Someone you follow on Twitter sends out a tweet that says only, “This annoys me” and then a link. You like this person so and are bored at the moment so you click the link. It turns out to be a really helpful, informative blog post. Let’s say it’s about PayPal charge backs and how they affect eBay sales for the simple reason that this will be easier to talk about if we have an example. But there was nothing in the tweet that preceded the link that would have given you any idea it was such a helpful article.

Very few people are going to click on your friend’s link. The message he or she tweeted was so generic, the clicker would have no idea if the link is going to be a link to a YouTube video of a song the tweeter hates or a horrible picture of dog abuse or something. Whereas quite a few people might have been interested if they had realized the article was about eBay and PayPal charge backs.

Firstly, if you are the person tweeting things with generic introductions, you need to rethink that practice. You are cheating yourself out of clicks in a few big ways. Not only are even your existing followers unlikely to click a generic message that gives no indication if the link is worth clicking, by not using any of the keywords from your post, you cut yourself off from new followers which may find you from the keywords alone.

Secondly, if you are the re-tweeter, you want to provide value for your followers. Your followers wouldn’t be served by that generic headline anymore than the original poster’s followers were.

So whether it is a post of your own or a link you are retweeting, don’t feel like you have to keep the original article title when you send the link out on Twitter. Rewriting a tweet can help you not only provide more value for your Twitter followers but also bring you new followers with the keywords you use.

So if I want to retweet this:

JaneDoe: This annoys me [LINK]

If I just hit the retweet button and change nothing, I get this:

RT @JaneDoe This annoys me [LINK] 

This still doesn’t do anyone any good. OK, yes, my followers know that I thought it was worth retweeting which gives it a little more street cred but it’s still something the majority of people are unlikely to click.

Instead of a straight retweet, why not do something like this?

Are PayPal chargebacks are ruining eBay? [LINK] (via @JaneDoe)

I took the idea of her article, the keywords, and rewrote her headline for her. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I even do this with my own headlines. You may get “Rewrite that retweet! Fixing generic tweets with keywords & a better headline to provide more follower value” from me in the morning and then “I’m not going to click your Twitter link unless you tell me what it’s about first!” later in the day. Both will be links to the exact same article. But by taking a different angle each time, I’m going to get a different set of eyes on the second tweet than I did on the first. I reuse a lot of rejected headlines as rewteets because it works.

Just be sure to still give credit to the original tweeter after you fix up their tweet (unless its yourself, obviously). Not only is it fair to give credit where credit is due, it helps the original poster to learn which improves the Twitterverse overall. Many a time a friend with just as many followers tweets a link and doesn’t get a nibble but after I rewrite and retweet, it gets passed around to several people.

Either way, your helping to contribute to the usefulness of Twitter as a whole.

While we are on this topic, you may want to review this popular article from the archives: How to be a better Twitter user: Tweet to be Retweeted

Want to experiment with this? Find an old blog post that didn’t get many comments when you first wrote it that is still timely. Rewrite the headline and retweet it out on Twitter. See if you can find a more effective way to get people to notice what you wrote by only changing the title.

If you are really stuck, post your link below and between the usual Whine Seller readers and myself, we’ll see if we can help you out. 🙂