Link sourcing: scouring the vast wasteland of the internet to discover the few things actually worth paying attention to.
Maybe “scouring” is too strong a term, but if you’ve done any searching for things that interest you, chances are you’ve waded through a lot of links to discover one or two that are memorable. When you share those links, you are link sourcing.
Why link sourcers are cool
When you receive a link, you think of the link sourcer as both helpful and knowledgeable. They have passed on a great tip and made you aware of something new. Even before you click, you recognize they have given you the results of their discovery time.
There is nothing more clickable than a link received from someone you really trust. Especially if they happen to mention why it is worth your time.
A trusted link sourcer is someone you want to keep in contact with.
Sometimes sourcing links is easy. For example when a friend sends you a great link and you just pass it along to others. Other times you wade through so much average to bad content you begin to doubt human potential. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you establish yourself as a link sourcer:
Say why. In a phrase or two, say why the link is important. Enable your audience to quickly decide if a link reflects their interest and is worth their time. That way, even if they don’t click through, they still appreciate that you sourced it. Keep it brief, one sentence is best.
Choose quality, always. You might be tempted to share a link to something average just because it’s the best you found and you spent a bunch of time looking. Don’t do it. How much people appreciate you as a link sourcer relates directly to the quality of the links you select. Better to not share anything than to share something that you are not willing to stand behind as definitely worthwhile.
Pace yourself. So you’ve hit the jackpot on a search and discovered three or more defensibly awesome links to share. While the links might be great, asking for too much attention can backfire. For maximum impact, spread them out over a few days.
Links you source will reflect different interests or focus, perhaps including entertainment or hobbies or professional interests. You’ll need to decide whether links related to particular interests are best for a specialized or general audience. Either way, for every link you source, there will usually be at least one good place to share it. A little planning ahead of time will make sharing with your networks easier and more consistent.
As a first step, decide where you are going to post. There are a lot of social networks out there, but your time is limited. You want to share in more than one place to maximize chances your audience can reach you. It’s also a good idea if at least one of the places you post is search engine friendly.
To further increase the ability of your audience to find and benefit from your current and past links, consider creating a unique hashtag for any ongoing areas of interest. Include that hashtag with each link you share. Most social networks support hashtags, providing an easy way for you and your friends to refer back to links you’ve shared when you want to look them up later.
To maximize your effectiveness as a link sourcer, and your ability to archive your links for your own benefit, take advantage of a site built explicitly for link sharing. Membic.org centralizes all your links, automatically manages your favorites, organizes by keywords, provides dedicated pages for each of your areas of interest, supports collaborative posting, easily shares to multiple social networks, provides newsfeeds and can be embedded in other sites.
Looking forward to seeing your links.