Social Media News Release/Final Project

For our final project in Public Relations Writing (PRCA 3330) we were asked to write a detailed blog post explaining what a social media news release (SMNR) is.

Hopefully below I have thoroughly defined the SMNR, given some examples of how to format one, and given tips on how to write one.

What is a Social Media News Release (SMNR)?

  • According to our text, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, “An SMR will include social media tags so the content can be circulated through Digg, Technorati, del.icio.us and other social bookmarking sites to increase search engine rankings of the release and to drive targeted traffic to the organization’s website. Other links will be to blogs, an organization’s online newsroom, and even a space where readers can post comments about the news release.”
  • The Social Media News Release (SMNR) is a press release format designed for the online media world. The press release was written with just the “press” in mind, but in the online world your story needs to be told in a format that is relevant to a wide variety of people – journalists, bloggers, publishers and the public at large. It is also designed with the community nature of the online world in mind so it can be shared and commented on in social bookmarking, microblogging and social networking communities. (Source)
  • According to Brian Solis, the template created by Todd Defren provides “a one-stop resource for bloggers, journalists, and people, to find relevant information for constructing stories.”
  • Solis continues by saying “Obviously a Social Media Release needs to feature Social Media ingredients, which includes links to bookmarking networks, contextual tags, the ability to track and host conversations, and also discover them within social networks.”  “A Social Media Release should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent; but, the difference is, how they find it and the tools they use to share and broadcast.” (From the post “The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases)

What are the advantages & disadvantages of a SMNR?

  • Some of the advantages include gaining access to visibility across the social web.  If you include video links and links to del.icio.us you are putting the news across many different forums.  You are increasing the changes and likelihood that your news will be seen and talked about.  Videos on YouTube are viewed and downloaded constantly during the day and many people may view something on a social bookmarking site that they would not have seen otherwise. You are increasing the odds of getting your news and information heard and talked about (source).
  • Some journalists still prefer to receive plain hard copies of press releases.  Some are not ready for the social media releases that contain links to photos, video, and social media sites.  According to Hubspot, many portal sites do not accept formatting (i.e. italics, bold font, bullets) as it makes your news release more difficult to be syndicated.  Also, including multimedia can make it difficult for portal sites to re-post it.  Often when trying to get the HTML to embed a video things go wrong and the video cannot even be shared.  This is frustrating to journalists and they wonder why you even sent them all the information in the first place.  Hubspot suggests also using “anchor text” and the full URL.  Often using just the anchor text, the URL address will be “unclickable” making it impossible for the journalist to go to the site you recommended.  For more tips visit Hubspot’s post “Study Shows Social Media Releases Are Less Effective Than Traditional Press Releases

When should a PR practitioner consider using a SMNR?

  • Lee Odden, author of the Online Marketing Blog (AdAge Power Ranked #15), says that you should use SMNR’s because “Due to the increasingly social and sharing nature of the web and the increasing importance of press releases as direct to consumer communication tools, it is important for marketers and public relations professionals to adjust their message format and delivery to correspond with the needs of today’s web savvy audience.” (source).  He continues by saying that, “Social media press releases provide links to additional resources that are helpful for story research and they also package information into formats that are easy to use for quotes and citing references/statistics. Images, audio and video also add impact to the release.  Facilitating news distribution and consumption by utilizing social media elements provides the social media savvy Internet audience with information in a format that is familiar and more functional than a traditional press release. Encouraging the sharing of news via social bookmarks, social news, image and video sharing as well as subscribing to news via RSS provides the news publisher multiple options for meeting the information consumption needs of consumers as well as the media.  In essence, a well written and produced social media press release will make it easier for a journalist to write the story they are tasked with and in a format that is increasingly popular with end consumers.”

Offer links to at least two websites that will help one create a SMNR

Click to see Todd Defren's Social Media Press Release Template

Click to see Todd Defren's Social Media Release Template 1.5

Provide a link to a SMNR that an organization has created

Click to see Coca-Cola's SMNR

Click to see Ford Focus's SMNR

Provide 5-10 tips for SMNR creation

  1. Include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce your message (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)
  2. Place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)
  3. Distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape. (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)
  4. Another way to create a “better” press release is to think about it as taking the news release you would have written and then condensing it into a solid pitch letter. Get to the hook and the relevance ASAP (Brian Solis)

The following tips are from “How To Write a Social Media Press Release – Part II” by Brian Solis

I. Headline:

Insert a short, compelling headline that features keywords, not buzzwords, to attract attention and legitimate interest by those who cover your space as well as potential customers.

