Does Twitter Make Blogging Less Sequential?

Ah, Twitter. Those of us who work in social media marketing have generally learned to love its constant, ubiquitous, almost soothing stream of information. Granted, there’s a lot of it, but most of us have shaped and trimmed our follow lists into an information flow that is both informative and interesting. And, of course, every so often, we click on a link that promises to lead us to more sweet, sweet content.

The thing is, not all of that information is news. Much of it, in fact, isn’t. It’s strategies, ideas, musings, pep talks, top-3 or -5 or -15 lists of things to do or not to do. In short: it’s non-time-sensitive.

Now, with that in mind, let’s talk about blogs. The original “weblogs” were essentially online diaries, and they were generally personal rather than professional. Those of us who are of a certain age will remember Diaryland, Xanga, the early days of Livejournal and Blogspot, even early media-rich social networking sites like Myspace in its heyday. They were places to put and publish our thoughts, to connect with others, and to track our own development from one year to the next.

A professional blog, however, is generally different. Of course, there will be time-sensitive content, depending on the industry: news stories, PR coups, responses to new developments in the field. But there’s a lot of content on most professional blogs that has more staying power, like field-specific advice.

Let’s take as an example one of my favourite entrepreneurship coaches: Anne-Marie Cross. I follow her on Twitter, and almost every day I follow a link or two from her feed. She tweets about women in business, strategies for selling and branding and getting paid what you’re worth and all sorts of highly useful, well-written content from her website. But she doesn’t just tweet articles when she writes them: she tweets each article fairly frequently, on an ongoing basis, which makes it much more likely that her target audience will intercept the tweet and read the article.

So how does this affect Twitter strategies? How can you use this understanding of the non-sequentiality of most blog content to improve your use of Twitter? Here are a couple of suggestions:

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. On a blog, once you’ve made a post, it’s out there and done. You might link back to it in a subsequent post, or put it in a category or tag it, but the blogging platform has limited ability to promote that post a few days or weeks later. Because of Twitter’s fast pace, you’re likely to have a different audience at different times, which means that you can continue to link to an article for as long as it’s relevant. Anne-Marie Cross’s article on building your personal brand, for instance, or my article on avoiding the Internet detritus of failed social media campaigns, are just as relevant now as they were when they were first published, and there’s no reason to stop promoting them on Twitter.

That said, if you tweet the same stuff every day, your followers will start to tune you out. There’s a delicate balance to be found. But there’s nothing wrong, and potentially a lot to be gained, by re-tweeting a good article every week or two.

Look at your blog as an encyclopedia, not a diary. You’re a professional. You have a lot of interesting, important and relevant things to say. When you blog professionally, do it as if you’re writing a compendium of collected knowledge and wisdom about your field. Because that’s what you’re doing, and that’s the approach that will get you the most readers – and will help those readers the most. You never know when a particular reader will be interested in, say, a post about emerging media markets; if you posted about it in September and they’re looking in January, they may not find your post. But if you post about it in September and tweet about it every week or so from then on, your target audience is much more likely to find you.

(I know I’ve promised a couple posts on other things – and don’t worry, they’re coming.)