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Lee Odden

How to Source Content on Twitter

By Lee Odden     Blogging, Content Marketing, Microblogging, Online Marketing

With the increasing emphasis on content marketing for both SEO and Social Media, I thought I’d offer some specific tips on dealing with one of the most prevalent issues companies face in this area:  long term sourcing of content.  While we’ve written about content sourcing for corporate blogs in the past, but this post will emphasize how to use social media darling Twitter to find a goldmine of useful resources, tips and information that your customers will love and keep coming back for more.

The irony here is that there’s been speculation as to whether the growing popularity of Twitter has reduced the effectiveness and popularity of blogging. The reality is that Twitter and blogging compliment each other exceptionally well. Here are 5 tips on how to use Twitter to do just that:

Polls – Ask And You Shall Receive

Active participants on Twitter that have developed a certain momentum of followers and conversations can offer their Twitter network the opportunity to interact and engage on topically relevant poll questions.  Polls are a great opportunity to ask for help and recognize participation.

Some guidelines on Twitter polls:

  1. Announce that you will be asking a series of poll questions.
  2. Use an intuitive #hashtag after each poll question to thread them together
  3. Make sure you ask questions relevant to your Tweeting history
  4. Thank particpants and let them know what you will do with the answers
  5. Acknowledge participants in the blog post. If there are a nominal number of participants, cite them in the post itself. If there are many participants, you might consider creating a Twitter list just for the poll and link to the poll from the blog post.

Annotated poll results can be published alone or the answers can be incorporated as supporting points to a post on the topic being polled.

#TwitterChats – Make a Date to Tweet

The conversation aspect of Twitter is one of the most powerful. Hidden amongst what appears to be an ongoing dinner party conversation, one can find threaded discussions amongst some of the smartest people in their fields.  As mentioned above, the use of a #hashtag in tweets threads conversations together.  Interested parties agree upon a set time and topic then start the conversation.

A few examples relevant to Online Marketing Blog readers include: #blogchat on Sunday nights run by @MackCollier that discusses all things blogging (example archive).  Another example is #journchat on Monday nights run by @prsarahevens and it provides Public Relations professionals and journalists an opportunity to discuss issues and how they can work together more effectively (archive).

To source these threaded discussions into blog content, a search on the hashtag will present discussion as search results and can be copied into a post. There are also services you can use to automatically archive these kinds of scheduled Twitter chats. 140 characters keeps interaction succinct and often very tips focused.

Crowdsource – Wisdom of the Twitter Crowd

One of the major reasons people network is to interact and be helpful. When you have a good rapport with a Twitter network, blog topics and information can be crowdsourced.  Topics can be solicited as well as sources of facts, research and other information. Followers are often happy to provide suggestions or even links to facts that can be used in a blog post.  These solicitations can be public but can also be sent via direct message to specific individuals.

For example, you might post a question about which of 3 topics to post on your blog next.  You can ask this directly or frame it with the context of something currently being discussed in your industry. Asking provocative questions to see what the response is can provide great feedback as to what people are interested in and can develop discussions that will help inspire the writing of a blog post. It’s important with any kind of take that there is give as well. Recognition goes a long way as does being helpful back to other Tweeple.

Search.Twitter for ?’s – Seek and You Shall Find

Being helpful is a key piece of what makes the social web go round. Twitter provides a platform for easy questions and answers.  As a subject matter expert, you can use Twitter search to find out what people are asking in your area of expertise.

For example: “blog host” ? Then aggregate some of the best questions into a blog post, with answers of course.

Search.Twitter for Tips – Search for Twitter Smarties

On the flip side, you can use Twitter search to find useful tips being offered by other Twitter users. The best tips on relevant topics can be aggregated summarized in a blog post. With credit/attribution of course.  Also look for tweets that include links, since 140 characters is pretty limited for useful tips. For example, “iPhone apps camera OR photos“.  Pick out the best tips being offered and you have the beginning of a niche list, large list linkbait or simply a set of resources that can be cited throughout a regular post.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with following individuals that offer useful tips and ask them if it’s ok to repost on your blog.  Not only is this courteous but it develops goodwill and creates an introduction to discussion with that person.

So now you have 5 ways to source content using Twitter. Most people using Twitter have seen these tactics in practice, not as many have implemented them or found a way to do so effectively.  How have you used Twitter to source content? Have you used any of the tactics above? If so, how did they work for you?


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