One good way to cross-promote your blog is to link it to a Twitter account. Twitter posts may be short, but they’re instant. Plus, people who don’t use RSS readers may be on Twitter, so it serves as an additional way of notifying people.
There are a lot of ways you can use Twitter in combination with a blog, but here’s what I’ve found works well for me:
- Link to new blog entries on Twitter.
- Use the blog for long posts, and Twitter for short ones.
- Include your twitter posts on your blog (either in digests or through a widget)
1. Linking to new blog entries is the simplest way to use Twitter with a blog, and there are a lot of ways to automate it. Essentially you’re just adding a new feed that people can follow. However, if this is all you do, it isn’t going to appeal to as many people, because one of the draws of Twitter is that it’s interactive.
2. So the second approach is key. Find something to say on Twitter in addition to what you put on the blog. Jot down ideas that you’re working on, or link to a site or article or video that’s caught your eye. If you have something very brief to say, resist the urge to blog about it and Twitter instead. You can highlight older posts that you’d like people to take another look at. Plus it’s easy to set up Twitter to post from a mobile phone by text message, so you’re not tied to your computer even if you don’t have an iPhone or an Android device. Just make it interesting, and try to keep to the same topic.
3. Finally, you need to point blog readers at your Twitter account. Better than simply posting a link to “Follow me on Twitter!” is to include your actual Twitter posts, or “tweets.” This shows people that yes, there’s actually something there beyond “New blog post here: XYZ.” There are a lot of approaches, with the easiest being to just grab a Twitter widget and stick it on your sidebar to show the most recent posts. Another good way to do it is to include a daily or weekly digest of posts so that your blog readers see what you’ve put on Twitter, just with a time delay. You can automate that too, or you can manually look through your posts and pick out the highlights.
Tools: If you’re using a self-hosted WordPress blog, I can recommend Alex King’s Twitter Tools to automate linking to your new blog posts on Twitter, including your tweets on your sidebar, and building a daily or weekly digest of tweets. It’s flexible, and it will automatically skip the tweets it generates so you don’t end up with “New blog post at XYZ” on your blog. LoudTwitter is an option for blogs where you can’t actually install plugins (TypePad, WordPress.com, LiveJournal, etc.)
If you’re interested, here’s a few other blog posts I’ve written about my experience with Twitter:
- 5 Things I’ve Learned About Twitter
- Friends or Followers: Social Networking from LiveJournal to Twitter
- The Real Problem With Twitter
(Originally posted on the BlogExplosion member forums.)