If you’re a business blogger – or a blogger in general – you’ll want to keep one technical writing tool in mind whenever possible: hyperlinks.
Learn how to use them. And learn how to love them. Just don’t love them too much.
What am I talking about?
How about keeping your readers on your blog or business site for as long as possible, getting them acquainted with and excited about who you are and what you do, or drawing their attention to products you sell?
Better yet, with hyperlinks, you can do this without being one of those pushy, slimy salespeople. All you need to do is mention in passing some subject you’ve already written about or an item/service you sell, then add the link to said blog post or product.
Take a topic I touched on last week. You can click the link below if you want to read it in its entirety, but in case you don’t, here’s the first relevant section:
When it comes to creative writing, particularly novel writing, there are just some errors that should not be published – at least three of which I’m finding in the newest book I bought.
I’ll admit right here and now that I’m going to sound like a total writing snob with this post. So let me clarify a few things off the bat:
1. I don’t treat novice writers like this. My creative writing clients – in fact all my editing clients – get my respect, my understanding and my guidance.
2. I very well remember my own mistakes from past novel manuscripts, such as being over-the-top melodramatic, using really hokey comparisons and adding in elements that did not need to be added in.
On top of that, I very well remember my more recent mistakes, such as giving too much setting detail, getting too far inside my characters’ heads, and using way too many adverbs. And while I’m very happy to say that I or my editor catch the most glaring of those mistakes during the editing process, I fully recognize that I’m not a perfect writer.
3. There are definitely authors out there who make me go, “I want to be you when I grow up!”
It’s just that this particular author isn’t one of them.
I stumbled across this woman, who I’ll be nice and not name, on Amazon two weeks ago. Her novel had a compelling front cover and an intriguing concept. Plus it was set during the Revolutionary War, and the plot involved an American girl and a British soldier.
Let’s stop right there, since, obviously, I used a hyperlink. Why? Because I wrote a novel about that very topic too! So without being pushy or salesy or braggadocios about how utterly awesome it is, I just added a link to the novel in question, Maiden America.
If readers want to notice the font color difference and click on it to learn more, wonderful. If not, that’s okay too. That’s not the main point of the this particular blog post. So they’re more than welcome to move right along if they’d like…
This was my competition. I had to check it out!
Turns out she’s not much competition after all though, even if she’s apparently an award-winning novelist. Why? Because of the following mistakes she makes throughout the book…
Overused Character Names: The characters say each other’s names. All. The. Time.
Something such as, “Mother, I need to fetch some water” will perchance be followed by, “That’s fine, Martha. Here’s the pail,” which in turn could lead to the very next dialogue line of, “Thank you so much, Mother.”
Why is that wrong? Well, for one thing, it’s highly repetitive. Seeing the same words every other sentence gets old when it’s used seven to 15 times per page. (No, I’m not exaggerating.)
It’s also unrealistic. That’s not how we normally speak today, and I sincerely doubt it’s how the early Americans did either.
When we know who we’re addressing, and the person we’re talking to knows who we’re addressing, there really isn’t any reason to say their name unless we’re trying to emphasize something or make sure they’re listening to us.
So it comes across very unnaturally otherwise.
(If you're a novice writer and you made that error, don't worry! It's a common enough mistake and it's easily fixed – before you get published.)
Clearly, there are no hyperlinks in that section. In fact, there are none for several paragraphs more. So for the purposes of this show-and-tell blog post, we’ll skip some stuff and move on to the next one mentioned:
Really Predictable Events: I think I read three chapters before I figured out exactly the kind of drama that was going to happen at some point in the book. Blame it on the writing style or the melodramatic manner the author stated certain details with, but I just knew there was going to be a damsel in distress scene.
Damsel in distress scenes, or DIDs, happen when a fair maiden gets accosted by some bounder or cad, only to be rescued from a fate worse than death by some knight in shining armor who rides in to save the day.
I’m not trying to make light of that kind of situation. I promise. It’s simply that the way so many writers handle them doesn’t do actual damsels any justice.
The reason why I added another hyperlink there is because I did an Innovative Editing Author of the Month interview with Lia Mack, author of Waiting for Paint to Dry, which covers the topics of rape, rape-related PTSD and what it takes to overcome it.
It’s a fascinating interview that deserves to be highlighted in and of itself. But mentioning it there is also a great way to keep readers interested in how my business works and what it offers.
Just one word of caution about using hyperlinks, as already implied above. Don’t overuse them. If your copy looks like a sea of blue or underlines, you’re doing something wrong.
Part of hyperlinks’ power is their differing colors and emphases. They stand out in all the black and white, or light grey and dark grey, or whatever color scheme your business or blog operates with.
So use these writing tools sparingly.
Then step back and let your clients keep coming to you. Because that's what hyperlinks are for.