Social Media News Release/Final Project

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

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,

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Entry filed under: Assignments, Pr Writing 3330- Section A. Tags: .

Groundswell Book Review: Part I

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