3 types of tweets that are rarely retweeted

By Heather Mansfield | Posted: March 28, 2013
If your organization is failing to earn retweets, you haven’t found your Twitter voice. 

Retweets lead to increased exposure for your company or nonprofit’s online presence. In fact, Twitter has said that influence on Twitter on the social networking site is not in a user’s follower count, but in how often it gets retweeted. 

That means you have to give your followers something that’s retweetable. Here are three types of tweets that rarely, if ever, get retweeted: 

1. Truncated automated tweets from Facebook. 

There are no short cuts in social media. Folks on Twitter don’t want to follow robots. They want to know there’s a human being behind your account. Avoid cross-posting tweets from Facebook to Twitter, especially when they’re automated. This sort of tweet is not going to draw retweets: 

2. Tweets with too many hashtags. 

Studies and anecdotes have shown that tweets with more than two hashtags result in a drop in engagement and become much less likely to be retweeted. 

Buddy Media study from last year found that tweets with one or two hashtags saw a 21 boost in engagement; a report from Twitter put that number at nearly 50 percent. However, engagement drops when tweets have more than two hashtags, according to Buddy Media. 

More recently, New York Times social media editor Daniel Victor said in a column for Nieman Journalism Lab that hashtags fail to attract audiences. 

3. Poorly formatted tweets—and those with semicolons. 

Research has shown that accurate spelling matters to Twitter users, as does proper grammar and punctuation; adverbs and qualifiers have been shown to decrease engagement on Twitter. 

Tweets that are too long or short, as well as those that employ ALL CAPS or fail to include a link, also turn off Twitter users. 

Curiously, punctuation can boost engagement on Twitter. For instance, periods and colons can lead to retweets, but tweets with question marks and semicolon see fewer shares, according to research from Dan Zarrella, a “social media scientist” with the marketing firm HubSpot. 

RELATED: The anatomy of the perfect tweet 

Heather Mansfield is the owner of DIOSA Communications, author of “Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits,” and principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech 2.0, where a version of this story first appeared.


What’s the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release?

What’s the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release?

What’s the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release?

Posted by Greg Elwell on Sat, Jul 24, 2010

About 10 years ago when I was doing marketing for Nextel in Minnesota we worked with a local PR agency who pitched our stuff to the local media. They helped write press releases then sent them to reporters and tech writers in the area with the hopes of getting them published, or perhaps an interview that could lead to a featured article.

press releaseWe were totally at the mercy of the media as to whether our press releases got noticed and acted upon. My take on it is if our releases seemed to mesh with their hot buttons and what they wanted to talk about we had success. But if not we were sent packing. We had little control over the outcome. The media held the keys to unlock the doors to get us in front of our audience.

Fast forward to today. Writing press releases with your PR agency and pitching them to the media is pretty much a thing of the past. Today you have direct access to your audience via the Internet. You also have the opportunity to engage with your audience and interact directly with them via interactive websites, blogs and social media. Today, you are the media. You are a publisher of information. No middle man required.

Four days ago I published a news release via PRWeb (a press release distribution service) and simultaneously published it on my Newsroom – a page on my own website.

PRWeb delivered my release to over 5,000 online media properties. In fourNews Releasedays it’s had over 30,000 impressions. The result of which has brought numerous and valuable backlinks to my website, social interactions and leads.

The news article published to my newsroom page was promoted via Twitter. It was tweeted and re-tweeted by over 80 people the first day – whose accumulated reach gave further exposure to tens of thousands of eyeballs.

All this without any dependence upon an editor at a media outlet to pick up and publish my news. The cost? A couple hundred bucks and about 4-5 hours of my time.

And the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release is?

The difference it seems to me between a press release and a news release is a matter of perception and what you do to publish and promote your news. To me, the term, “news release” has me thinking of modern marketing methods of using the Internet, while “press release” is definitely an older term used to refer to the practice of sending or releasing news to the press.

Google the terms “press release” and “news release” and you find the former has over 71 million hits and the latter term has just 12 million. Arguably, the term, press release has greater awareness, it’s been around longer. And there are some who say there is no difference between the terms.

