. You should reference the more recent data point instead, and cite accordingly.
Similarly, if you’re writing an article on search engine optimization and keywords, your advice should be based on current best practices and knowledge. Recommending keyword stuffing, for instance, would not be sound.
Additionally, do not make empty claims. If you make a statement, back it up with research, data, or a practical “why.” You can draw upon personal experience as the basis for any claims you make. However, even in those situations, you should always strive to support your claims with something objective if possible.
3. Original, researched, and properly sourced
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you use someone else’s work or words, you must quote and/or credit them.
Be explicit about where you get your information or images by citing your sources overtly with a name, title, and hyperlink if available. If the source requires more elaborate acknowledgment, you must abide by its crediting guidelines.
In addition, always credit and guide readers to the original source for any data, research, or other facts from other parties, organizations, or individuals. For instance, if an article in the Wall Street Journal references a study by the American Marketing Association (AMA), linking to the AMA is preferable to linking to WSJ.
But original doesn’t just mean in your own words — It means original approaches and points of view.
Anyone can publish the basics. Readers turn to IMPACT because we have that and more.
They look to us to have their eyes opened to new, thought-provoking ideas and outside-of-the-box tactics.
So, don’t just share the same textbook definitions and practices readers can get from any other source. The content you create for IMPACT should show advanced insight and thought.
Challenge the status quo. Discuss the topics other organizations shy away from like price, the competition, or the problems that exist with conventional methods.
We want to equip our audience with all of the knowledge, skills, and perspectives they need to make the right decisions to grow their businesses and be seen as heroes.
Content that doesn’t lead to some sort of change in the reader’s understanding, organization, or actions is not content providing value.
4. Intuitive, thoughtful, and predictive
No matter the medium or subject matter, always keep our readers top of mind. What would they want to know? What do they need to know?
When it comes to your content, you want to anticipate their wants and needs; their questions and concerns.
This is the main guiding principle of They Ask, You Answer and the criteria by which we judge if content is “complete.” Do not assume that any information is “a given” and leave no practical question unaddressed.
When strategizing your content, put yourself in the audience’s shoes and ask yourself what you would expect to walk away knowing.
Be prepared to answer the “obvious” questions — but then go a level deeper. What other potential follow-up questions or objections might your reader have in response to the information you've presented? Address them proactively.
If you do not readily have a reliable answer to the question, that’s okay. Remember point number one — Be transparent and candid and state that.
Let the audience know that you do not have all of the information yet, but based on what you do know, this is what you think, expect, or predict.
Also, don’t be afraid to link out to another resource if it will accomplish this goal. It’s better to have a question addressed with an externally sourced answer than ignored altogether.
5. Genuine, selfless, and constructive
Your content must be genuine in its goal of helping the reader improve; of providing them value through education, entertainment, or empowerment.
For over a decade, IMPACT has been a resource trusted by millions of people at all corners of the globe. Every point in this Code of Ethics exists to keep us honest in this pursuit and to always do right by our audience; to put their interests above our own.
This means abiding by a simple 80-20 rule when it comes to self-promotion — 80% of your content should be customer-focused and no more than 20% should be self-serving. You are here to help, not sell.
While our readers share much in common, like us, they each live and work under unique circumstances. With this in mind, in order to deliver accurate, effective, and reliable advice, you need to be able to discuss any topic from an objective stance.
Yes, we all have our personal opinions, and you can most definitely share yours in the content you create for us, but you must also be able to put those opinions aside to discuss things based on data and facts when necessary.
Regardless of your personal opinions and relationships, always deliver constructive criticism. Whether it is a product review or a feature on a product, do not ignore shortcomings. Be ready to discuss these as openly as the positives, but this is also not the place for a personal rant.
You must be fair to the subject and the competition.
In most instances, we avoid discussing politics and politicians, but depending on the context, again, you should take a neutral stance.
For instance, you may need to reference a politician or a political party, as they are involved in a breaking or recent digital sales and marketing news development. Regardless of your personal opinions or political affiliations, you must present that information without bias.
The same goes for politically or socially-charged topics unless the stance aligns with IMPACT’s greater values, culture, and beliefs. Please consult our Head of Editorial Content regarding these situations prior to creating content.
Overall, to do right by our audience, we aim to give them all of the information we can, good and bad.
We want to empower them to make the right decision for themselves and grow their businesses — even if it doesn’t align with our interests.
On this, we will not compromise.
Share with us
Once again, if you ever have questions about a dilemma, conflict of interest, or the points in this Code of Ethics, please consult our managing editor. Otherwise, use this as your friend and guide in content success.
When creating content for IMPACT, you are joining an elite group of some of the industry’s sharpest minds and greatest thought leaders and we are honored to have you.
With these points in hand, we are confident you will go forth to successfully share the stories, advice, and experiences only you can.
Created: Ramona Sukhraj, Head of Editorial Content
Last Updated: August 21, 2020