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How do you come up with a good title/cover image/twitt?

jmfayard profile image Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ ・1 min read

Hello to fellow DEV.to writers

I don't know about you, but the more I write, the more I want to write.

Since I don't have more time than before, to make this sutenable, I want to become better at the things where I'm inefficient.

Some of the things I struggle with are:

  • Coming up with a good title and sticking to it
  • Coming up with a good cover image, because sharing without one sucks
  • Coming up with a good twitt that @practicaldev can use

How do you do those things?

Any favorite tools and strategies?

Bonus question: I would like to spend less time on Twitter. What would be a good way to automatically schedule a selection of posts of mine?

Discussion

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Coming up with a good title is always tricky (in general, naming things is complicated) and it depends considerably on the content and the audience. I would avoid click-bait titles but, from experience, they seem to be pretty effective (although annoying). The line between attractive and click-baity is sometimes too thin. If your article is a list of things, the format "X [ways|steps|things] to [achieve Y]" works well in general (especially in DEV).

About the cover image, if you are skilled at drawing, I'd say go for it and create something for your post. Even if it's simple, it will be unique and personal. If not, there are many websites with free stock photos where you could potentially find something that matches your content that you can edit and use. Some examples of those sites: Unsplash, Pexels, Burst, or PixaBay.

Finally, tweeting about your post: remember that it's not about you, it's about the people that will want to read it. You know/learned something and want to share it with the world, so you wrote a post. Now make your tweet short and to the point while highlighting why your post will be helpful to others. For me, the posts that get more reactions are the ones that focus on the story and on how the article helped me or can help other people grow... And don't forget the #DEVcommunity hashtag!

 

If you are tweeting, add hashtags related to the content: there are accounts and bots that will like/retweet your content based on them. Many won't be that great, but some could actually be helpful.

And consider sharing on more platforms: LinkedIn allows more characters and could broaden your professional network, Reddit has a huge number of users and could highly impact the visibility of your post, and like that many more depending on the post content: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube...

 

Although I don't know if I'm the best to give advice on this. In general: my titles are bland, many of them don't have a cover image (or share the same one), and I make the mistake of often sharing my posts focusing on myself ("I wrote this" or "I built that") πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

 
 

I agree with @alvaromontoro naming or giving title to the articles.

For banner image, I streamlined my workflow with Sketch and Photoshop (can be removed but I like it that way)

I developed a template for the square icon image and the banner image and reuse it for all posts.

For icons in the banner, I use icon-finder and for Images I use Unsplash; and give the proper credit in the bottom of the post

You can check out some on my blog: time2hack.com

I settled for this format because I wanted to make a pattern in the banner so that readers can recognize the source.

I use Buffer for scheduling the posts to twitter and other social media. But they only support 3 SoMe accounts for a free Buffer account.

Though I am trying to build a solution to automate the flow:
RSS -> LinkShortner -> Social Push (Twitter, FB, Insta, Pinterest) + Buffer -> Slack Notification

(Let me know if you wanna know more)

 

I've just started writing consistently in November so I'm very new at this. Here's what I've done so far:

  • For titles, I try to focus on the reader as if I'm talking to them. I also try to give a specific number since per research, readers like actionable items they can take. I also try to keep it as short as possible but descriptive at the same time.

  • For image, I actually haven't bothered due to time constraints, except for my latest one that will be published later today. Per research, apparently, cover images are key, but I have yet to see how to use these effectively. I do like how canva.com is free and allows me to whip up a quick cover image without taking too much time.

  • For twitter, again, I try to focus on the user, and recently, I take the core important message of the article and put that in the tweet. I also don't use Twitter much, so I need to get better at using the hashtags as Alvaro pointed out.

  • For automatic scheduling on Twitter, I've used HootSuite in the past, but the content has to be available when you do the scheduling. I haven't looked into anything around triggered/event-type scheduling wherein it auto-schedules as your RSS gets new items, for example.

I hope the little advice I have helps. I do find that I'm enjoying writing more since I started trying to post regularly :)

 

Bonus question: I would like to spend less time on Twitter. What would be a good way to automatically schedule a selection of posts of mine?

I built a tool that takes in whatever RSS feeds I give it and automatically tweets new articles out on @RealCodeTips.

There's no reason you couldn't use your personal Dev RSS feed to do the same.