Writing “Tweet First”

Karen Catlin at Twitter HeadquartersI visited Twitter headquarters today to talk about programs for their female employees. During my visit, I confessed to my host that I’m relatively new to the tweeting game.  I’m comfortable with lots of other social media, but I’d never bothered with Twitter. Well, until I started blogging and realized I needed to tweet about my posts and use Twitter to help build my brand.

Initially, I set up my WordPress blog to automatically tweet the title of the blog post along with a shortened URL. Check! I could definitely say I was now using Twitter.

However, I started paying attention to the tweets that caught my eye, the ones that I clicked on to read more. Those tweets were a whole lot more interesting than mine. They hooked me in and summarized the article at the same time. They were the ultimate executive summary, in 140 characters or less!

So, a few weeks ago, I started writing my blog posts “tweet first.” I figure out the message I want to convey, and write the tweet across the top of the article I’m working on. That tweet becomes a guiding light as I write and make revisions. I refer to it often to stay true to the message I want to convey. When I’m ready to publish the post, the tweet is ready to go live at the same time.

When I told my husband about my approach, he mentioned that John Irving writes the last sentence of a novel first. Sure enough, I found the following on John Irving’s blog: “”I always begin with a last sentence; then I work my way backwards, through the plot, to where the story should begin.” Nifty!

Do you have a Twitter strategy? Please reply with a comment. I’d like to learn from you!

–Karen

© 2013 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Writing “Tweet First”

  1. It is always a good idea to ask yourself “what is the point of this post?” which the tweet first method should help you discover, if you have a main point you want to convey. The Irving method is probably less about making a point than leaving a final impression in the final scene, at the moment you as a reader have to say good bye to the characters. The blogs I find most interesting have a main theme but mix up the writing styles and goals a bit. If all of the posts make a point but never wander into other territory, the blog can start to feel teacherly.

    1. Good point. Do you think the tweet for a post should convey its main point, or something to pique curiosity about the “other territory” that the post explores? You’ve got me thinking!

  2. Yes I do. On my own blog I sometimes write longer reflective essays, which don’t have a point per se but have a central question or sometimes a resolution. If I don’t know what that is the essay lacks focus. On the other hand, I can’t always figure it out in advance. It may take several revisions before I figure out what I am driving at. This is why I infrequently post essays. They take forever to write! However, when I am happy with the result, I can always point to one sentence that serves as the turning point of the piece.

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