If you’ve ever been frustrated by trying to cut those last few characters out of a tweet so you can send away, this post is for you. It’s hard enough to cut tweets to the general 140 character limit, much less the recommended 120 characters or less needed to leave room for others to retweet you, so I created this guide to help.

There’s plenty of general advice about keeping tweets short, but without specific examples, rules such as “omit needless words” are hard to grasp. Thus, I’ve searched Right Source Marketing’s tweetsmy own tweets, and some of our clients’ tweets to collect examples to take specific action to follow all of this general advice.  Following this advice will not only help you become a better tweeter, but in many cases, a better writer (Copyblogger’s take on this).

A note of caution: be careful not to abbreviate your tweets to the point that their meaning is warped, or totally lost. It doesn’t matter how easy to retweet you are if no one understands what you’re trying to say.

Examples 1-4:

Original: Malt-O-Meal brand cereals launches new movement 2 rethink breakfast and excess #packaging: http://prn.to/kR2owS from @PRNewswire

Characters: 128

Suggested: Malt-O-Meal cereals launches movement 2 rethink breakfast, excess #packaging: http://prn.to/kR2owS via @PRNewswire

Characters: 114

1. Get rid of “brand.”

2. “Launches new” is redundant, get rid of “new.”

3. Use a comma or &, not “and.”

4. Use “via,” not from.

Examples 5-6:

Original: Blest Plastic-to-Oil machines require just 3 kilowatts of energy to convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil http://bit.ly/lsI2WA

Characters: 138

Suggested: Just 3 kilowatts of energy can convert 8 pounds of plastic into a gallon of oil w/ this machinehttp://bit.ly/lsI2WA

Characters: 117

5. Remove unnecessary branding. 

6. Put the good stuff first.

Examples 7-9:

Original: 7UP introduces new  #packaging designed by “The Celebrity Apprentice” finalists Marlee Matlin, John Rich: http://bit.ly/kSeIdt

Characters: 126

Suggested: 7UP introduces #packaging designed by The Celebrity Apprentice’s Marlee Matlin, John Rich: http://bit.ly/kSeIdt

Characters: 112

7. “Introduces new” is redundant, get rid of new.

8.  Remove quotes.

9. Use apostrophes instead of words when possible.

Example 10:

Original: RT @EUBioplastics: Green packaging is leading the way: http://bit.ly/kBynsS#packaging #eco #green

Characters: 98

Suggested: RT @EUBioplastics: Green #packaging is leading the way:http://bit.ly/kBynsS #eco #green

Characters: 88

10. Integrate hashtags.

Examples 11-13:

Original: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup has won $100,000 in MIT contest w/ its garbage 2 energy solution http://bit.ly/kWdZOm

Characters: 133

Suggested: RT @EarthTechling Innovative green tech startup wins $100,000 in MIT contest w/ garbage 2 energy idea http://bit.ly/kWdZOm

Characters: 122

11. Avoid the past tense.

12. Get rid of “its.”

13. Solution can be “idea.”

Examples 14-17:

Change: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Education Association are asking for your help to fight #hunger: http://bit.ly/mRw5gE

Characters: 115

Suggested: Lions of Northern VA Fairfax Ed. Association ask 4 your help to fight #hunger: http://bit.ly/mRw5gE

Characters: 100

14. Change “Education” to “Ed.”

15. Remove “are.”

16. Avoid gerunds (i.e., “asking”).

17. “For” can be “4.”

Take umbrage with one of my examples? Have your own to share? Please share in the comments so that we can turn this into a dynamic resource.

Tracy Gold is a Marketing and Content Associate at Right Source Marketing. This post was originally published on the Marketing Trenches blogFollow @tracycgold for more marketing commentary.