A few weeks ago, we discussed why the traditional press release may no longer be the most effective way for organizations to spread news. Today, let’s look at some of the alternatives to the traditional press release.
Journalists want facts, information and ease of use rather than long, self-serving releases filled with marketing jargon. A social media release fills this role perfectly, allowing journalists to make conclusions on data. Research shows that 55.8% of journalists today have started accepting social networks like twitter and Facebook as legitimate channels of communication with PR pros. This points to the need for a new communication approach and the rise of social media releases.
A social media release consists of:
Clearly stated news and company facts: As long time journalist Tom Foremski writes on his blog, “Provide a brief description of what the announcement is, but leave the spin to the journalists. The journalists are going to go with their own spin on the story anyway, so why bother?”
Supporting multimedia (images, videos, podcasts, presentations etc.) to make the release much more interactive: As more and more publications become purely online, reporters are looking to include copy-paste multimedia materials. Of course, since reporters don’t want to include podcasts or slideshows created by other sites or publications, this necessitates that the company issuing the SMR create its own multimedia content.
Quotes from the executives, customers and analysts: Here again, companies must make the effort to include quotes that add new perspective or information instead of including vague language filled with marketing slang. A more creative idea would be to include a link to a video interview with the executive (this would be appropriate only if you do not plan to offer executive briefings).
Links, links, links: Provide cut-paste links to various sites such as company financial information, related previous announcements, company product pages etc. Of course, it goes without saying to include links to your company’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
Companies should also look at organizations like MyPRGenie.com or MyNewsDesk are helping to spread the concept of SMRs by creating “social media newsrooms”. Funnily enough, the concept of the social media release was first put forth 5 years ago in Tom Foremski’s blog post. Still, most of the Fortune 500 companies use the traditional press release for major announcements and the social media release for minor news.
However, as more news moves online and journalists become even pickier about what news to cover, organizations unafraid of exploring new frontiers in the press release realm will be most successful.