Only You: The secrets to writing traffic-driving tweets

Publication Date: 01/2010

Source: SO01 Public Relations Tactics
Product Code: 6C-011007
Organization/Author/Firm: John Elsasser
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Retweeting a post has huge traffic-driving power on the Web. So, writing compelling Twitter headlines is an important factor in ensuring that your message is retweeted. “With one click, any of your readers can spread your post to hundreds or thousands of their followers,” Dan Zarrella, author of “The Social Media Marketing Book,” writes for Copyblogger.

Zarrella’s research shows that while nearly 20 percent of all “normal” tweets contain a link, 70 percent of retweets contain a link. To increase the chances of having your post retweeted and your link passed along, Zarrella suggests using nouns and third person verbs. Similar to newspaper headlines, he says, “Highly retweetable headlines talk about someone or something doing something. A headline should never talk about all the things you did yesterday and how you did them, as past-tense verbs and adverbs both lead to far fewer retweets.”

You should talk directly to your readers whenever possible, he says, as “you” is the word that occurs the most in retweets. “Top” and “10” are also commonly used words, displaying that people like lists, and discussing “twitter” and “social media” is also popular.

As far as the least retweetable words: random first-person verbs and details about your life. Zarrella suggests that you “stop talking about yourself.” He also adds that using rare and more novel words increases the chance of being retweeted, as do longer and more complex words.

“When you’re writing your headlines, you should be striving to say something new that breaks through the clutter of everyday chatter,” he says. “So don’t ‘dumb down’ your headlines for Twitter; users and power retweeters are smarter than you may think.”