The overall aim of your blog is to help your audience with the issues they struggle with while also educating them on what they need to know to do business with you.
That’s too much responsibility for just one article, so each blog post you publish can be thought of as a piece of your content marketing strategy puzzle.
And how do you connect those puzzle pieces to keep readers engaged with your story and on your site for longer?
Internal Links: A strategic way to connect your content
I often advise writers to be selective about the hyperlinks they include in their blog posts.
While links allow you to cite external sources and provide more background information on certain topics, articles that make sense without clicking on a bunch of links are naturally easier to read.
That said, internal links to your own content are an opportunity to showcase your authority and demonstrate that your website is an excellent resource.
You just need to add links in a strategic way that doesn’t disrupt a reader’s experience.
The three guidelines about internal links below will help you find the right balance.
Internal Link Strategy #1: Plan your links
When you choose a new topic to write about, get in the habit of reviewing the content you’ve recently published, as well as your cornerstone content and landing pages for your products or services.
Start by picking three to five links, depending on the length of your blog post, and look for ways to weave in those links to the other content on your site that you want to highlight.
Better content is intentional at every stage of creation.
For example, while writing about how to avoid a rookie marketing mistake for Copyblogger, I may mention the benefits of using a call to action.
Instead of going on a tangent in that article to completely define a call to action, I’d hyperlink text that says “call to action” to a blog post on Copyblogger that explains how to use that effective copywriting standby.
The link lets your reader know that you have more information on that topic if they need it, but it doesn’t distract your reader. It’s a bit of a “soft sell.”
And what if I didn’t already have an article written about using calls to action?
Step #3 will address that question and give a quick reminder about the flexibility of blogging.
Internal Link Strategy #2: Choose intriguing words and phrases
When you know who is in your audience, you know the type of information that interests them.
As you look for the right content to link to, think about compelling words and phrases that match the experience your reader wants to get from your site.
For example, if you’re writing about a low-sugar grape jam recipe, you might also mention and link to your “dairy-free cinnamon roll recipe.”
Again, it can be a soft sell, rather than a direct call to action to check out the article.
Once you’ve drawn in a reader with your low-sugar grape jam recipe, you simply guide them to something else they might like to read about or the right product or service for their needs.
Sometimes you’ll discover these link opportunities while editing your content, so you don’t need to be too strict about identifying them all right away when you write your draft.
Internal Link Strategy #3: Let your content inspire more content
Copyblogger has been around for almost 15 years and we still use this step all of the time — but new writers will find it especially handy.
Let’s say we didn’t already have a post about calls to action on Copyblogger.
If I mentioned that term in a new post I’m writing, I would briefly explain the concept in the post and then make a note in my editorial calendar to write a more in-depth post on the topic soon.
Then, once that new article is published, I’d go back to the original blog post that sparked the idea and add the hyperlink. (Yes, it’s totally fine to update previously published posts. In fact, it’s smart.)
Everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” before you publish.
Make your content as complete as it can be and you can always optimize it later.
Spin your own content web
Links are an integral part of the internet and they allow you to create your own web of content that your audience enjoys visiting and exploring.
But you have to make adding internal links to your blog posts, podcast notes, or video descriptions a part of your content writing process.
If your content writing process could use some direction, you might be interested in my Content Writing Masterclass inside Copyblogger Pro.
The in-depth course is for writers who want an insider’s view of how to build an audience of interested prospects who know, like, and trust you.
You’ll discover practical techniques you’ll be able to use right away, so you can start creating content that attracts traffic, builds an engaged audience, and primes them to buy.
Click here to learn more about the transformational education and dynamic community of writers we have inside Copyblogger Pro.