News outlets should be mortified by the way they describe themselves on Twitter.
Every high schooler knows that you can’t choose your nickname. Happily, social media offers a remedy for people of all ages: the chance to write your own bio.
This ability to self-brand is priceless. Yet many fumble it. In fact, major media outlets approach their Twitter bios as if they were students cramming to finish their homework on the bus, rather than world-class wordsmiths. At a time when publishers are increasingly interested in driving social traffic to their sites, such box-checking results in a lost opportunity.
Does this description hit close to home? Does your Twitter bio read like a homework assignment dashed off en route to class? Fear not: here are 11 ways to burnish your brand.
These bells and whistles aren’t just pretty ornaments for a press release, but enlightening enhancements for the everyday user. Indeed, there’s something for every audience: the designer, the stockholder, the videographer, the advertiser, the reporter, and the reader on the go.
For the social media strategist, the paper’s most significant innovation is a tiny tactic that makes stories easier to tweet. Often overlooked, this trick ought to be standard practice on every major website today. Let’s take a look.
Don’t just tweet the headline. Comment on the article. Explain why you’re sharing it.
Tweeting has never been easier. Just click that turquoise bird alongside nearly every kind of content on the web today, and a ready-to-go message presents itself. All you need to do is click “tweet.” The whole thing takes less than five seconds!
Yet there’s no decree dictating that you must use this prewritten gruel. In fact, you shouldn’t use the default text, which is tantamount to a robot announcing the Oscar winners: it’s generic and devoid of any shout-outs, styling, or personal commentary. After all, what you tweet is transmitted over your name and avatar, so it behooves you to stamp it with your own style.
What’s more, if you want to stand out, you can’t just put out what everyone else is typing. You need to offer up something new—even if it’s just your two cents. Indeed, with this little bit of extra effort, you can make each tweet count.
A version of this blog post appeared in PR Daily on February 18, 2013.
You just finished a killer blog post. Reliving the process: first you had to pitch the idea to your editor. Then you reworked the angle to satisfy his feedback. Then it was research time, wherein you bumped up against facts that challenged your hypothesis. Finally, you penned the piece, sweating over decisions as light as commas, as lofty as conclusions.
Now, the post has been published. And you, like a wide-eyed kitten mesmerized by a shiny new object, sit in thrall to the whimsies of the web—watching, waiting, wishing for the big payoff.
Slowly, the clicks come trickling in. But why settle for a trickle when these numbers could be a raging torrent? As soon as your article goes live, it behooves you to SHOUT IT from the rafters. You labored so long and hard on the writing, shouldn’t you reward your efforts with a little promotion?
Indeed you should. In fact, every hack must now be his own flack.
A version of this blog post appeared on Blogcritics on June 15, 2011.
It’s only natural. Each time you glance at your stats, you can’t help but notice that the number of your followers has dipped. Who defriended me, you wonder? Sometimes you have an inkling. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to confirm that suspicion, a service that automatically notified you of your shrinking status? Let’s review the top four free services that promise to do just that.
A version of this blog post appeared on GovLoop (October 11, 2010) and K Street Cafe (October 12, 2010).
In pitching Twitter to a client, there invariably comes a point in the conversation where your client is intrigued but not yet sold. “I like the idea,” she says, “but I don’t have anything to tweet.”
Sure you do! Unless your organization produces no content whatsoever, you’re no doubt already swimming in possible tweets: op-eds, videos, speeches, congressional testimony, memos, blog posts, podcasts, news clips—even, if you must, news releases.
By now, it’s a cliché that Twitter has real-world value. Yet if you really want to appreciate both the usefulness and hipness of microblogging, try participating in a social media conference where live Tweeting is not only encouraged, the Tweets also are displayed on JumboTrons flanking the on-stage speaker.
Let me explain. For the most part, I Twittered halfheartedly and sporadically (usually when captive on the metro). For months, I didn’t know how to check replies—or even understand the concept of “re-Tweeting” (RT). I used only Twitter.com, rather than experimenting with any of the dozens of programs that inject Twitter with steroids. In sum, I viewed Twitter the same way I view picture taking: I’d rather be doing the things being Tweeted or photographed, i.e., living rather than recording.