II. Sub Headline:

The Subhead should further explain why someone should continue reading, providing a bit more clarity to the news

III. News Summary:

List a few compelling features of what, why, and who cares…do not use buzzwords or hyperbole (and try to keep the entire release below 400 words). You can use bullets or sentences or a combination of both.

IV. Quotes:

Not every press release needs a quote, especially if the quote doesn’t lend anything to the value of the information. If a quote is necessary, there are a couple of ways to implement into the SMPR.

Corporate Quote:

Please do not start with, “We are excited…” or “We are thrilled…” Keep the quote on target explaining why this is a significant milestone.

Expert or customer quote (if necessary):

Keep it related to the news and how the product/service benefits customers in real world applications.

V. Market Facts and Relevant Links:

Use del.icio.us or other social media-driven site to collect relevant facts about the company, product, competition, and state of the market and present it all through one link.

VI. Company Info:

Add a few sentences about the company, but leave out “XXX is a leader…” and other filler, posturing language. Don’t make it too long, you can always link to a corporate backgrounder or additional information.

VII. Image/s Link:

Include a link to images, and the best way to do so is to use a social media photo sharing services such as flickr or zooomr. The best part about social media is the ability to not only share your photos with bloggers and reporters, but with the right tags, the pictures can make their way onto the desktops of anyone searching for similar products/services for consumption and sharing. For example, if you go the link below, you will see a set of images that I created for the purpose of sharing artwork with PR/marketing writers interested in the launch of the Social Media Club. I’ve also tagged each photo with several different tags, including “socialmediaclub” and “social media” so that others can find these images when they’re searching for photos related to the subjects.

VIII. RSS Link:

RSS is a simple XML-based system that allows users to subscribe to their favorite websites and blogposts. Using RSS, webmasters can put their content into a standardized format, which can be viewed and organized through RSS-aware software or automatically conveyed as new content on another website. Now, this capability can be used for bloggers, reporters and customers to subscribe to future news directly.

Example: IX. Technorati Tags:  Technorati tracks the number of links and the perceived relevance of blogs, as well as the real-time nature of blogging. What’s important for you to know about Technorati allows users to search by “tags” or keywords to help you identify who’s talking about your areas of interest. With Social Media Press Releases, readers will now also have access to your news – if tagged and published correctly.  For example, this “how to” will carry many keywords, tags, and links, with “PR” and “SMPR” among them. Behind the words, the following tag will be hyperlinked, http://technorati.com/tag/PR and http://technorati.com/tag/smpr and updated at Technorati. So for example, if someone searches “PR” as a tag or as a keyword, this article will hopefully appear in the list. Remember to use best practices and publish only relevant and necessary tags – do not promote tag spam.

IX. Technorati Tags:

Technorati tracks the number of links and the perceived relevance of blogs, as well as the real-time nature of blogging.  What’s important for you to know about Technorati allows users to search by “tags” or keywords to help you identify who’s talking about your areas of interest. With Social Media Press Releases, readers will now also have access to your news – if tagged and published correctly.  For example, this “how to” will carry many keywords, tags, and links, with “PR” and “SMPR” among them. Behind the words, the following tag will be hyperlinked, http://technorati.com/tag/PR and http://technorati.com/tag/smpr and updated at Technorati. So for example, if someone searches “PR” as a tag or as a keyword, this article will hopefully appear in the list.

Remember to use best practices and publish only relevant and necessary tags – do not promote tag spam.

