for a strong, fast pick-me-up
As you’ve probably found out – writing for Law and writing for Twitter are totally different.
Legal types can face severe challenges when trying to write for social media.
I’ve started a series of tips on how lawyers can improve their writing style to adapt to social media – especially blogging and twitter.
This #TwitterForLawyersTips post covers the importance of timing your tweets and the helpful ideas of harnessing:
1. feeding and reading times
2. the concept of the thinking when your audience is down by the on-line river – the social media stream – or the raging rapids of twitter
In future posts I’ll cover tips on how to overcome writing problems many lawyers face including, but not limited to:
1. Writing concisely – editing tips – lawyers are notoriously “complete” and detailed and too passive and polysylabbic
2.Writing in a “real” and human voice – lawyers are trained to write with disspassionate professional detachment
Twitter’s writing “voice” should also be:
After you’ve read these posts you’ll be much better equipped to write for social media – including twitter:
You come in with a brain full of mush – you’ll leave thinking like a blogger
(or a tweeter!)
That line is inspired by the crusty Contracts Professor in that great law move – The Paper Chase
I’m a lawyer turned business communication consultant and I’ve had to adapt my old “legal” style to modern business communication and social media.
How you can attract attention on Twitter – just use with these easy “word tricks”
If you want to improve the probability that people read your twitter posts (and click onto any links) – here are 5 easy “tricks” you can start using – straight away!
If you want tips on the technical side of Twitter and how to use different Twitter tools – it’s best that you check out other “twexperts”.
What I can do is give you word tips – on how to write for Twitter. The writing part is my area of twexpertise.
Quick context for you:
I used to hate Twitter – but now I’m a massive fan – I’m attwicted (as they say in twitter speak!)
I remember helping the editor of a leading Australian magazine – and we got onto the topic of Twitter.
She is a media veteran and a skilled, articulate and elegant writer – and yet she was unsure (back then) about how to write for Twitter.
The brevity and “superficiality” of Twitter can be a challenge for professionals who didn’t grow up on social media. The Twitter”canvas” can appear too small to do anything “meaningful”.
“What’s the point?” is a common reaction.
A lot of my senior business exec friends and clients have a strong distaste for Twitter:
I don’t want to waste my time or other people’s time writing about “what I had for breakfast”.
Have you heard that reaction before?
I convince them about the importance of learning how to adapt and write for Twitter and other Social Media. Sure – I have a vested interest in being able to get paid to teach them and their people how to write – but they like that I can:
1.undertand their attitude and writing challenges
2. “walk them through” easy steps on how to write better for this media that requires that you Twite (Write for Twitter) in a style that’s concise, engaging, and attracts your intended readers’ attention.
I help “more mature” professionals and “more conservative” businesses improve their Twitter writing.
I often use age-old journalism and copywriting techniques to “hook” reader attention and encourage ”deeper engagement”.
Now – here are those easy “tricks” to help you improve your writing – a summary, then the detail!
1. Add THIS word to make your reader want to go deeper
2. Use “question” words and question marks
3. You use YOU and YOUR
5. Why these Insider tricks really work!
1. Add THIS word to make your reader want to go deeper
Use This and These
US Social Media and Business Development expert and super-influential and popular tweeter Chris Brogan often uses THIS word.
THIS can create vagueness and curiosity that makes you want to go deeper to see what THIS is.
Maybe I’m just a hungry guy who wanted to see the picture of what lasted 3 scoops. I must say I was surprised – as I expected big scoops of icecream! It wasn’t at all what I expected – yet I chuckled and thought:
Chris – You got me – again!!
Here’s another example of THIS – the word YOU – and an engaging question (I told you this guy was good!)
Chris uses Twitter so engagingly well in a warm and human and funny way. His “business” is called The Human Business Way.
With many Twitter users’ messages you think – here comes the sell again! I call it “the bite” – pushy, pushy, pushy!
Chris also need to “sell” his service – and he “warns” his readers of what he calls “selly sell” parts of his content. Mind you – the selly sell is a miniscule part of his content! With some social media writers it’s ALL selly sell! And this turns readers off!!
