“In” class assignment: Headlines

Now that we’re a week into our group blogs (and 10 weeks into our personal ones), we’re going to start thinking a little more actively about drawing people in by means other than brilliant, stimulating content. We talked in class today about SEO – Search Engine Optimization – and its uses. Here’s that brilliant/awful Huffington Post example: What Time is the Super Bowl? Like it or not, it exemplifies how SEO works. Even almost a year later, it’s still one of the top hits for a question many people were asking Google in February 2013.

Your assignment is as follows (due before class next Thursday – 11:30 a.m., Oct. 31):

  1. Write an SEO-focused headline for a post on your group OR personal blog.
  2. Compose TWO tweets for the story
    • These should be meaningfully different
    • Try to emphasize a keyword from your post
    • Write them with SEO principles or retweetability tactics in mind
  3. Tweet each of these with the link to your story
    • The two tweets must be in the same block on the same day: Morning (9-12) or Afternoon (1-4)
    • They must be at least an hour apart (e.g., 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.)
    • NOTE: You can also post two updates to Facebook, or two to Twitter AND two to Facebook, for greater comparison (but you can’t post one to Twitter and one to Facebook)
  4. Post a comment to this assignment that includes:
    • The headline
    • The tweets and the day and time(s) you posted them
    • Why you wrote them the way you did and posted when you did
    • Discussion of the pageviews, retweets, and any other response you got.

We’ll look into the numbers behind these in Thursday’s class


25 Responses to “In” class assignment: Headlines

  1. 1. The headline: Internet for One, Internet for All

    a. Read my latest blog post- Mark #Zuckerberg and #Internet for Everyone http://bit.ly/19E2usf — posted Friday, Oct. 25 at 10:30 a.m. via Twitter

    b. In case you missed it: #Facebook CEO launches project to give the entire world #Internet access http://bit.ly/1blRuzf — posted Friday, Oct. 25 at 11:30 a.m. via Twitter

    3. I posted each of these in ways that included popular searchable words like “Facebook” “Zuckerberg” and “Internet.” I used a hash tag of each of these words. Initially, I chose to use these words because they were the most common when I searched my blog post topic on Google. I used Bitly.com so I could track the number of times each post was clicked. Finally, I chose to post each tweet within an hour of each other to measure how much of a difference that would make.

    4. I received no retweets, but after looking on bitly.com, I realized that a small number of people had clicked on the links. I think I could have maximized readership by posting these on a Monday morning as opposed to a Friday morning. Overall, more people clicked on the second tweet, “In case you missed it: #Facebook CEO launches project to give the entire world #Internet access http://bit.ly/1blRuzf.”

  2. ryanglaspell says:

    1. “Morgantown hosts array of open mics”

    a) Want to check out some local #Morgantown entertainment? Come to an open mic night. Find out where here: http://bit.ly/1ccRCSy Twitter 12:18 pm 10/28
    b) #Morgantown musicians, poets and comedians, want to display your talent? Visit a local open mic. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1ccRCSy Twitter 1:21 pm 10/28

    3. I wrote these tweets the way I did to try and cater to those interested in using open mics and those who want to attend them. The first tweet I mentioned “Morgantown entertainment”, as well as tacking on the word “night” to open mic. “Open mic night” was always the phrase that Google autofilled. The second tweet was directed towards people who want to perform. I chose to use “musicians”, “poets” and “comedians” because those are the most common acts that take place at the mic nights. My post was done and ready to be published at like 11:30, but I waited until noon to adequately gauge the response of my “followers” to my tweets.

    4. The bitly link generated 8 clicks, and the page itself had 11 different visitors. I got one retweet, courtesy of Kevin, coming from the second tweet. I also posted the same messages on Facebook, but in reverse order. Each post on Facebook got a grand total of one like (I’m kind of a big deal). 6 of the 8 clicks did come from Facebook, though. And 3 of the total clicks came within the first hour. I think that Facebook is better for promoting because it stays on the Timeline for a bit longer than a tweet lasts on a Twitter feed. Also, I want to say (although I have no data to support it) that there is a higher percentage of laptop/desktop usage on Facebook compared to Twitter. So if people see an interesting link on Facebook they will be in a more comfortable setting to view a link. I may be completely wrong though, but a hunch.

