Social media news releases are becoming more of the “norm” in public relations. Traditional releases are still a common practice, but with the rise in social media outlets—and social media influencers—communication is trending online.
Brian Solis, one of the most prominent thought leaders on new media, said it best, “The days of creating and pushing one press release are over. These are the days of reaching diversified and equally pivotal communities when, where, and how they choose to be reached.”
I’ve had the opportunity to develop several social media news releases for clients during the past year. Like anything new, the process felt semi-painful the first couple of times, and I often felt like I was treading in murky waters. But, the more I developed them, the more they became second nature. So, what have I learned that has made the process run more smoothly?
1. Change your—and your client’s—mindset. Social media releases are different. They’re written differently, they’re distributed differently, and more importantly, they’re geared for a different audience. If you approach a social media news release the same way you would a traditional release, it won’t be successful. Change the way you think about this content now and find ways to help your client change their thinking as well.
2. Multi-media, multi-media, multi-media. A social media news release is not a place for paragraphs of boring text. Instead, use photos, videos (preferably video that can easily be embedded), and links to help communicate your message. Remember, the idea is to make your release appealing to online influencers such as bloggers, and multi-media content is at the top of their priority list. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not having this content. If you’re looking for an easy way to include multi-media in your social media news release, check out Pitchengine. This is a great service that allows you to easily incorporate embedded video, images, and PowerPoint presentations into a hosted “microsite.”
3. Be creative. Social media news releases give you the opportunity to think outside the box with your communication. The Wall Street Journal recently ran information on SonicMule Inc., a Silicon-Valley startup company, because SonicMule staffers were creative with their communication when the CEO was quoted talking about a new hire. He said, “Sunil [Pareenja] can’t sing for his life, and while Scott [Bonds] will at least tinker on the piano now and then, it’s safe to say that Julliard is not in his future. Jim [Routh]? There is no hope frankly, and I worry if that’s true even using Smule products. Yet our goal at Smule is to bring creative expression to the masses, and so some diversity on our management team is desirable.” Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that your average client would likely look at you like you had six eyes if you suggested a quote like this, but the point is, you don’t have to take your content so seriously in a social media news release. Mix it up a little if you can.
4. Set up tracking and measurements. As many of us know, social media activities can still be difficult to “sell” to a client. This may be because they’re still new to companies, but it is also because the ROI is more difficult to define. Use tools like a tracking URL and Google Alerts to your advantage and capture every tweet, retweet, blog post and online mention. With a few detailed reports, you can easily prove the impact your social media release made online to your client. Make sure you have these set up before you distribute your social media news release though, or it will be harder to measure your success.
These are just of few ideas to keep in mind as you approach social media news releases. Do you have best practices or lessons learned? Share your thoughts!