As I mentioned in this post, Is Blogging on the Way Up or Down,Twitter is having an effect on the blogging world. And writers who aren’t joining in are missing out on an incredibly helpful social media tool. (If you need help getting started, I suggest you read Kristen Lamb’s blog for her Twitter Tuesday series or take a look at her book: We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media.)
Here are three simple ways I’ve learned to make my blog THRIVE through the use of twitter:
1. Pick blog post TITLES carefully.
I cannot stress enough the importance of picking the right title. As writers, we all realize just how important the titles of our BOOKS are. The wrong title has the power to keep readers from picking it up and seeing the glory between the cover.
Same with our BLOG POSTS. The wrong title can be the kiss of death for even the most riveting of posts. In the busy online world, with thousands of blogs clamoring for attention, readers can’t physically read everything.
So in their limited time how do most readers decide what posts to read?
We look at the TITLE. When we see a new post in our google readers or dashboards, the TITLE (and sometimes the first few lines) must grab our attention in order for us to take the time to read it. This is especially true on Twitter. We have 140 characters and a very brief window to catch our follower’s attention before the tweet is out of sight and mind.
This is not the day and age for cutesy, creative titles. Rather, a title must clearly convey what the post is about, but in a way that says “You absolutely must read this post.” If you’re having trouble thinking of titles, keep an eye out for Twitter titles that catch your attention. Analyze them. Figure out what is catchy and magnetic about them. Then start shaping your own titles with great care.
2. LINK to your blog post and use HASHTAGS.
One of the great things about Twitter for writers is the ease of finding links to great blog posts. I usually tweet a link to my new posts, but try not to do so more than three times a day—once in the morning, once at mid-day, and then once later in the afternoon in order to hit different crowds. Sometimes I’ll try to reshape the title into a provocative question or a writer’s tip and include the link.
I also include hashtags each time I link to my blog. Common hashtags for writers include: #amwriting, #writers, #novels, #litchat, #writing, #publishing, etc. (For more tips, see Kristen Lamb’s recent post about how to use hashtags.) The hashtags have the potential to put our links in front of new people (other than just our followers).
3. Provide Quality CONTENT.
If we come up with catchy titles, tweet links to our blogs, and use hashtags, we’ll likely start attracting curious new readers. However, in order to keep those readers we need to give them a quality post.
In other words, when we “invite” all of twitterland to come to our blog, when we “tease” them with a title that promises a helpful post, then we need to deliver the goods. If they come to our post expecting a hearty meal but only get a skimpy snack (or crumbs), then we could be doing ourselves more harm than good by putting our blog link out there.
If we’re consistently providing helpful content, then people throughout twitterland will begin to trust us. They’ll be more willing to visit us again. And they may be willing to retweet our posts which will generate even more traffic.
There you have it! Those are three simple strategies I employ to mesh blogging and twitter. When you’re on twitter, how do you decide what links to follow? The title? The trustworthiness of the tweeter? The reputation of the blogger? Other? Or have you ever followed an interesting link only to find the post didn't deliver?
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