Article Marketing on Twitter: The Art of the Retweet

By now, most of my regular readers have a pretty good handle on the ‘business model’ of this blog.  In a nutshell, my strategy is simple: I write one article per week, post it, then spend the next six days trying to get people to actually read it.  This recurring series of events can be a grind for an article marketer, but there is good news: it is definitely possible to significantly increase the distribution of your posts, articles and white papers WITHOUT spending every minute of your free time in front of a Netbook at Starbucks.

Now before I get too far into this, I need to make two very important points:

  1. This strategy will take some time to implement.
  2. If you stick with it, your results WILL improve every single month.

Translation: if you are lazy or impatient, you may stop reading immediately.

Regardless of what the sales rep at your local SEO company says, there is nothing quick, easy, or foolproof when it comes to capturing Internet traffic.  It took me nearly 9 months to reach my 1,000th article Retweet (feel free to count them) and almost one-third were acquired in months 8 and 9.  The sooner you realize actual effort will be required on your part, the more successful you will be in the long-term.

With the above in mind, here is an easy-to-follow, Twitter-based Article Marketing strategy involving our good friend, the Retweet.

Step #1: Use Your Existing Content to Fish for Retweets. If you’re a decent writer with a reasonable amount of real-world experience, chances are your blog already offers some pretty valuable content.  Using your existing articles to generate a few Retweets will allow you to not only hit the ground running, but build a Retweet base for future articles (discussed in Step #3).

Because most serious article readers use hashtags to filter content, adding one to each of your Tweets is a no-brainer.  If you write articles about gardening, end each Tweet with #gardening.  If you write about coffee, use #coffee.  Depending upon the nature of your articles, consider Tweeting an article several times during the course of a week, rotating between a handful of hashtags.  Spending some quality time at Hashtags.org will generate plenty of great options to choose from.

To further boost your chances of a Retweet, many experts (OK, mostly me) believe labeling your Tweets with the word “Article” at the beginning can increase RT frequency from article readers.  So can putting the words “RTs Welcome!” at the end.  In addition, be sure to avoid the mistake of leaving too little room at the end of each article-related Tweet.  Remember: most RT buttons add “RT @YourTwitterName” at the beginning of a Retweet, and serial Retweeters typically add comments like “Good read!” or “Nice article” to the end.  Be sure to leave room for both.

Step #2: Show Your Retweeters Some Love. Once you acquire your first few Retweeters, the next step is to hang onto them.  Like regular customers at a restaurant, Retweeters will return time and time again—as long as they are treated well.  Every time someone Retweets a link to one of your articles, is it critical that you both acknowledge their effort and return the favor by:

  1. @Replying them a “Thank You.”
  2. Adding them to a special Retweeter Twitter List.
  3. Retweeting something of theirs.
  4. Giving them at least one #FollowFriday recommendation.

In an effort to lead by example, this past week I sent over 80 Thank You messages and recommended nearly 150 people with a #FollowFriday mention. Sure, 95% of Twitter users don’t bother doing ANY of these things, but we are article marketers.  And the world expects more from us.

It is also important to note that some (but not all) of this process can be automated.  Although I used to complete Step #2 manually, today I use a tool called SocialOomph (now offering a Free 6-Day Trial).  SocialOomph not only handles much of this for me, but manages to find me nearly 50 targeted followers per day.  To date, it’s the most valuable $29 per month I spend on article Marketing.  I am also quickly becoming a fan of a new social marketing automation tool called Buzzom Premium, which offers the same features as SocialOomph—plus a ridiculous amount of social analytics—for just 10 bucks per month.  To me, you can’t go wrong using either or both tools.

Step #3: Ask Your List Members to Help Distribute New Articles. Effective article marketing involves elements of both “giving” and “receiving.”  Here in Step 3 the receiving finally begins, and all of your hard work will begin to pay off . . . if you have been following the rules.  Remember that Retweeter List I asked you to start building is Step 2?  If you send each of these people a quick Direct Message on days when you release something new, odds are they will be more than willing to Retweet it to their followers.  Be sure to ask nicely, and provide a shortened version of the URL using a service like TinyURL or bit.ly (otherwise tools like SocialOomph and Buzzom will automatically do this for you).

Also note that Retweets often generate more Retweets, so be sure to use a good dashboard tool to filter and monitor @mentions and DMs.  People who Retweet a Retweet (does your head hurt yet?) are just as valuable as the members of your List, and should be shown the same courtesy outlined in Step #2—a Thank You, a List, an RT, and a #FollowFriday mention.

If you want to build a community around your content, there is going to be some work involved in developing an active and loyal follower base.  But a system like this can get  you going in no time.  I know this not because I’m guessing, but because this is exactly what I do every single week.

Comments?  Questions?  Feel free to reply to this post.  Otherwise a RetweetFacebook ShareLinkedIn Share or other type of social share (handy buttons provided) would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

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