Introducing the social media press release

Social media is evolving lots of ways we communicate and engage – and that even includes the innocuous press release. The new equivalent (or complement) is the ‘social media press release’ or SM release.

From my editor / publisher point of view I say about time too. This is why…

For one of my clients I edit their print magazine and blog and manage their Twitter and Facebook account. I receive a press release – a PDF – about new survey results relevant to my client’s audience.

I won’t be including this news in the magazine as it has missed deadline, or just outside the parameters of what we’d include, or we don’t have space – whatever. But still, I know my client’s audience would get lots of value from knowing about the survey results.

I ask the PR company for a SM release. I receive a word document in return. Huh?

A PDF or word document is of no use to me – I’m not going to regurgitate an article out of it (old school). What I want is an online press release – or at least one that has a URL address I can tweet or link to if I make a reference to the survey in a blog post.

I want to provide my client’s audience value by offering a snap shot of the survey – and if they want to know more they can go to the source – and click thru to the organisation’s online press release (hey… great traffic for them too!).

So this organisation misses out on a valuable PR opportunity to reach out to their target audience.

So what is a SM release?

A social media press release has the same elements as a blog post, really. It’s social and interactive. It’s not ‘broadcasting’ info (here’s our news, our comments – which is all very one-sided) but ‘pulling’ you into the conversation and spreading the conversation.

The post The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases by Brian Solis is comprehensive and well worth checking out.

He says these are the elements of a social media release;

  • Headline
  • Intro paragraph, rich with key words, relevance and context (summary)
  • Supporting facts
  • Quote
  • Embeddable Video (The new VNR)
  • Embeddable Audio
  • Embeddable Images
  • RSS for the company news
  • RSS for product info
  • Post in “insert social network of choice” (Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, or a relevant social network for sharing)
  • Blog this (links to blogging platforms)
  • Share on Twitter, Jaikue, Pownce or Tumblr
  • Bookmarks
  • Relevant links
  • Digg, Reddit, and other relevant news aggregators and communities.
  • Comments – Maybe also include a link to a hosted network on Ning or even a discussion forum on Tangler or Google Groups
  • Contact: hcard, vcard, LInkedIn, Facebook

And here’s an example of a social media release template: http://www.shiftcomm.com/downloads/smprtemplate.pdf

Using this format makes it easy for bloggers, journos, reporters and editors like me to spread your story – on lots of different platforms – and that’s got to be a good thing.

Lastly as Brian Solis points out the SM release isn’t a silver bullet though;  “A crappy press release is still a crappy press release regardless of multimedia or social bling. Writing the news in a way that’s helpful, informative, and relative is a critical starting point for any release”

Are you sending out social media press releases yet?