X. Bookmarks:

It’s important to give readers a way to save the link, using their favorite tools. The whole concept here is that you provide a means to enable social bookmarking which allows other people to find and share favorite things on the web. It’s also a good idea to provide suggested tags (or tag beacons) to help track pickup and encourage sharing all under a common umbrella

Example: Tag Beacons: socialmedia press+releases public+relations PR brian+solis todd+defren chris+heuer socialmediaclub SMR socialmediarelease   Save to Del.icio.us

XI. News Sharing, Digg, NewsVine

These sites tap into the potential reach of user powered content. Every article on digg and Netscape is submitted and voted on by their communities. By placing a link to these sites in the release, users can help share, discover, bookmark, and promote your news.  Example: Digg NewsVine

XII. Contact Info:

Add contact info here. Please include relevant info, email, cell, and any IM client you may use.  Also, insert link to vcard,

April 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Groundswell Book Review: Part I

I was surfing the Web today and checking out some of my favorite blogs.  I happened upon Deirdre Breakenridge’s blog and saw that she had started reading Groundswell.  I couldn’t believe it!  All throughout this course (Public Relations and Social Media) we have been reading that book, and I have used it in a number of papers and blog posts.

Anyways I saw that Breakenridge was also writing a book review of Groundswell and thought that many of you (my readers) would find it very interesting since Breakenridge is the author of PR 2.0 New Media, New Tools, New Audiences, which I did my Trade Book Review on.

Breakenridge is an accomplished, inventive and smart woman and you should be sure to check out her other books listed here on her site.

Be sure to read Breakenridge’s review of Groundswell Book Review: Part I.

April 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm Leave a comment

Be My Guest Ashley London

For the second week in a row my topic of the week will be posted by a guest blogger of my choosing.  This week I chose to post something from fellow class member, Ashley London’s blog.  Ashley is also a student in Barbara Nixon’s Social Media for PR class, and she has done a series of posts filed under the category of “PR Connections” about “The Big Shockers in Advertising”.  I found each of these posts interesting and sometimes hard to swallow.

The following post is directly from Ashley’s blog.  After reading this one, I suggest you go to Ashley’s blog and read the other posts in the series. Enjoy!

The Big Shockers in Advertising: Part #4 by: Ashley London

PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a company that stands for the “rights” of animals around the world. Their main focuses include animals in factory farms, laboratories, in the clothing trade and also in the entertainment industry. Recently the have started a new campaign to push people to become vegetarians.

The name of the campaign is the “Save the Whales” campaign. This campaign has nothing to do with actually saving a whale. The whale in this case is referring to people, more specifically overweight people. Their underlying slogan to the campaign is “Lose the Blubber. Go vegetarian.” There has been a big stir in the media about this campaign, numerous amounts of people are taking this ad to be offensive.

I think that there is a reason for people to cause an uproar about the campaign because it is really a very unethical campaign. The funny thing is the PETA’s name states that they stand for ethics and even though it is for animals, I feel it should be respected for everyone. But aren’t humans animals too in a sense?

When asked about the new campaign and its controversy a spokesperson from the campaign states that they feel that animals don’t understand what is being done to them and they need someone to speak for them while on the other hand humans are able to defend themselves and can understand. They feel that this ad is not to be taking offensively but if it is then people can do something about it. My question for PETA is if you are going to offend humans on earth and then you upset them….who will be with you to save the animals?

You can contact Ashley London at her blog or on Twitter.

April 20, 2010 at 11:45 am 5 comments

Podcast for PRCA3030

Podcast for PRCA3030

Posted using ShareThis

April 17, 2010 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Be My Guest Marilyn Lintel

One of our last “TOWS” (topics of the week), will be posted by a guest blogger of my choosing.  This assignment was handed down to our Public Relations and Social Media class by our professor, Barbara Nixon, and was inspired by Adam Vincenzini’s Be My Guest month.

I have chosen my good friend and fellow public relations student, Marilyn Lintel, to be a guest blogger.  The following post is directly from her blog.

BENEFITS/PITFALLS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE JOB SEARCH

February 9, 2010, 8:53 pm
Filed under: PR Practicum 3711

Personally, I think that social media has done a world of wonders; not only for those involved in public relations, but also anyone in the work force.  Social media involves Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Linkedin, MySpace, etc.  I know I’m forgetting some but you get the idea.  At my age and in college almost everyone I know is involved in some sort of social media, mainly Facebook.  Nowadays parents and some grandparents are even getting hooked on Facebook, which is pretty neat.  My mom uses Facebook to try and get back in touch with her high school and college friends.  Social Media has basically become a revolution and its going to keep getting bigger!  It’s scary to think that one day my generation will be the people asking all the questions about new technology and not having a clue what it all means.