Yet, the real difference again, is what you do with it, not what you call it. Use the terms interchangeably. Whichever term you choose to use, take control of it. Know that you are a publisher. You are now your own media outlet. With today’s Web you have direct access to the technologies needed and access to a very large, hungry-for-information audience. You can create, publish and promote your own news. No reporter, editor or journalist required.

Learn more about publishing optimized news releases that gets results. Download our free Newsroom Marketing Kit.

What term do you prefer and why?



Very good stuff….

Posted @ Thursday, July 28, 2011 1:06 PM by Hemanth
Definitely agree with your point. Moreover, News Releases are becoming direct to end user Media Releases (Incorporating images, audio, links & video for distribution via social networks, traditional, mobile, blogs and other various online). Whereas, a Press Release is one dimensional and intended only for reporters (Press = Media gatekeepers), more commonly found at traditional outlets. Your definition is correct, timely and accurate.

Posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 5:51 PM by Wilson
I prefer news release because it refers to “news,” not press. I look at a press release as information I want to get to the media, like news conference information etc. A news release is news I want to send to an audience.

Posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 2:01 PM by Ken Gordon, APR

FORMER APPLE BOSS: Apple’s PR Approach Has Become Laughable — Time For A New Strategy

FORMER APPLE BOSS: Apple’s PR Approach Has Become Laughable — Time For A New Strategy

Read more:

Henry Blodget | Mar. 18, 2013, 3:00 PM 
King Kong on the Empire State Building

King Kong


The former head of Apple‘s products division, Jean-Louis Gassée, shreds the company in his column on Monday Note this week, focusing specifically on Apple’s PR strategy.

Apple has made the same mistake that many companies whose businesses have gone from feisty underdog to incumbent market leader have made, Gassée says:

Apple has failed to adapt its PR strategy to its new reality as the market leader.

As evidence of this, Gassée first points to the embarrassing attack on Samsung and Google that marketing chief Phil Schiller delivered last week. This gaffe, in which an unprovoked Schiller trashed Apple’s competitors in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, was seen by most observers as a classless mistake–one that left Apple looking defensive and desperate. The move was so startling that Apple guru John Gruber, who is normally the company’s fiercest defender, called it an “unforced error.”

Then, Gassée points to the language Apple uses in its conference calls to pat itself on the back for its products and performance.

Instead of letting the products and performance speak for themselves, Gassée observes, Apple hyperbolizes them with strenuous repetitions of meaningless adjectives like “great,” “incredible,” and “fantastic.”

In the years when Apple’s products and performance truly deserved these adjectives–which, for several years there, they did–this language was justified.

But now, Gassée says, such frequent use of these words just makes the company sound desperately promotional and detached from reality.

To support this assessment, Gassée analyzed the language in Apple’s last 5 earnings call transcripts by plugging it into his (Apple) word processor and searching for key terms.

He found that the following words appeared the following number of times:

  • “Incredible” — 46 times
  • “Tremendous” — 12 times
  • “Amazing” — 8 times
  • “Strong” — 58 times
  • “Thrilled” — 13 times
  • “Maniacally focused” — 2 times
  • “Great” — 70 times (includes some instance that weren’t self-promotional)

Now, most companies present an enthusiastic and self-promotional front on their conference calls, in part because they know their employees will be listening and they want the employees to feel good about their work.

But there’s enthusiastic and self-promotional, and then there’s Apple.

Meanwhile, despite enduring many (unofficial) disappointments and missteps over the past year, Apple did not take the opportunity to bolster its own credibility.

The following negative words, for example, appeared the following number of times:

  • “Disappoint” — Zero times
  • “Weak” — 7 times (but 6 of these were used to describe things outside Apple’s control, such as “weak dollar”)
  • “Bad” — Zero times
  • “Fail” — Zero times

Now, again, you might say that it’s Apple’s job to toot its own horn, and there certainly aren’t a shortage of folks out there ready to call the company on any mistake.

But here’s the problem with Apple’s approach, according to Gassée:

[W]hat’s wrong with being positive?

