The only word that I can think of to describe the tweetable highlights that the “spell-casting, wand-waving wizards” (Beaujon, 2013) at The NY Times tested today is ingenious. In case you missed my frantic posts on Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn about the mysterious highlighted quotes found within the SNL article written by @ditzkoff, I decided to explain my excitement over the interactive feature by pointing out three big reasons why it is superior to http://clicktotweet.com/ or http://linksy.me/
1. The Text is Highlighted
While ClicktoTweet certainly has recognized that authors have a desire to make certain quotes within an article easy to share, the ClickToTweet application does not make the actual quote standout within the text. This scenario leaves individual authors with the burden of determining how to make the sharable quote standout.
Marketing expert, @LauraClick, has achieved this within her blog posts by bolding and italicizing quotes that she would like readers to share. For instance, in her most recent article, she bolded and italicized text within her article and specified that it was sharable: “There is not a universally perfect time to post on social media. Instead, do what works best for you. (Click here to tweet that)” (Click, 2013).
Click’s method of indicating that the in-text quote is sharable is effective. However, other authors may be using completely different formatting tactics. This lack of uniformity certainly undermines the power of the tweetable quotes when compared to a scenario where all authors could draw attention to in-text quotes by highlighting them with the same Twitter-branded blue, which brings me to my next point.
2. The Highlighted Text is Branded
The highlighting, in and of itself, is a useful means of distinguishing a certain quote from the rest of the text. But, the fact that The New York Times’ tweetable highlights were blue and followed by Twitter’s branded bird makes it significantly better than ClickToTweet’s application.
Perhaps it is because I write articles specifically pertaining to social media applications, but the blue highlighted text within Itzkoff’s SNL article felt like a bomb had just went off in the content marketing world. I kept scrolling up and down the article, clicking on all of the blue highlighted quotes, and yelling at my poor kids, “What is this?! What is this Twitter-branded highlights?!!”
Where my mind went next is the most important discussion we marketers should be having over the next few months: If certain key quotes within our articles can be highlighted and branded with Twitter’s blue bird, can we also not start to direct traffic to other social media sites via branded Google+ highlights and LinkedIn highlights? My head is spinning just thinking about all of the possibilities that the Times’ branded highlights have the potential to induce.
3. The Branded Quote is Self-Explanatory
Because the highlighted quotes within Itzkoff’s article were followed by the Twitter branded blue bird, the call-to-action did not need to be explained. In other words, at the end of Click’s aforementioned quote, she was forced to use an awkward call-to-action: “Click here to tweet that.”
Let me make clear that I am not calling Click’s writing style awkward (quite the opposite, I’m a big fan). Instead, I am simply pointing out that ClickToTweet’s inferior application is causing authors to waste precious real estate within their articles to give reader’s instructions. Conversely, Times’ interactive team’s version looked slick, but more importantly used the power of a brand to be intuitive.
This is going to show the level of nerd in me, but I haven’t been this excited about such a simple concept in a long while. I do believe if someone can mimic The New York Time’s use of branded, highlighted text, authors and bloggers will have a new tactic that can increase the sharability of key themes within their documents. Just think, instead of a widget toolbar at the top (or bottom – thanks a lot, WordPress) of our articles, we could have those branded widgets within our articles. Now, there is a quote I’d love for you to share via ClicktoTweet: http://clicktotweet.com/LbNbe
A call to my fellow marketers: Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear what you think about the potential behind Times’ take on ClicktoTweet’s application.
Beaujon, A. (2013). New York Times Experiments With Tweetable Highlights in SNL Story. Poynter. Retrieved from http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/221911/new-york-times-experiments-with-tweetable-highlights-in-snl-story/
Click, L. (2013). When is the Best Time to Post on Social Media? Blue Kite Marketing. Retrieved from http://flybluekite.com/2013/08/22/best-time-to-post-on-social-media/