Back to basics: Our bloggers should link to related materials

In reading Cape Cod Times' photographer Steve Heaslip's blog post about working at the firefighter awards ceremony in Boston yesterday, it occurred to me that Steve's very good blog posts are missing links to related items within our product suite.

Let me be clear: My intention is not to pick on my old friend, Steve. There are many blogs throughout Ottaway where the practice of linking -- especially to related items on our platform -- is conspicuously absent.

The missed opportunities in Steve's post:

Likewise, from the main story: Put in Steve's blog post as a related link.

Other examples of missed link opportunities in Ottawayland:
To be fair, we also have bloggers who do seize upon internal linking opportunities:
Not every blog post has to link to something else on the site. The live blogging Russ Charpentier did from Gillette Stadium on Nov. 13, for example, for Cape Cod Online's Sports Buzz blog simply doesn't lend itself to that practice.

But when the opportunity exists, linking can only help more deeply engage the readers and provide them with more context, which are the two most important outcomes. In the Steve Heaslip example that led off this post, I guarantee every single Cape Cod firefighter who comes across either our main story or Steve's blog post would love to click through to the related items. They'd even likely share some of those links with their peers, friends and family. One of them might have a blog, too, and would love to know there was more fodder for their linking druthers.

There are lots of things that go into good blogging. I'll posit that linking is the most essential distinguishing characteristic. Otherwise, an unlinked blog post is just another column.

Note: If creating links in blog posts is something that requires more training in our Ottaway newsrooms, please let me know. I hope that's not the case, but if it is, we should address it immediately.

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