I know what you’re thinking: “Stephanie has finally lost her fool mind and is trying to do SEO for 140 characters!” It’s not quite that bad (yet), but I think I have to address a couple of niggles that I have with how some people take their approach to publicising their blog content. So, have a little think about the following issues before you tweet your latest content to the world.
Keep Retweets in Mind
Yesterday, I read a blog post that I found fascinating and was desperate to pass on. Just one problem: the headline alone was way over Twitter’s 140-character limit, but even after rewriting my tweet so that the title still made sense, I then couldn’t give acknowledgement about the source of the content (which I always do, to reassure my followers I am not spamming them with dodgy links). I could either tweet the blog post with a nonsensical precis, or I could offer no clues as to where it came from. Do you know what I did? In the end, I didn’t tweet it at all.
If you’re hoping do have your blog post tweeted and retweeted, try to keep it as clear and concise as possible. This allows your followers to add to their RTs, including your username and maybe even a brief comment of their own. It also means that if you are using an automated update service such as Twitterfeed, your blog title won’t be cut off and rendered incomprehensible.
Don’t Be So Mysterious
You might have come up with the wittiest blog title that has ever or will ever be written, but you know what? If I don’t know what the link attached to your tweet if offering, I’m not going to click it. I follow far too many people to click on each and every link they put out, so if yours says “A Quick Dip atthe Swimming Hole During a Family Picnic Teaches a Valuable Lesson” instead of “Why Everyone Should Learn First Aid,” I’m probably going to pass it up. If people know what to expect, they’re more likely to click the link, so unless you’re writing a comedy blog, you might want to leave the quips for the blog post itself.
Consider Your Introduction
Many people, especially those using automated services, choose to have their blog post titles preceded by a short notice to differentiate it from their other tweets. I, for instance choose the not-very-imaginative “New Blog Post.” Not to bad you might say, just 13 out of the 140 precious characters. But I separate that introduction from the main blog title with a hyphen, rather than just a colon, thus taking up another three characters. Hmmm… I should probably change that, though I have my aesthetic reasons for keeping it as it is.
If you are using an automated service that allows you to top and/or tail your tweets with additional text, be aware of this when you are crafting your blog post title. Once again, you don’t want your tweet being truncated prematurely, either when first tweeted or when retweeted. As I said, a messy tweet is off-putting and less likely to get clicks.
You Can’t Control Your Followers
Now, you might be thinking to yourself “But I use Tweetdeck, which is awesome and allows truncated tweets to be rendered in full with just a click, so all of this is irrelevant to me!” That’s all well and good; it’s irrelevant to you. For a Hootsuite junkie like me, who has no convenient means of editing tweets from your stream before retweeting them, it is an issue. You can’t guarantee that your tweets, as you seem them, look the same across all the platforms that your followers may be using. Don’t assume for you works for everyone else.
This may all seem like nit-picking and unnecessary whining about a minor issue that shouldn’t matter, but Twitter is an important means of diseminating information these days and if you can’t get your message across clearly, there’s a danger of it getting lost amongst the general chatter. Help potential readers out: give them an idea of what you’re trying t say.
[Image by Andrew Mason]