  3. My latest post was about Halloween Safety. Primarily focused on trick-or-treating, I posted the link two different times, two different ways.

    Here’s the first tweet: Halloween is tomorrow. Are you prepared? http://bit.ly/HdpYL8

    Posted: 10:15am on Wednesday October 30, 2013– 10 views- 1 Retweet and 19 visitors to the website after the first tweet before the second tweet.

    I decided to post in the morning because I found that my followers tend to be more active on Twitter in the morning. I chose 10:15am because that’s usually when many people who work 8am-4pm or 9pm-5pm take their first break. I figured many people would check social media on their break and this would boost some interest in my post. I had one retweet by another college student, and one reply by a Morgantown mom thanking me for the reminder.

    I phrased it as a question because many people seek answers to questions. More people are intrigued to know the answer when you ask a question. Asking a question motivates the viewer to seek the answer. By asking a question and providing the link you provide the answer in your content so more people are motivated to click the link and view the post. In addition, I got some really good comments on how some people appreciated that I really incorporated some more general concepts into the Morgantown area by looking at real people in Morgantown.

    Tweet 2: Trick or Treat? Find out how you can keep your child safe during Halloween in Morgantown. http://bit.ly/HdpYL8

    Posted 11:15am on Wednesday October 30, 2013. An hour after posting the second tweet I have 12 post views, 21 website views, 0 Retweets.

    Again, I took a question approach, but I added the words “check it out,” because research shows that when you provide a call to action to people they are more likely to respond. I also included the question because as I mentioned before questions are considered good tactics.

    Overall I got 24 clicks on my bitly.com link. Today after making the two separate posts. In both posts I tried to use key words that would be searchable such as “Halloween,” “Trick-or-Treat,” and “Morgantown.”

  4. samanthacart says:

    For this assignment, I posted two different headlines for my personal blog post. The blog’s title is “Can Christians celebrate Halloween?” I tweeted the link to this post two different times. The first time I used a headline I may have used on any other day. I tweeted at 12:30 and 1:30 because I have found on my personal blog that the posts I put up in the afternoon (between noon and 2 p.m.) get the greatest amount of views.

    12:30 p.m.
    Christianity versus Halloween – read more here! http://tinyurl.com/llet294 #Halloween2013 #WVUBlogJ

    The second time I tweeted, I tried to use an SEO headline. I found that the phrase “Should Christians celebrate Halloween” was highly popular on Google. Also, “check out” and “new blog post” are on the top retweetable words list.

    1:30 p.m.
    Should Christians celebrate Halloween? Check out my new blog post! http://tinyurl.com/llet294 #Halloween2013 #WVUBlogJ

    I used the same hashtags so that I wouldn’t add another variable.

    During the first hour, my blog got 18 views. However, after I tweeted the second (SEO) headline, my blog got 36 views for a total of 54. While I understand the importance and value of SEO headlines, according to my WordPress statistics, most of my viewers click to my blog from Facebook, not Twitter. This makes sense since I have more Facebook friends than Twitter followers. In the future when trying to optimize my headlines and increase traffic to my blog, I will utilize Facebook.

  5. dkrotz says:

    1.My headline is: Girly hats for the Marines?

    2a. What do the #Marines wear? http://bit.ly/1cr28d8 #USMC #WVUBlogJ
    2b. Check out the #Marines new hats! http://bit.ly/1cr28d8 #USMC #WVUBlogJ

    3. Each of my posts had a hashtag for “Marines” and “USMC” so that they could be searched by more people than the limited amount who follow me.

    4. I didn’t receive any retweets on my posts. In addition, I used the link to my post from Bitly.com so I could track the hits that it got. As of the writing of this post, neither post had received any hits.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      One thing I notice about both your hed and tweets is that they make no mention of the media aspect of your blog. That’s missing out on a big part of why someone might be interested!

  6. kevinmduvall says:

    My headline for my personal blog post today is “Tabletop games news: Cheapass Games runs third successful Kickstarter project, “Get Lucky.”

    I phrased the headline this way because the Google auto-fill completed the phrase “tabletop games” with “tabletop games news.” “Tabletop games news” had more than 9 million results, while curiously, “tabletop game news” had only 7 million. “Tabletop gaming news” had 12 million, but apparently that is the name of an organization, so I did not use it for the headline to avoid confusion.

