Once a blog post is published, every hack must become his or her own flack.
Contrary to custom, a blogger’s job doesn’t end once you click “publish.” In this Age of Big Data, where every blog, vlog, and broadcast lives and dies by metrics, your success depends on your page views.
When eyeballs count, Twitter is your best friend.
Twitter lets you repackage and repurpose your content. This is crucial: You can’t just tweet once. You must tweet and tweet again, baiting your tweet with various angles and hooks, casting it to various audiences.
Equally crucial: Instead of publishing your tweets all at once, you need to unloose them over the next few days. Since the first 24 hours are the most important, it’s best to frontload your tweets for the day of publication, then dribble the rest out over the next day or two.
In fact, this is exactly what I did for a blog post I wrote for Mashable
last May (“How to Optimize Your Headlines for Google and Humans
”). Here’s how you can do the same.
1. Tweet summaries, excerpts, and teasers
Every digital native knows how to tweet the obvious: “Check out my new post.” But when the half-life of a tweet is less than three hours
, you must keep pushing. Like a politico on the campaign trail, you must say the same thing over and over, drawing on different words for different audiences.
To this end, go beyond the headline and review your text line by line. Identify the juiciest parts; carve each one into 140 characters of catnip. If your post is meaty, you can extract a plethora of summaries, excerpts, and teasers (facts and stats are invariably appetite-whetting). Here are three tweets (out of 12) I crafted to promote my post:
2. Send shout-outs (a.k.a. kiss-ups)
No doubt, you quoted, mentioned, or linked to others in your post. Be sure to recognize them. Play on their vanity—flattery will get you everywhere. Your unspoken goal: Get them to share your post with their network.
Here’s one (of many) shout-outs I sent:
3. Send thank yous
If anyone helped you along the way, remember what your mother taught you: Thank that person. Here’s one of the acknowledgements I sent:
4. Send FYIs
Certainly, you can think of people whom your post will interest. Instead of guessing their email address, find their Twitter handle, which is publicly available even if their tweets are private, and tweet them your link.
The caveat: Be careful not to be seen as self-serving. Instead, ask for feedback, or tie your tweet to a subject near and dear to your acquaintance’s heart. Feel free to adapt the headline of your post as needed.
For instance, I sent 15 FYI (for your information) tweets to popular wordsmiths, people interested in search topics—including Google mastermind Matt Cutts—and members of the media. One of them, to Reuters columnist’s Jack Shafer, looked like this:
5. Drop “In Case You Missed It” tweets
In your regular use of Twitter, you’ll likely come across people discussing a subject that pertains to your post. If so, chime in and contribute to the conversation.
Make sure the connection is significant. Just because someone links to a post about search engine optimization doesn’t make your post on this subject germane. Relevance requires more than scanning for hashtags. Again, tailor your tweet so that it flows into the dialogue, rather than intrudes on it.
Here’s an in-case-you-missed-it opportunity I harnessed:
Of course, these tweets and tactics constitute an aggressive thrust. At this rate, you’re tweeting once every 25 words. Isn’t that excessive? Isn’t this all just a cover for shameless self-promotion?
On one hand, it is. As a result, consider warning your followers that over the next day or so, a spammer will be hijacking your Twitter feed, so to speak.
On the other hand, in a digiverse that grows more crowded by the second, you owe it to yourself to wring every tweet, “like,” plus, pin, Digg, comment, view, and email out of everything you create.
Whether you’re a guest contributor or a staff writer, self-promotion is an inescapable part of today’s creative process. The more opportunities you can create and maximize, the more your hard work will receive the recognition it deserves.
Jonathan Rick is the president of the Jonathan Rick Group, a digital communications firm in Washington, DC. Follow him @jrick.