In future posts – I’ll write about how you can learn more from how Chris adds humour and humanity to his Tweets.
2. Use “question” words and question marks
You’ve probably heard before how asking questions is a great way to engage – in live presentations – as well as in social media.
What I’m talking about is adding Question words not just question marks to your tweets.
Let me explain:
Journalists are trained in the 5 Ws and 1 H – the question words
Instead of just giving information – you make a reader want to read more to find out the answer to the question you suggest.
When I helped financial analysis make their reports more engaging – I encouraged them to add question words to the titles and headings of their reports.
These analysts were much smarter that I was – yet a few “newsy reporter tricks” made their reports much more engaging.
Also, look at how magazines make readers want to buy their products
I’m a massive fan of The Economist – so here’s a quick examples.
Look at how the cover doesn’t just make statements – it uses question words to either ask questions or create questions the reader wants to find the answers to. How DO Children succeed? How will history see Obama? How much does he care how history sees him? Read deeper to find out!
The next time you walk past a rack of magazines – just look at how they hook readers with question words.
Why you shouldn’t over-use How!
Now I’ve been using question words in my business writing for decades and I’m noticing that How to is over-used. It’s a commonly used technique to attract visibility on search – by predicting the question searchers type into a search engine.
Sure, How to still works well and I still use How to or How You can – but personally I’m now also deliberately using other question words – like Why and When.
3. You use YOU and YOUR.
These words YOU and YOUR attract readers because readers “insert” themselves where they see YOU and YOUR.
Think of YOU and YOUR as a mirror – when YOU see those words, you see yourself.
In fact, Time magazine had an edition of Person of the Year and that person was: YOU.
The cover had a reflective strip and as a reader YOU could see YOURSELF.
Remember this image and remember to use the words YOU and YOUR.
Strong action verbs also have an implied you – (You) remember this image and (YOU) remember to use…
(YOU) Use the word YOU in your writing because the word is like that “mirror”! Your audience members see themselves in your writing.
4. Easy! – also the words QUICK and FAST
Make it obvious to your reader that getting the value from your tweet will be easy and/or fast.
As I read the tweets that rush down the raging rapids of twitter – I analyse what gets MY attention and makes me want to click deeper.
A recent tweet made me open and read it – right then and there because it promised that it would be easy and fast – 5 minutes!
First of all the subject got my attention – but what triggered the instant action was that the tweet added the EASY part and the specific time (Easy – 5 Mins) – a few words that made it clear to a busy reader that it would only take me 5 minutes to watch this particular video.
It showed that my action and attention required would be relatively fast and easy. Otherwide I would have just kept reading other tweets!
5. Why these Tricks really work!
Readers like to think they are getting some insider tricks or techniques or secrets.
Once again, when you look at magazine covers, look at how often they suggest the reader is getting insider knowledge – the insider tricks or secrets of the trade.
Look how often magazines promise to reveal a scoop or secret or the words inside or reveals/revealed
Look at how often they use the word REALLY – as is what really happened!
So – How do YOU want to take this further to improve YOUR social media writing?
These TIPS are just a taste – I’ve got the scoop on plenty more easy secret INSIDER tricks that really work!
OK stop already!!! – enough with the “magic” words – just plain talking now!
I live in Australia. I know how to write engagingly and I love to teach it to others.
Other people can tell you more about the technical side of Twitter and Twitter tools.
If it’s the writing side you want help with – please consider how I may be able to help you.
If you want to make your social media messages more effective – I can train your key writers.
Or I can even do some writing for you. I know this stuff – I love this stuff.
If you found this post interesting – for more tips you can follow me and connect with me on:
Linked In – under Tony Biancotti
You can check out Chris Brogan‘s podcasts and website via this link: (it’s definitely worth it!)
So – who is writing this ?
Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti and I’m a laugh-loving lawyer turned journalist and business communication consultant.
Sure, I can be an over-enthusiastic “nerd” when it comes to business communication – but I get lots of feedback that people like my enthusiastic knowledge of and passion for the power of words and images and techniques of engaging people.
I will share with you practical and easy-to-apply tips I’ve gathered over many years working as a: