Is It Tweet-Worthy?

The Web now contains over 1.51 billion pages of content, according to WorldWideWebSize.com. That’s a lot of reading material, and a lot of content competing with yours for attention.

People won’t waste time (even a few seconds) on an article that doesn’t matter to them in some way—not when there are so many other interesting things to read on the Web.

But what makes something “tweet-worthy?” What can you do to capture your audience’s attention and entice them to share broadly in their networks? We caught up with a few from our Digital Gov Web Managers and SocialGov communities for some advice.

Lists Make Great Twitter Content

“People love them, people love to share them. Plus a list gives people the sense they won’t be reading a huge article and they can just skim it quickly to get the gist,” says Jessica Milcetich, Social Media and Digital Strategist on the USA.gov marketing team at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Amber Smigel, the Social Media Maven at the Peace Corps, agrees about the “magic of a list.” “Our most popular content in the last few months have been “Top #” lists, such as, The Five Things I Wish I Had Known Before Joining Peace Corps, Smigel says.

Don’t forget Charts, Graphs and Images

Other things that do really well on Twitter are charts and graphs. “If you have a way to make your data visual in some way, you’ll probably see more engagement on it if you can include a picture of the chart or graph with the tweet,” Milcetich explains. A good photo is also important, especially if your site has Twitter Cards, Smigel of Peace Corps says.

“For us it’s visuals, visuals, visuals,” Jason Townsend, NASA’s Deputy Social Media Managers, shares. “We look at all the content being produced around the agency daily and evaluate it for news value, visual impact and what may pique curiosity of the public. By being relevant around the latest news announcements, or sharing new content that has a strong visual quality to it, we’re able to connect with audiences that want the latest about space exploration or want to be amazed and learn about the world and universe around us,” Townsend explains.

The agency is also constantly looking for influential online events that may have a NASA connection, Townsend shares. NASA had a lot of success during the Oscars when the film Gravity was up for awards. “We’ve also done this recently the World Cup, where we’ve shared images of all of the countries playing as seen from space. We strive to find relevant ways to connect with new audiences and maximize the use of the opportunities to share the story NASA’s story.”

Say It as Plainly as Possible

Keeping it short, around 500 words, on a couple of key points, is important, Sarah Kaczmarek, the Digital Communications Manager for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), says. “For blog posts, keep headlines short and relevant (80 characters maximum),” she says. Use short, active sentences, and no footnotes. “Your ideas must be clear, complete, and concise.”

Also, if you use short quotes in your content they can be Tweeted by your audience or you, Smigel explains.

Do you have a tip for writing content that’s “tweet-worthy”? If so, please share in the comments.

Rachel Flagg leads the government Web community and manages customer experience programs for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). This article is part of this month’s editorial theme on Social Media. Check out more articles related to this theme.

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