Max Adagio

The internet is sometimes compared to the Wild West, but a new tool from Twitter stands to introduce some semblance of jurisdiction. It is called “Editorialized Tweets,” and it was recently tested by the New York Times.

As the last truly free territory of the modern age, some say the internet is not to be conquered. Here, Horatio Algers can go from rags to riches, ruffians can rip off the credulous and individuals have a forum on which they can express themselves with minimal policing. As a Social Media Associate, I help manage companies’ online conversations, and for myriad reasons, understand the need to bring some structure and predictability to the web.

What exactly are Editorialized Tweets?

Editorialized Tweets allowed the publisher to highlight sections of content, which users could then Tweet directly with a click. Users who clicked the links were then directed to the exact section of the article where the quote, fact or stat could be found.

As both Twitter and the New York Times gear up for periods of online experimentation, the introduction of a tool that brings new context to social media content doesn’t come as a great shock, but its ramifications are making waves in the marketing community.

The new Twitter feature was debuted in Dave Itzkoff’s “The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now.” Itzkoff later spoke with Poynter, explaining that Editorialized Tweets are “a one-off experiment on this story,” and asserted that the feature would not permeate NYT content. However, there is mounting pressure in the online marketing community that suggests these types of tools will become mainstream in time.

A new feature indicates the growing importance of context around social content.

Not all businesses have access to Editorialized Tweets yet, but a website and WordPress application called clicktotweet performs darn near the same function, the main difference being that users click a link to interact instead of a Twitter widget. Using this tool, other companies will be empowered to call out the sentences, facts and phrases that draw the most attention, or select the best “traveling billboards for the overall story,” as Itzkoff described it.

I’ll be referencing both tools as “Editorialized Tweets” because it’s fancy and I like it more. Let’s look at how this feature puts reigns on some of the untamed internet by giving more control over the content that goes viral, bolstering engagement and lending credibility in a frontier where trust goes a long way.

Make your content more socially shareable

Content marketers can make the most important keywords and phrases more accessible and, importantly, more sharable with Editorialized Tweets. Itzkoff’s strategy leaned largely on pulling quotes from his book, in which he interviews SNL comedians.

Businesses can use the same feature to highlight buzzwords and key sentences that make the most marketing sense—no need to trust online readers to package and compose tweeted content (even though we still count on them to propagate it). Moreover, Editorialized Tweets make data gathering easy by showing what content is most shareable.

By sharing more relevant snippets of long-form articles, the most important parts of an article or blog are readily available to audiences that want information fast, saving readers time and effort. In terms of tweeting the content, too, the process is much easier – there’s no more copying and pasting – but the benefits go beyond comfort.

Increase engagement

Editorialized Tweets are an engagement goldmine. The Times noted that Itzkoff’s article was shared 11 times more than its most popular content last month. The ease of interaction just mentioned is partially the reason for this, but a few other factors are at play.

Marketers have a chance to integrate more targeted #hashtags and @mentions into Tweets referencing their brand content. Before, the richest-possible automatically tweeted content consisted of “’The Article Title’ via @source link.” They can also incorporate descriptions and commentary into their content with Editorialized Tweets, a function that seems like an obvious way to bring new dimension to social media posts.

Editorialized Tweets can increase engagement.

Consumers might also find that Editorialized Tweets seem more credible than previous options as well. Automated title Tweets can seem spammy compared to the quotes in the new feature, which have more character and specificity. This builds trust with audiences who will, in turn, be more likely to engage.

As Rebecca Desfosse points out, there is another psychological element to Editorialized Tweets’ engagement appeal: “Choosing a section of the story to tweet gives readers a feeling of ownership in the story,” making them more connected and likely to share.

Editorialized Tweets: Wrangling the net and driving ROI

While the Internet is not a wilderness that will likely ever be tamed, it can be guided and, at times, controlled. To maintain a competitive edge, marketers would be wise to keep Editorialized Tweets close at their hips as a way to further shape their social media campaigns.