    My first tweet, sent at 10:00, was “Tabletop games news: “Get Lucky” now on Kickstarter. http://bit.ly/16c1iOQ

    I chose 10:00 because it is in the window of time frame we talked about in class that would be best for posting on Twitter. More people (especially among college students) are on Twitter at this time, so I thought it would work better than the afternoon. I thought I’d start by using my SEO-focused phrase. I guess it didn’t work, because I got no retweets and only one page view, which might have been from myself.

    My second tweet, sent at 11:30, was “3 Kickstarter campaigns tabletop gamers can learn from. http://bit.ly/16c1iOQ

    I wanted to give my first tweet more than an hour to get views, but I needed to still do the second one in the morning, so I posted it at 11:30. This time, I went for a more “retweetable” message with a number. This headline is a little misleading; while there are three campaigns mentioned in the article, it’s really only about one. But I figured if the Huffington Post can do it, I can too. Apparently the HuffPost method worked better, because the story got two hits this time. So it looks like even though I only got three views, the second tweet might have enticed readers a little bit more than the first.

  7. ebuchman5 says:

    I chose to tweet about a blog I did on our group blog, Almost Heaven Entertainment. The post I decided to focus on is “A family outing doesn’t have to be expensive,” that way I could provide the information about taking your family to a sporting event to my followers again. I composed two tweets, which were:

    1. Looking for a cheap date? http://bit.ly/1aa9FFt #WVent- posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 11:00 am

    2. In need of a cheap idea for family night? I can help 🙂 http://bit.ly/1aa9FFt #WVent- posted Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 12:00 pm.

    In both of these tweets, I made sure to include the hashtag my group blog has been using, #WVent. When deciding on my tweets, I wanted to include keywords such as “date” and “cheap,” to give readers a glimpse of what the post is about—going out with your family and not spending much money while doing so. I wanted to post in the middle of the week, because I felt it would give people enough time to read the post and plan for this weekend, as there are a ton of sporting events going on in Morgantown. I was afraid to wait until the afternoon because of my target audience.

    In general, families are busy during the evening hours, picking kids up from school, making dinner, homework, baths, etc., so I figured parents would be more likely to click the link during the early afternoon while they were at work. I also thought this was a better time because there was a potential for parents to be on their lunch break at work, giving them ample time to read the post.

    As far as the response I got—it was lower than I expected. I received no retweets, but did see some increased readership on my blog post. My post received seven views from the Twitter link provided (shortened with bit.ly), which I didn’t think was bad. The times I posted my tweets didn’t seem to translate into more viewers, since I only had seven total. In the future, I would be interested posting maybe twice in the morning block and twice in the afternoon block.

    It doesn’t seem that the problem was getting people to read the post as much as it was getting people to share the post. Getting people to share my post is absolutely something I could work on in the future.

  8. frostedtsaar says:

    1. The best (and worst) Pokémon-themed jack-o’-lanterns

    a. The best (and worst) Pokémon-themed jack-o’-lanterns http://wp.me/p3QflB-3X 10:44 AM – 30 Oct 13
    b. Halloween not geeky enough? These people put a little Pokemon in their pumpkins, and it’s awesome. http://wp.me/p3QflB-3X 12:00 PM – 30 Oct 13

    3. For the first tweet, I used my normal convention of putting the headline as the tweet. I thought about how popular stories with “best of” and “worst of” lists are, so I thought this might get me some hits. I normally post around 3 p.m., because that’s when I finish writing my stories. But, I thought I should try something different this time, so I scheduled it to be posted just before 11 p.m.

    For the second tweet, I thought I should pose a question. I think I remember reading in Briggs that getting your audience involved with questions in tweets can be a good way to bring in readers. I posted it little over an hour after the first.

    4. Unfortunately, I only got one view from Twitter, and it was from the second tweet. No retweets. I usually don’t get many views from Twitter; they generally come from WordPress users and Google searches, and I’m not sure how to track that other than using WordPress’s built-in tools.

