Linking to articles you come across is a wonderful way of sharing information with your audience.
It adds interest and value to your website, newsletter or social media presence, gives your connections and followers fodder for thought and fosters conversation – all good things. Besides that, it saves you time by letting you share valuable content without having to generate every word yourself. With all this going for linking, you want to be sure you’re doing it ethically and well. It’s easy to follow the correct protocols for linking if you know what they are. This helpful article by Julie Rains examines the right and wrong ways to link to other people’s content. How many of these tips are new to you?
- Don’t steal! Many authors are happy to have you help distribute their articles, as long as they are properly credited. Posting someone else’s work without citation, however, is taking what isn’t yours. If you want to repost an article in its entirety then try to get permission from the creator or site owner. Then be sure to link to the original author and cite the source when you repost. Some organizations don’t like to have their work reposted at all and others welcome it with or without citation. Find out what the policy is and then follow it to the letter. If the author of a piece you really want to share objects to the reprint, you can still generate commentary on the article and link to it at the source.
- Link freely and well. Linking, as opposed to reprinting, can be done with no complications. With the multitude of content streams available today there are sure to be plenty of great articles you’d like to share with your circles through linking, and that’s a win-win-win situation. Authors are more widely read, your followers benefit from the information you share, and you become an information hub and increase your reputation as a thought leader in the midst of the current ideas. You’ll also gain new contacts with people who are interested in the topics under discussion in your links. Do it nicely by using descriptive words for the actual hyperlink, as in “right and wrong ways to link” or “applying Blue Ocean Strategy to social media.”
- Add value. The best way to link to content is by sharing your thoughts on it, summarizing and critiquing the ideas it contains in a way that’s tailored for your audience. How does the article relate to your industry niche, your experiences or your stance on an issue? Which points are most valuable, and with which do you disagree? Was anything important omitted? What can you add to the topic? One of the wonderful aspects of linking is the real conversation it generates. You may find your readers have a different take on the article, or see insights in it that you missed. You teach and learn not only through the specific link, but also through the responses and discussion that follow.
- All done. You don’t need to ask permission to link to someone’s work, nor do you need to send thanks unless you feel particularly moved to do so. (If you do want to let the author know you valued the work enough to link to it, you may certainly say so in a comment on the original post or an email to the author.) The corollary is also true, in that the author is by no means obligated to thank you or repay you by including a link to your work. Linking to a great article is a simple transaction with no strings attached.
Now go find a fascinating article and link away, amazing your friends and associates with the superbly on-point post, and be confident that your linking etiquette is perfect!