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For niche and fledgling bloggers, it can be quite intimidating to see public stats around some of the big dogs of the blogging world. “There go another 482 retweets for Chris Brogan’s latest post!” you might think, with more than hint of envy. In this post, I want to examine a few ways to get your original content to pop on Twitter. These tips are draw from my experience over the last few days, where a relatively innocuous pair of posts churned into massive retweeting, reblogging, and a news radio interview.
Headline. Headline. Headline. When I was a newspaper headline writer, with a relatively captive audience and little tracking of how well my headlines did, clever was king. “Blue Period,” to describe a stand-alone photo of cops selling their artwork for charity, “Alone in the Arctic, Physician Must Heal Herself,” you get the drift.
If you want your post circulating on Twitter, you need a much snappier headline. Clever in this medium is selling the post, and selling it hard. “How to” is good, and so, I learned, is the descriptive “kick-ass.”
Tap into a community. Blog what you know, or ask and learn what you don’t.
I’m known as a Gov 2.0 thinker. In that community, most of my posts get a bit of circulation. There is no surprise there, because I’ve put in a lot of hard work to build with and grow with the community. Recent posts on the vibrant Edmonton, AB Twitter community – which I’m only recently familiar with – worked because the community was already there and ready to help spread the word about its success.
Build anticipation. Tweet out teaser questions. Propose draft themes as tweets. Most of my high traffic posts and great participation in my Gov 2.0 podcast come from engaging early and often on Twitter.
Name names. You like seeing your name in posts and tweets, right? So does everybody else. So credit ideas, draw from blog comments; if you get answers on Twitter or in blog comments, credit the authors. When I used to write a political column, I’d squeeze in as many names as I could – and you can bet every one of those people read it when their name was in it, and passed it on to friends.
Make your success theirs. By tapping into a community and naming names, you’re ensuring that if the post pops, the community benefits. Early retweeters benefit, too, as they get traffic by passing on the info. And public retweet counters on your posts make people feel a part of something when the post starts to go big.
So go out there and make those posts pop!
(Bonus: For great tips about making it easy for others to pass on your blog posts, check out Brogan’s, “How Does This Share.” My Posterous blog has done much better than WordPress in terms of traffic, and I think that’s highly due to the built-in sharing mechanisms.)

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Want to help? Learn more about Gov 2.0, and host local Gov 2.0 tweetups and meetups.

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