  9. trentcu says:

    1. In The Sports World, Series of Problems Persist

    2a. Amid the #Worldseries , a brief perspective on a negative aspect of professional sports http://goo.gl/pRI8bW posted: 10/30 at 13:17

    2b. Reflection on the recent poor display of #sportsmanship on #MondayNightFootball http://goo.gl/pRI8bW posted:10/30 at 14:37

    3. In the first tweet, I wanted to incorporate the phrase “World Series” to reflect the sequence of words present in my headline, which was chosen to capitalize on the current sporting event and search activity it is currently generating. I wanted the second tweet to feature words that were relevant to the content of my blog post, such as “Monday Night Football” and “Sportsmanship,” with the aim of targeting a broader sports-intrigued audience.

    I posted the tweets at the times I did in order to have them released about as close to the start of the potential deciding game of the World Series as I could, with the objective getting the blog post out there at time when the subject incorporated in its headline was peaking.

    4. Within a few hours after posting the tweets, the link received nine hits, but no additional ones as of this morning. Neither of my tweets received any favorites or retweets.

  10. zvoreh says:

    Do Documentary Filmmakers make money? Thursday 10:20
    I wrote the headline this way because i know it will come up in a Google search. It came up when i wrote a post about how filmmakers make money.
    How you can make money doing the things you love. Thursday 10:20
    I felt this would get a lot of views because who doesn’t want to be paid for their passion.

    Do Documentary filmmakers make money?!0:22 Thursday
    I did this for the same reason that i wrote the head line to get Google search.

    So far no hits but I will wait and see.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      These only seem to be two minutes apart, not at least an hour as required. Also, that first one doesn’t really tell us what the story is about (documentary). What’s the update on them?

  11. acampb22 says:

    1. The 6 Second Resume
    2.’Vine Resume’ might get you the job in just 6 seconds http://tinyurl.com/lngonqv
    3. Build an online resume with Vine? http://tinyurl.com/lngonqv

    For the first tweet I noticed the phrase ‘Vine Resume’ was a sequence of words that was heavily searched on Google. My second tweet I tried to capitalize on the words “build an online resume” because that is also heavily searched on Google by those looking for websites that help with building a resume.

    I posted the tweets in the afternoon, one at about 2 and the other at about 3. Neither of my tweets received any retweets or favorites and unfortunately my blog post only received 3 hits.

  12. The hed: Two Sides of Conflict: High Street’s Food Vendors

    1. Why are they kicking the Hot Dog man off High Street? Read: (Link) 12:31 PM Oct. 29
    2, The official Hot Dog Man is about to disappear forever – and there’s probably nothing you can do about it: (Link) 1:37 PM Oct. 29

    So I’ve been experimenting with writing headlines for my Twitter crowd for a while, and I’m in agreement that dramatic, engaging heds and Tweets get my followers’ attention. I should have put “Hot Dog Man” somewhere in the headline, but I supplemented that with the Tweets.

    I know for a fact the majority of my followers are students, and if you walk through the Mountainlair around noon you’ll notice that a ton of people are on their smartphones while they’re eating lunch. This holds true in people who aren’t students as well. Accordingly, I know that if I post something at noon or during a late lunch, I’ll get more hits than if I post at like ten a.m. or three p.m. because more people are on their phones. I’ve been using a Bitly link shortener to track the clicks.

    I wish I could have posted my tweets for this assignment at like 10 p.m. or midnight, because the most views I’ve ever gotten have come from links I’ve posted late at night. I’d say this is a side effect of having students as my audience.

    When it comes to syntax, if you take the “I” out of tweets and attempt to engage the follower, you’re more likely to get a click. “There’s nothing you can do about it” is probably a good, if not emotionally charged, example of this. Think of those stupid ads you always see on the sides of websites: “You could have a brand new car right now! Just one click away!” I try to make my tweets more sophisticated than that, but it’s the same concept. The reason people don’t tune it out is because they know I’m a real person, not an ad.

    I garnered 30 clicks total, which pushed up my post on WordPress metrics. Not as many retweets, but the only stories I usually get retweets on are happy ones, so.

    Still, the effort to publicize the post resulted in a grand total of about 52 clicks since it was posted this Monday. I’m looking forward to more comments and more retweets as I continue to broadcast it.

  13. rachelwvu says:

    Headline: Started From the Bottom, Now We Here


    I tweeted these within the 9-12 block. I used words like “ESPN”, “Disney”, and “Erin Andrews” to appeal to different people.

