How Bloggers Should Inspire Retweets

I’m on a Twitter hiatus and am not tweeting for a while, instead, I’m focusing on what Forrester calls energizing, what others may refer to as “word of mouth’. So instead, I’m going to conduct experiments to help my clients understand how to best use social tools to allow content to spread for person to person.

While social media ‘chicklets’ already exist that make it easy to make blog posts diggable, tagged on delicious, or emailed to others, we’ve often forgotten to recognize one of the most powerful behaviors: the retweet.

As a result, every single one of my future blog posts will have easy-to-use, copy and paste content that is designed to be rapidly tweeted to your followers –or until a technology emerges that makes it easier.

I’m not going to tweet this post, but want you to spread it to your twitter followers by copying and pasting this code into twitter and share with others

If You Read This, Tweet This to your Followers:

How Bloggers Should Inspire Retweets

What are you waiting for? copy the above sentence, put it into the twitter form bar and share it! Let’s spread the word how bloggers can easily benefit from viral sharing by making it easy for blog posts to be retweeted. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that take off, so I’ll write a wrap up post measuring the impacts of this experiment. (Update: The findings are now live, see the data after 24 hours)

So How Bloggers Should Inspire Retweets? Make it easy for their readers to tweet it, by creating simple copy and a shortened URL and include it at the bottom of each blog post. Thanks for tweeting, and retweeting this.

(Update: you can track the tweets here, here, here and here)

65 Replies to “How Bloggers Should Inspire Retweets”

  1. Great post. Retweets are a signal of quality, and publishers should do everything they can to encourage them.

    We’ve been thinking along these same lines at HubSpot and created an app to simplify the process you’re talking about.

    The app is called TweetIt. We’re releasing it tonight, and you can
    find it here:

    This post shows it in action:

  2. Retweeting is a great feature. It really allows stuff to go viral on twitter.

    When the phishing attack happened the other day there was a million retweets about it that really spread the warning.

  3. Well if you really would go for it you would ask for a plugin for wordpress so you can have your specific text for this post ‘tweetyfied’ as in make it directly tweetable.

    I used that for my podcast interviews recently and it worked nicely plus gave me searchable tweets. I know there is a plugin available where you even can choose your fav url shortener service. 🙂

  4. Thanks Laura

    Yup, “spoon feedy” means I make it easy, but why wouldn’t a blogger? If they put all the other chicklets (digg, delicious, email) why wouldn’t they make it easy to tweet and retweet?

  5. RTs is an interesting way to tweak the signal. They may strengthen it inside a constituted network as well as act as an echo chamber, as we saw during Mumbai events…

    Please keep us updated with what will emerge with those experiments, Jeremiah.

  6. Gerald

    It’s not, but how many bloggers have encouraged their readers to retweet a blog post on each of their posts?

    What’s surprising isn’t the fact that it works, but the fact that few bloggers have taken advantage of it, I’m sure we’ll see an uptick in ‘tweet this post’ going forward.

  7. There’s a way to make it even easier and doesn’t require the reader to copy and paste the tweet. You can make a link by using this HTML code in your post:

    Put your text after the equals sign (you’ll have to convert spaces to “%20”). This puts the reader on their Twitter home page with the text box pre-filled. Each “%20” will be converted to a space, so you can actually go a little over the 140 character limit. Your example tweet above would be

  8. Hello Jeremiah – I love how you can go on hiatus from twitter and come back with a suggestion on how best to leverage it. Perhaps looking at things from a distance gave you new perspective?

    Thanks for the idea!

  9. Brilliant, Jeremiah! Thinking that retweeting should also be added to tools like ShareThis, to make it drop-dead easy for readers to retweet good posts that they’re reading.


  10. Jeremiah:

    BTW, wondering how you created the short URL before you had published the actual post. Or, did you publish, shorten the URL, and then edit your post?

    If you’re looking for good metrics on clickthroughs of short URLs, check out BudURL, too.

  11. Jeremiah,
    I do agree with your point that retweets are a great way to have something go viral, but I would say that the short-cut of the link is, in most cases, not the bottleneck at all. It’s more that the content is not something that warrants retweeting, in most cases. Seth Godin’s writing on what makes something “remarkable” – worthy of being remarked on – in the Purple Cow sense, is the key goal.

    It would be interesting to note whether the same content that is re-tweeted is the same type of content that is remarked on in a word-of-mouth context.

    It would be interesting to see what makes a post most “retweetable” – top 10’s? thought pieces? controversial posts?

    Thanks for the post Jeremiah, much enjoyed.

  12. Hm. Not sure I’m with you on this one Jeremiah – that wouldn’t BE a retweet. If I tweeted your URL, and someone ELSE picked it up and said “RT @GeekMommy – How Bloggers Should Inspire Retweets” then it would be.

    Otherwise it’s just making it simple for readers to tweet your blog post. Given how many plugins, bookmarklets, tracking URL-shorteners there are out there, all I’d be doing is providing something for my readers to *tweet* it in the first place.

    But that’s NOT the power of the retweet. The power of the retweet is when something is so strong on TWITTER that it gets repeated and echoed throughout the streams.


  13. Thanks for the great idea Jeremiah. I searched and found a plug-in for WordPress users that automatically inserts a link or a customizable icon to each blog post so that with one click a Twitter user can tweet about your post. It’s called “Tweet This” and can be found here:

    With a few clicks it’s now on every blog post.


    Shane Gibson

  14. ShareThis already provides all of the functionality that you want. I have it on my WordPress blog.

    Choose Twitter from the chicklet. It launches a new browser tab with twitter loaded and inserts the blog post title and shortened URL. You click Update.

    Only thing I would change is to use instead of tinyurl for URL shortening. Love their stats and social media tracking, including Twitter, Friend Feed and more.

  15. This is what I would call the technological version of word-of-mouth. It’s not only a great way to market somebody, it is also a great way to gain credibility. If you retweet things of value, you will than be looked upon as a resource for valuable information. I am going to retweet this now.

  16. Basically what is needed is a Digg This, Sphere This, Delicious This button for Twitter that hooks up to a URL shortening service that also has some nice measurement tools (Tweetburner or the like). Will got the ball rolling above.

  17. Hey Jeremiah,

    Retweets definitely are important and I am confident that tweeting posts/retweeting posts will become even more popular in 2009. You will definitely see more “Tweet This” buttons appearing on blogs.

    To support this, I have recently developed an AJAX WordPress plugin (for WP2.7) that allows users to tweet about your blog post. Although I have only just finished developing it and need to polish the rough edges, its definitely working quite nicely. Take a look here for a demonstration and let me know what you think. I’d definitely love some feedback!

  18. Wow! What a great blog post and the comments were valuable too. I think this is a great example for people just getting started to create great habits for their blogs and getting support in growing a strong following.

    I do think that in terms of SEO and rankings, the RT (retweet) is a valuable way to improve! You can even check to see which of your tweets are :

  19. I use a plugin called Tweet This. It automatically sets up a tweet and shortens the url, but they can add their own if they want to.

  20. Jeremiah
    Great idea! Hope this becomes a common protocol. Plus, if you are using a trackable link, you can quantify the power of your Twitter peeps in spreading your link.

    My question is this: What to you would be the ideal protocol for who should own the tracking on these links? Should you ask users to use your link so you can keep your tracking (after all, it’s your post) or should you put the post out there with the idea of retweeting – even if they change your link? Seems like there is no evolved courtesy or protocol for this yet, but adding a simple suggestion would do the trick.

    If only there were a better way to put up Twitter feedback to posts on the original blog. Hoping that will evolve.

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