Kaboom Fireworks, a Creative Commons licensed image by Tinou Bao.
On this Twitter Friday I won’t focus on the Twitter buzz of last week. I will cover the craft of writing headlines for Twitter. I covered this topic already roughly a month ago on my own blog SEO 2.0.
Two other articles covered the topic since then. Both have a different focus and concentrate on a different aspect of writing headlines for Twitter. Moreover I tend to partly disagree with the two others. The 3 articles are:
- 5 Keys to Twitter Headlines by Tad Chef of SEO 2.0 (that’s me)
- 15 Proven Headline Templates That Pull Twitter Traffic by Derek of Prevential
- The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines by Brian Clark of Copyblogger
While I concentrated at SEO 2.0 on hands on generic examples of terms you need to get attention Twitter, Derek attempted to offer ready to use headline templates and Brian Clark spend lots of time to explain the why and how of Twitter headlines. This is not a short link list though. I want to discuss whether the advice given in each article contradicts the other two. My point is: To some extent they do. To what extent?
- While Copyblogger urges to be unique both SEO 2.0 and Prevential offer ways that can be copied.
- While SEO 2.0 and Copyblogger focus on being as short as possible (Copyblogger even goes as far as comparing Twitter headlines to slogans) Prevential uses really long headlines as well.
- While SEO 2.0 mentions keywords to use both Prevential and Copyblogger seem to ignore them.
What’s right what’s wrong then? The Prevential article more or less reproduces common headline examples that work outside of Twitter. I’d argue that at least half of them are not specifically geared towards Twitter. Some will fail due to length and wrong target market unless you can customize them in order to match the expectations of your Twitter audience.
The Copyblogger also largely relies on linked general copywriting advice. The SEO 2.0 post goes to extremes in demonstrating how short a headline can get. Just compare the lengths of the three headlines. The Prevential headline is almost twice as long.
I don’t mean to convince you that my post is the best one. I’m aiming at raising your awareness of the fact that Twitter is social media on steroids. Headlines that still work elsewhere will fail here. Some writers argue that you have to learn from tabloids to be able to grip your readers. On Twitter it’s more than ever the case.
Twitter is the gossip zine, the tabloid, The Sun of social media. Whether you like it or not you go to adapt to get attention. You don’t need “tits and ass” to achieve it though. You can learn from comic books too. Become the Dark Knight of Twitter. KABOOM!