    I teased my twitter followers by suggesting they go to my wordpress blog for more.

  14. iamoore says:

    1)Headline: Halloween Attractions Near Morgantown
    Happy Halloween! In honor of today, check out my blog for #WVent about Halloween attractions nearby. http://wp.me/p41Vau-3N #WVUblogJ 9:50 am Oct. 31
    If you’re looking for some scary Halloween attractions check out http://wp.me/p41Vau-3N for some close to us. #WVent 10:52 am Oct 31.
    3)I wrote these tweets the way I did because I thought people would be interested in learning about Halloween attractions that are nearby. I wrote them at this time because when I walk around campus I notice at this time in the mornings people are often waiting around outside of their classrooms looking at their smartphones. This gives me a large audience that could potentially see my tweets especially since a large number of my followers are college students.
    4) I wanted to accomplish this assignment with my group blog in an attempt to get more traffic to the blog we have all been working on. The negative of this plan was that my post was set to go up today which doesn’t leave much time for retweets, and clicks before class. As of now I haven’t gotten any clicks or retweets but as the day goes on I’m sure that number will increase.

  15. karleapack says:

    1. Facebook FOMO

    2a. Facebook FOMO #thefearofmissingout http://karleapack.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/facebook-fomo/#comments (Oct. 31–10:19)

    2b. Having a HALLOWEEN PARTY at your bar? Here’s 5 steps for better Facebook promoting! #Halloween #party #facebook
    http://karleapack.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/facebook-fomo/#comments (Oct. 31–11:20)

    3. I wrote the first one to stay consistent with the actual title of that particular blog, which seemed to get me a lot of hits and follows right after I wrote it. The reason behind me choosing today to post these is because it’s Halloween. Twitter will probably be utilized a lot today because people are waking up for class, already excited to party tonight. This is what fueled me for my second tweet. I incorporated Halloween party because I feel like that would grab readers’ attention easily today of all days, and used the same concept to hashtag. In both posts I used “facebook” because that is a highly searched word, and also (in the second post) chose to place “5 steps” because it seems to be a popular search on Google as well.

    4. I posted these two tweets on both of my Twitter handles to test all of my audience. For the first tweet I’ve received 5 views so far, with no retweets, favorites, or responses. I just posted the second tweet so I hope to see some better results during class!

  16. Headline: People of Interest: People of Interest: Brian Chang
    a. natalie b snyder ‏@natalie_snyder19m Advising Help from an Advisor at #WVU http://tinyurl.com/qzvz8q5 11 am.
    b. natalie b snyder ‏@natalie_snyder3mPerson of Interest: Brian Chang #WVU http://tinyurl.com/qzvz8q5 11:18 AM

    First of all, I did not read that they should be an hour apart, so I only posted them ~20 minutes apart. I posted these the way I did because the second one is very similar to what my post is called. I feel like it works for someone who understands the content of my blog, but wouldn’t necessarily attract the attention of people browsing twitter. No one knows who Brian Chang is and People of Interest could mean anything. The other tweet was aimed at attracting people who might need advising help here at WVU. It uses terms such as advising, advisor and WVU.

    So far I haven’t had much response and don’t anticipate it because I don’t have too many active followers on this Twitter. I understand the exercise, but I don’t think my posts will show much difference for this reason. I plan on keeping up with the posts, because I do think subtle changes like that and the use of more hashtags will get certain readers’ attention.

  17. ryanfadus says:

    Headline: WVU parody accounts help bring hilarity to students and fans

    Tweet 1: Find out which #WVU parody accounts to follow and what they bring to students http://wp.me/p41CKQ-1P

    Tweet 2: Want a laugh check out which #WVU coaches have parody accounts http://wp.me/p41CKQ-1P

    I wrote them the way I did since they were pretty straight to the point, but provided something intriguing that people might want to check out. By adding the hashtag to WVU it creates a larger network that people use a lot. I posted them when I did since most people seem to be active on Twitter during the late morning hours. Things are always breaking and much of this goes on earlier in the day.

    I have not received any retweets or page views yet, but give them a few hours and they could start to generate traffic. Sometimes articles take awhile to catch on, but once people begin to find and talk about them they explode. By having the WVU hashtag as well I feel as though this post can reach a larger audience since many people use that hashtag to see what is going on at WVU.

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