Lessons from Old Media: Making it Easier for Readers to Share Content Through Twitter

Twitter has become an important source for news. Many people like myself find links to interesting articles in their feed and news stories that go Twitter viral soon end up being covered in media and the subject of conversation.

For many years newspapers, magazines, blogs and other media have all had one-click icons to share article links. Some even added a suggested tweet text to make it even easier. But now media are adopting other techniques to encourage readers to tweet, simple ideas that anyone can adopt without any special web development or coding.

Looking at an article published in today's Los Angeles Times Leading scientist warns that Ebola eradication may be elusive, for example, we see the usual Twitter sharing icon both at the top of the article and at the bottom. Clicking on this icon opens a Twitter composition window where we find a suggested tweet with a link to the article. Readers can edit this tweet or add hashtags before sending it. Readers with little time can simply click send, moving from article to tweet in just two clicks.

This much is standard practice, but where the Los Angeles Times takes it one step further is that there are also up to three more different suggested tweets under the title. Readers can thus pick the one they like the most, making it more likely they find something that they want to tweet and also making the tweets more varied.


There are even more prompts to share the content. When there are quotes highlighted beside the copy under each quote is another Twitter icon to share that specific quote.
At the end of the article there is, of course, another icon to tweet the whole article, so that nobody has to scroll back up to the top to use the first one.

These multiple twitter options encourage readers to tweet content from the LA Times more often. They are especially useful for readers using mobile devices who might want to share a story but can't easily type their own tweet. For papers like the LA Times this is now critically important, but website designers and communications managers everywhere can learn from their example, applying these surprisingly simple methods to encourage sharing.


Lectures, Workshops, Coaching, Writing

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing on this and other communication topics you can contact me by email at conseil@andrewhennigan.com, by phone on 0033 6 79 61 42 81 or 0046 730 894 475 or through my website http://andrewhennigan.com




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