Nothing, but this isn’t about optimism, it’s about hyperbole and the abuse of language. Saying “incredible” too many times leads to incredulity. Saying “maniacally focused” at all is out of place and gauche in an earnings call. One doesn’t brag about one’s performance in the boudoir; let happy partners sing your praise.

When words become empty, the listener loses faith in the speaker. Apple has lost control of the narrative; the company has let others define its story. This is a war of words and Apple is proving to be inept at verbal warfare.

Gassée’s basic argument–that Apple’s role has changed and therefore it’s PR strategy must change–is one we’ve made before. This is a rough transition for most companies (Microsoft, for instance, struggled with it for years), but eventually, one hopes, Apple will get there.

Read Gassée’s whole article here >

Now Watch: Apple’s Answer To The Google Glasses Is Past The Experimental Stage

Read more:


5 Tips to Improve Your Press Releases

5 Tips to Improve Your Press Releases

5 Tips to Improve Your Press Releases

, March 1, 2013


SEO professionals who look at press releases as a way to garner links are missing the point.

The strategy of spamming wire services with sales pitches or informative articles under a press release header has been recognized, and Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts has said in not to expect much power from these types of links just because they are a press release.

The true power of a press release is to attract media attention, leading to a reporter re-working the release into a full-fledged article. Those are the powerful, authoritative links that build rank and authority.

To get a journalist’s attention, press releases need to get a journalist’s interest and engage that journalist enough to publish it.

Using the proper form for a press release is important, but including the right content with the right spin is even more critical to getting the juicy links that press coverage – not syndicated press releases – can provide.

Here are a few tips from journalists on giving your content the right spin:

1. Avoid Jargon

“Don’t reel off esoteric software programs that mean nothing to the average reader. Say in generic terms why the company is hot,” says Scott Wyland, Investigative reporter, Scripps Newspapers.

Your average newspaper reader doesn’t know SEO from SOS or PageRank from page views. Explain the concept instead of using a term that could be confusing.

Releases specifically for industry publications should use the industry terms but avoid proprietary or company-only slang.

2. No Hard Sell

The old saying “People love to buy but hate to be sold” is valid for press releases. Releases written as a sales pitch with a strong call to action will often go directly to the circular file.

Journalists and publications walk a fine line of ethical reporting, and reputable journalists have a duty to go beyond the sales pitch. Including heavy sales language makes it harder for a reporter to strip away the promotions and get to the core – if there is a core at all.

3. Don’t Believe the Hype

Journalists are trained to be critical. They have a well-developed nose for baloney.

Superlatives and just high praise will trip the crap-o-meter and lead to tossed releases. Keep your releases factual and to the point.

“Journalists read news releases to find out what’s being promoted and whether it’s worth a story. They don’t read them to be entertained,” said Wyland. Hyperbole has to be edited out, causing more work for the journalist.

4. Press Release Styles

There are two approaches to press release writing. The traditional, “reverse triangle” press release gives a summary of the facts and makes the reporter craft the story. This press release primer gives a good background on the details of a release.

There’s another school of thought that drafts the release as the final news story itself, saving the journalist the work of setting the scene.

“Start with a description or anecdote at the top, and get to the point quickly,” advised Wyland. “People who don’t have a professional story-telling background could create a muddled mess if they try to get too fancy.”

Most outlets still expect the traditional release, and journalistic ethics prompt reporters to research the release anyways. If you’ve built relationships with reporters who are open to this type of release, then a more modern and feature-style release could help propel you to the next level.

5. Know Your Audience

Finally, your release should target a specific audience. While you want to keep your end consumer in mind, your target audience is the journalist reading the press release. Your release should appeal to the journalist’s interests, topics and views.

For example, the tech industry in downtown Las Vegas is growing. The Las Vegas Sun has a reporter assigned specifically to the downtown area to report on its growth and changes. Joe Downtown will never report on a tech company that’s growing in the suburbs of Las Vegas, even though the common strains of growth and tech are present. Pitches that are off the mark are one of journalists’ top annoyances.


To get journalists to cover your story, give them a factual yet engaging summary of your announcement. Avoid technical jargon, hype, and a sales call to action. Tailor your release to journalists that cover your topic, and write to their needs.

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