Having a blog is great. Having a blog which gets Tweeted and shared is even greater!
When it comes to sharing your blog posts there are multitude of methods and tools available. One of the most popular ones are the normal social sharing icons you see at the top and bottom of this post. These are quite effective especially if you have lots of Twitter followers, Facebook fans or LinkedIn contacts.
Regarding Twitter there is a relatively new method of sharing your article, or parts of it. It doesn’t really have an official name, so let’s call it ‘Tweet This‘. You can see a working sample of this handy little monster towards the end of this article.
Tweet This -links allow people to share your messages the way you want them. Normally Twitter users would just write whatever they want to tweet, but by using this method you can provide the message already pre-written for them; and in a specific format you want. This is very handy as now you can have more control over the tweeted message as well as use those all important keywords if you like.
How to create a customised ‘Tweet This’ -link for your blog article
Tweet This -links are quite easy to create and it takes only a few quick steps to get one going. I’m using two free web services to create mine: bit.ly and Click To Tweet.
For the purpose of this exercise I’m editing one of our guest posts from Brad Shorr (50 Golden Blogging Tips For Business) and adding some Tweet This -links to it. Brad’s article has lots of good advice for bloggers, so I’m going to choose some of them to be Tweeted on demand.
Ok, here we go with the process:
Step 1 – Create a shortened version of your blog post’s URL
As you’d know Twitter can take only 140 characters and most web addresses are quite long, so it’s useful to create a shortened version of the URL.
There are several good shortening services available such as Ow.ly, TinyURL and Google’s own goo.gl but I’m mostly using bit.ly in my projects. I like bit.ly mainly because of their free metrics and the ability to customise your shortened links.
Just in case you’re wondering where the .ly domain names come from, it’s Libya.
Ok, let’s go to bit.ly now. You can use their shortening service without logging in, however in order to customise your links you’d need an account with them. Don’t worry, it’s free.
Once you’re logged in all you need to do is paste your blog post’s long web address into the bit.ly URL shortening box. I pasted this one:
and I got out this one after I customising it a bit:
Now, isn’t that is much easier to share being a whopping 48 characters shorter than the original one? Both will take you to the same place on the web, but the second one just takes you there faster. (I should have said shorter, but that would have been just silly).
Ok, you’ve got your handy shortened link now, so let’s do the other link you will need for this project.
Step 2 – Create your ‘Tweet This’ -link
In this step we are creating the actual link that gets Tweeted from you post. I’m using another free service called Click To Tweet (still in beta) for creating the custom message that gets Tweeted from my post. There is no login option here, so it is very straight forward.
First, write or copy and paste the message you want people to tweet into the box provided. Usually it would be a particular sentence in your blog post.
Next, paste in your shortened bit.ly link from Step 1. The most common mistake here is that you forget to create the link back to your site. There’s really no point on offering material to be re-tweeted if you don’t have a way to link back to your original article is there?
Finally, if your message is short enough you could add a call to action; something like “Read more here” between the text and the link. When you’re ready click the green Generate Link -button. You will get a custom URL (something like this one: http://clicktotweet.com/qfkpU) which you will need to copy and paste into your blog post. You don’t have to customise this link. There’s a preview link in the box as well so you can check if everything works OK.
Step 3. Attach the Click To Tweet -link to your blog post
The final step is to place the Click To Tweet -link on to you blog post. I usually just add “< Tweet this!” after the sentence I want people to tweet. Like this:
Give it go and see how it works!
(Yes, that was a bit sneaky, I admit. But hey, this is what it’s all about.) You can see more working examples in Brad’s post here.
So, after someone clicks on that link on your website or blog post it will pop up a Twitter window which allows them to tweet your custom message. They can also make some changes to the tweet if they like but usually they wouldn’t bother.
As you can see the last bit on that tweet is the shortened bit.ly link back to the post we created in Step 1.
Just to recap things remember that you use the shortened bit.ly -link in the Click to Tweet -box, and the Click To Tweet -link in your blog post. Not the other way around.
Ok, that’s all there is to it folks! Happy ‘Tweet This’ -programming! If you have any questions or suggestions how to make this tool even more effective, let me know.