Start implementing these Tweet ideas today, and see 12x the website traffic from Twitter in 12 months
When an article publishes on your website, how do you go about promoting it in social media?
When I pose this question to a room full of magazine editors from different publications, their answer is typically that they wait for the post to be published and then they promote it. If they’re super savvy, they might also schedule a Tweet (using Hootsuite or CoSchedule) a week later.
Valiant effort, for sure, but simply not enough.
Back in 2012, we had been digging deep into our blockbuster report. This is a list of the top articles sending traffic to our site. For many of our Gold Members, these blockbuster posts, which are SEO-optimized, account for more than half of their website traffic.
While digging into our blockbusters, we were taking note of the ones that were beginning to slip. For us, a slipped blockbuster can mean losing hundreds to tens of thousands of search visitors per month.
I decided that one of the ways we might recover this position was to re-promote it through our social media channels and treat it as if the content was brand new again. In many cases, we began to recover those positions. From there I decided that any one post needs to be promoted more strategically than most of us were doing at the time – and our Tweet formulas were born.
Last year we started working with Mequoda members on a more structured system for promoting and re-promoting content on Twitter, and today we’re happy to say it’s working for us and our clients. Let’s dig into this step by step. Grab a pen or a spreadsheet.
To start, pick the most recent article you’ve published on your blog. Hopefully it’s SEO’d for search and contains evergreen content (content that doesn’t expire with the direction of the wind) because this content performs best.
The 12x12x12 Twitter Strategy
Next, begin to think up different ways you can promote your article. Keep in mind, that this is by no means an exhaustive list of every Twitter formula that could exist and in fact I suggest that you test these out and create your own. The purpose of using these formulas is to determine which ones your audience responds to best, and then improve from there.
- The title: Easy, just use the title.
- The title & subhead: Or just the subhead, if it’s too long
- The excerpt: Interesting statement
- The summary: What they’ll learn by clicking the link
- The shout-out: @ anybody mentioned.
- The hashtag(s): Insert extra (related) trending hashtags
- The quote: Find a relevant quote and use it
- The quippy click-bait: Short and sweet
- The friendly suggestion: First-person request to read/share
- The question: Ask a related question
- The engagement: Ask them to comment/give feedback
- The takeaway(s): Subheads and major points
In our example, below I’m using a blog post titled “How to Sanitize a Sponge: Are Your Kitchen Sponges Safe?” from our friends at CSPI / Nutrition Action Healthletter.
Goal: Find out if your title is click-worthy enough and which titles in your Tweets end up performing best.
2. The title & subhead: Or just the subhead, if it’s too long
Goal: Add more context to the Tweet, which is often lead to retweets if it’s catchy.
3. The excerpt: Interesting statement
Goal: Make a bold statement from the article to get more retweets.
4. The summary: What they’ll learn by clicking the link
Goal: Give them the facts, and challenge them to keep reading to find out why your statement is so.
5. The shout-out: @ anybody mentioned.
Goal: Get your post in front of the people you’ve mentioned and hope for them to retweet the post too.
6. The hashtag(s): Insert extra (related) trending hashtags
Goal: Get your post in front of other link-minded readers who enjoy similar topics.
7. The quote: Find a relevant quote and use it
Goal: People love to retweet and favorite quotes, both of which send great social signals to Google about your post.
8. The quippy click-bait: Short and sweet
Goal: Forget the small talk, just get them to click and read.
9. The friendly suggestion: First-person request to read/share
Goal: This first-person request can garner more replies, retweets and favorites based on the personal nature of the request.
10. The question: Ask a related question
Goal: Inspire followers to engage with you. Ask them a question related to the article and get them to read on.
11. The engagement: Ask them to comment/give feedback
Goal: Get followers to your site and boost its SEO with more post comments.
12. The takeaway(s): Subheads and major points
Goal: Lay it all out there. Some people just want the facts, Jack. Bring on the retweets.
Scheduling Your New Tweets
Now that you’ve written your Tweets, you’ll want to schedule them. Here’s a basic twelve-day schedule for a publisher that posts one article per day.
Daily Publishing Schedule
- Title: January 1st, 9am (the first time the article is promoted)
- Title & Subhead: January 2nd
- Excerpt: January 3rd
- Summary: January 4th
- Shout-Out: January 5th
- Hashtag: January 6th
- Quote: January 7th
- Quippy Click: January 8th
- Friendly Suggestion: January 9th
- Question: January 10th
- Engagement: January 11th
- Takeaway: January 12th
- Title: February 1st
- Title & Subhead: March 1st
- Excerpt: April 1st
- Summary: May 1st
- Shout-Out: June 1st
- Hashtag: July 1st
- Quote: August 1st
- Quippy Click: September 1st
- Friendly Suggestion: October 1st
- Question: November 1st
- Engagement:December 1st
- Takeaway: January 1st
And don’t forget promotional Tweets. If you follow the Mequoda best practice of sending at least one spotlight (promotional) email per week, and one circ-builder (freebie) per week – set up promotional Tweets for the same days. Feel free to use the formulas above, or make up your own!
You can also try:
- Using the headline from your promotional email
- Excerpting from your landing page
- @ing out the cover story company / model of your product
- Giving away one solid take-away (a mini recipe, a quote, an image, something only paid buyers will get)
- Showing a photo of you holding / reading / using the product
- Using the 12x12x12 formula as if it was an article.
What about other social networks?
On Twitter, no one user is going to see every Tweet you send out, because the timeline moves so quickly in real-time. Less content is shared on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and Pinterest, so we recommend using the same formulas above, except only once and then again six months later. Replace @ing for tagging in the shout out. Everything else works the same, except you don’t have 140-character restrictions.
You can also try toying with images. Try switching up your featured image on posts to see which ones work best. Here are some more Facebook posting tips.
If you follow all of the advice above for every post, especially the ones optimized for search, you’ll find that they rank higher and longer. The ones that you don’t do it for, will simply dissolve into your online archives.
Which of the above formulas work best for you?