For much more detailed advice, see What makes a tweet great? for ideas on writing tweets.
To get visits and retweets from a tweet, the best headline for a blog post is often a compelling summary of what the post is about. Giving the “sizzle AND the steak” in a tweet is one great technique to get people to check out what you’ve written.
Surprisingly, many writers DO write a compelling summary of their blog post, but DON’T use it in the headline. Even more surprisingly, I’ve found that many writers don’t even realize that the best headline is buried somewhere in the blog post, but see it when it’s pointed out to them.
30 seconds to writing better tweets about your blog post
So, to get more visitors to your blog when you write a tweet about a blog post, read your blog post and look for the most compelling summary of what your post is about. I’ve found that it is typically in one of three places:
- One of the first three sentences
- One of the last three sentences
- About 2/3 of the way into the blog post, after the writer begins to “hit their stride.”
Generally the statement will jump out at you (if there is a good one). And in just 30 seconds you’ve found a better headline to use in your tweet to get more visitors to your blog!
Here’s an example: @GourmetGuyMag wrote a nice piece, and about 2/3 of the way into the article put a few words in caps. I used a phrase from that partially capitalized sentence as the headline I tweeted:
- ORIGINAL TITLE: “Some Twitter Common Sense For Brands”
- FOUND STATEMENT: “Twitter is not 140-character billboard, it’s a chance to interact & listen.”
Often you can ask yourself this question “Is there a statement I can make that readers will nod their heads at when they read it?” If so, that is often a good statement to base the content of your tweet around. Sometimes you can easily rewrite once you see the statement. Here are some examples, building on “Twitter is not 140-character billboard, it’s a chance to interact & listen:”
- SIMPLE REWRITE: “Quit using Twitter as a 140-character billboard! You’re missing a great chance to interact & listen:”
- CONCEPT SUMMARY: “Twitter is a great place to interact and listen. So why do so many use it just to tweet ads?”
- ADD AN ANGLE: “How to be beat your competition: Use Twitter to interact and listen…instead of just tweeting ads.”
Does this really work? How often?
I’ve found that around 1 in 3 of the posts we tweet I can easily rewrite to get a higher RCEF (Retweets/Clicks (visits)/Engagement (comments-conversation)/Favorites learn more about this) by simply looking for a key statement within the blog post. Some folks whose writings we’ve tweeted a lot of over the years have credited us with making them much better headline writers, simply by using this simple tip.
Having tweeted thousands of other people’s blog posts over the years, I’ve found this is the single biggest factor in getting a higher RCEF from tweets.
One of the most common headline writing techniques is to take what you have already written and make it more compelling, challenging or controversial. So “Some Twitter Common Sense For Brands” could be changed to something such as “How brands alienate their Twitter customers…and what they should do instead.” For many more tips, see “What makes a Tweet great?”
But if you’ve found that the most compelling summary of your blog post is somewhere in the middle, also consider rewriting your post by moving to the end (or eliminating) most of what you have written that comes before your compelling summary. Often it is information that is more interesting to you than to your readers. Readers visiting your blog after clicking a link in a Tweet often want the information “meat” of what you’re writing about. Setting the stage, giving backstory or providing detailed contest can often be done after you give them the main information.
Often, the writer goes through stages like this
- Explaining why they’ve been thinking about this or providing context or backstory
- Giving examples or working up their emotions
- Making a statement such as But you really need to realize is this: [Insert Tweet Statement Here]
Sometimes, you can tell that they’ve done this, but they gone back and edited it to put their main statement in the first few sentences, but still left the headline too cryptic or ho-hum.