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!


© 2013 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

What’s in it for me

I’m thrilled with the initial response to “Use Your Inside Voice.” I’ve heard from so many people — family, friends, colleagues, and even some new acquaintances — who have reached out to thank me for starting the blog. If you are wondering why I’ve signed up to spend a significant amount of time each week writing articles, responding to comments and emails, and promoting my blog to grow readership, let me explain.

First of all, I am passionate about leveraging the skills we learn as leaders and parents at both home and work, and I want to make a difference to a lot of people. While I have shared my two cents with my staff and people I’ve mentored individually over the years, I now want to have a wider reach.

I’d also like to earn an income by writing this blog. I recently read an article on how the top travel bloggers make a living, and I was drawn to one in particular: Chris Guillebeau. Not only is he a travel blogger who has a personal goal of visiting every country in the world, he also has an interesting philosophy about non-conventional careers and how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time. His blog is called The Art of Non-Conformity.

In one of his articles, Chris challenges his readers to answer the two most important questions in the universe:

#1: What do you really want to get out of life?
#2: What can you offer the world that no one else can? 

Well, here are my answers:

#1: What do you really want to get out of life? At this phase in my life, I want to have a flexible job that allows me to be the kind of mom and wife that I want to be, to not be in a rush all the time, to exercise often, and to have time to pursue creative hobbies. At the same time, I want to help others and be known for something.

#2: What can you offer the world that no one else can?  I think I have a unique, down-to-earth perspective on leveraging leadership and parenting skills. Understandably, most of us complain about work-life balance, yet we rarely talk about work-life efficiency. I want to change the discussion from concerns about the lack of balance to how to become more competent at both home and work by utilizing overlapping best practices. I want to celebrate the intersection of leadership and parenting.

By answering Chris’ questions, I hope I’ve given you some insight into why I’m writing this blog. If you find yourself thinking about how you would answer his questions, be sure to share. I look forward to hearing from you!


p.s. A big thanks to Chris Guillebeau for his inspiring articles!

© 2012 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.