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The most interesting challenge for any content creator is how to make what you create as easy to share as possible. People, and I include myself in this, are lazy and most social media platforms have fed this. New-style retweets, reblog buttons, and one-click share options abound, which has gotten us used to sharing content with only a click or two. These days, if it takes more than a couple of clicks to share a good blog post or clever tweet, we probably won't. (tweetable)
Encouraging readers to share your good work gets even more difficult when you want them to share something from one platform to another. Plenty of companies have made good money creating share buttons that will let you send a blog post to Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, or what-have-you. You can see several of those buttons at the top of this post. We even have a "Tweet" button that will let you tweet a link to this post, with my incredibly clever post title in the tweet. You can, and should, use every reasonable* option to make your posts sharable across as many platforms as you please.
What do you do, though, if you want your readers to tweet something other than the title of your post? What if you came up with a great zinger, the perfect length for a tweet, and you want that to be what your readers tweet?
In that case, you use something I've taken to calling a tweetable. If you've read any of the other posts I've written here, you're probably seen a link that says "(tweetable)". If you click on that (go ahead and try that now. I'd love it if you shared my posts!), a new tab opens in which is a tweet, already populated with a sentence of my choosing and the link to the post. All you have to do is click on the "tweet" button and off it goes. Tweetable links are like the little audio beeps you used to hear in filmstrips. You remember those, right? (tweetable) The narrator would talk about fjords while you looked at a picture of a fjord projected on the screen, then you'd hear a beep, which was the cue for the teacher's favorite student to turn the knob to the next picture. Probably another fjord.**
Tweetable links are like those little filmstrip beeps. They tell your readers it's time to stop reading for just a moment and do something (that doesn't involve fjords, thankfully) in a way that doesn't completely take their attention away from your post.
I didn't come up with tweetables on my own. I've seen other people use them, usually those in the business of content marketing. They've been around for a while, but they aren't used much, which is unfortunate. Tweetables require a little bit of practice to create quickly, but once you've mastered the steps, you can create one in only a minute or two.
The first phase is the preparation phase. Like a good cook, you need to get all the ingredients and tools into place.
1) Write punchy, short sentences that will fit into tweets. I thought for a moment about not including this step, but it's important. Remember, once you include the link to your post, you'll only have about 120 characters worth of gleaming wisdom to share in your tweetable. Oddly, using tweetables in my posts here have changed how I write. I try put at least three tweetable lines in every post, so I have plenty of candidates from which to choose once I begin the link-fest. To be sharable, your content needs to be useful and fit the desired platform. For a tweet, that means short. (tweetable) A challenge? Sure. But new media ain't for the weak, right?
2) Get the permanent link to your post. By "permanent link", I mean the link everyone else will use to get to your post once it's publicly posted. Some platforms, like WordPress, will let you save your post as a draft and give you the link straight away (but be sure to give your post its real title before you do that). Others will make you finish and publish the post first to get the link. If you have to do the latter, don't worry, you'll just go back and edit the post to put your tweetables in.
3) Open a tab to Click to Tweet. Here's where you'll make the tweetable. You'll pull a couple different elements into the composition box, which is in the upper right portion of the page.
4) Open a tab to your favorite link-shortener. I prefer bit.ly, but you can use whichever service you prefer. The shorter you can make the link, the better.
Okay. Your tools are assembled. Now to put them together.
1) Copy the "tweetable" sentence you want into your tweet into the Click to Tweet box.
2) Copy the permanent link into your link shortener, then copy the shortened link into the Click to Tweet box after your "tweetable" sentence.
3) Double check the character count to make sure the tweet will be "legal".
4) Click the "Generate Link!" button, then copy the link Click to Tweet gives you.
5) Paste that link into your blog post with whatever text you please. I use "(tweetable)", but you can use whatever you like. Keep it short ("tweet this" works nicely, too) and in close proximity to the sentence you want tweeted.
6) Test your link, to make sure it works properly.
That's it. It seems like a complex process, but it really isn't. You'll master it quickly, I know, and you'll soon fill your blog posts with tweetable, sharable goodness.
BONUS NEW MEDIA WIZARD NINJA TIP
If you want to use a tweetable, but don't want to go through the hassle (and it does take time, which some might consider a hassle) of creating two or three in the middle of your blog post, here's something else you can do.
Write something like "I really liked this article about [your subject here] and I think you will, too." Use that as your "tweetable" sentence and follow the steps after that. Put that link at the end of your article with something similar to "If you liked this post, click here to tweet it to all your followers!" Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!
*"Reasonable" is the key word here. How many blog posts have you seen with a dozen sharing buttons lined up across the top or bottom of a post like bizarre medals on a soldier's chest, like the blog post has fought valiantly in several wars? I'm willing to bet you didn't spend much time searching those buttons to find just one to click, did you? You probably didn't click on any of them. You're not alone. I don't share posts that give me too many sharing options either. Most of us don't do well when faced with a plethora of choices in a complex environment. Keep it simple.
**I don't know why, but I only remember filmstrips in school being about fjords. No, I didn't go to school in Norway.
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