Benefits: If social media is used properly, the benefits can be amazing and really helpful.

  • Employers can see how involved you are with social media- and today for many jobs that is a must!!!
  • Knowing how to use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are important to many companies because they count on the young people to keep up with the trends and be able to help the company and keep them updated in that respect.
  • Social media can be a great way for employers to see some of your work and if you would fit in well with them
  • If they “Google” your name and a bunch of websites (positive that is) come up, that could make you look really good and standout
  • Showing you are involved in more than one network is a good indication that you will be very involved in work in more than one way
  • Each form of social media has its own benefit and the more involved you are- THE BETTER- because they each can help you stay connected in various ways
  • Google your own name and see what comes up.  If there is only a little bit that’s totally okay, there is always room for improvement.  The more involved you are the more you will have to show for it (literally).

Pitfalls: steer clear from these points because they just might make you lose that dream job

  • Don’t post inappropriate pictures on Facebook- this seems like common sense but employers look at Facebook to see a variety of things and if you don’t look professional then why even bother?  They are not going to be impressed with the giant beer in your hand.
  • Employers will also see your “status” on Facebook so try and keep it PG so they don’t think you are a party animal or totally irresponsible.
  • Unlike certain networks, Twitter is a site that employers can pretty much see everything you write.  Some people do protect their profile, but personally it seems like a small number, so make sure those comments are web appropriate.
  • Don’t post YouTube videos that could get you in trouble later on down the road
  • Minimize/exclude bad language
  • For the most part, employers have access to anything they want to know about you so to put it simply:  IF YOU WOULDN’T WANT YOUR PARENTS TO SEE IT- DON’T PUT IT ONLINE.

April 13, 2010 at 9:03 am Leave a comment

New Promoted Tweets

A new thing is going to start popping into your Twitter stream whether you’re ready for it or not! The “new thing” is Twitter’s new ad campaign called “Promoted Tweets”. These are really just advertisements disguised as “promoted tweets”.  According to AdAge and The New York Times, the campaign will allow businesses to “insert themselves into the Twitter stream and rise above the noise” (Mashable).

The Promoted Tweets will just start out in searches, but will soon be seen in Twitter.com streams as well as in “third party apps” like Tweet Deck and Tweetie (Mashable).

Companies who are going to start using the Promoted Tweet are Starbucks, Bravo, and Virgin America (Mashable).

Below is an example of a Promoted Tweet from Starbucks:

Image from Mashable

April 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Viral Videos and Why We Love Them

A viral video is defined as a video that has become popular through internet sharing.  Usually they are funny or silly.  I think that part of the reason that small budget, homemade videos become viral is through word of mouth.  The majority of the videos that I have been shown on YouTube were by friends or family or that I heard about “through the grapevine”.

The reason that these videos become so popular is that once one person sees it and finds it funny or entertaining he or she will tell a few people and they will tell someone else and the word spreads like wildfire.

Also, video cameras these days are relatively inexpensive.  If you combine that with people who have a lot of free time on their hands you are likely to end up with some pretty funny material.

YouTube was founded in February 2005 and was officially launched in November, 2005.  In July, 2006 the company said that there were an estimated 65,000 new videos being uploaded daily.  It’s also estimated that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000  (source)!

Google acquired YouTube on November 13, 2006 and on the third year anniversary of their acquisition, Chad Hurley of Google announced that YouTube was serving “well over a billion views a day” worldwide (source).

I think that all these numbers show how a simple video can become a huge success overnight! I have favorite videos on YouTube just like everyone else.  Below are a few of my favorites:

This actually makes me a little sad.  It is so cringe-worthy (that’s not even a word but it should be)!  It is so painful watching this girl answer the question.  The question is about education in foreign countries and it should be asking about education in the state of South Carolina! What is going on in her county? Why can’t she answer a simple question? It is just awful which I think is part of the attraction.  It is almost like watching a car accident; you don’t want to look but you just can’t look away.

I love these dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.  They have done more than a few performances and this one is fantastic.  This video has gotten 40.6 million views on YouTube and I think that they are fantastic; at dancing that is.

April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am 6 comments

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