Social Media News Releases 101

According to Social Media Training, A social media news release takes advantage of the linking, multimedia and social media capabilities of the web to make releases more reader-friendly and useful.

Although traditional news releases can incorporate links and can include some multimedia elements, a social media news release aims to completely rethink the narrative, text-focused approach to news announcements.

Social media news releases can appeal to any of three constituencies:

  • traditional journalists
  • bloggers/podcasters
  • and consumers/readers

A SMNR is structured the same as a standard news release with a few key differences.  To make sure you create the most effective SMNR here are some Tips:

1.    Headline: exactly as it says, focus on brevity. Get to the point and don’t try to be too creative. A few keywords should get the job done.

2.    Secondary headline (optional): If you have an extremely important nugget of information that you think will get users to read on, put it here. Otherwise, skip to the overview.

3.    Overview: A brief summary of the release and what you’re covering. This is where you will hook the reader or lose them, so keep it under two paragraphs, use keywords and put real thought into every single sentence.

4.    Body: The so-called meat of the release, this should be the news. Don’t scatter bias in here; just lay the facts out for what you are pitching (think about it like a journalist would, and cover the who, when what, where, why and how).

5.    Facts: You need some statistical data or bullet points to back up your claim from above. This information should be easily sharable so if someone wanted to pull this right out of your release, they could.

6.    About the Company: Very brief company bio with a link to your website, Twitter feed and Facebook fan page.

7.    Multimedia links: The social aspect of the release, this should include videos on YouTube, images, RSS feeds and more. You don’t want people to be driven away from your message, but you want to be seen as a useful resource.

8.    Relevant links: This is a good way to promote your company and what you’ve done a bit more. If you have related releases, include links to them here. While this particular product might not be a fit, if you’ve kept someone’s interest this long, they may find your other products of use.

9.    Tags: Recommended sharing methods, whether via social bookmarking sites, Twitter hashtags or Facebook fan pages.

10.    Contact: This may sometimes be overlooked, but don’t forget to include your name, email, Twitter alias and more. If you are willing to put all of that info out there and stand behind your release, it lends it a bit more

Advantages to writing a SMNR is that it is instant.  You can reach who you want, when you want, and how many times you want.  Social Media Training also lists some advantages:

  • Optimised for search
  • Optimised for conversation
  • Optimised for sharing
  • Tells the entire story through multimedia
  • Provides context on complicated stories
  • Makes a better impression, visually, than a wire release

A huge disadvantage to writing a SMNR  is that things can easily turn into junk-mail.  This can happen by becoming too focused on your company and not the product or service you are advertising.  Keep your company in the background and your product the main focus.

When should a PR Practitioner consider using a SMNR? 

A PR practitioner should use a social media news release when they have something that they want to get out into the media, quick.  The biggest reason for a PR Practitioner to use a SMNR is because of the ability to link and embed videos and podcasts.  There is only so much you can put in an SMNR so for further content, you can insert a hyperlink.

If you are interested in creating a SMNR here are some websites that will help you create one:

If you are more of an interactive learner, here is a Vimeo video about creating a SMNR

Organizations who have created Social Media News Releases include according to Mashable:

  • Blendtec is famous for its bevy of inexpensive “Will It Blend” videos posted on YouTube and shared by millions.
  • Starbucks started MyStarbucksIdea so that customers can submit ideas for the company which are then voted on by other users, the best of which will be implemented by the company
  • Coca-Cola Conversations is a blog written by company historian Phil Mooney that focuses on Coke collectibles
  • Ford publishes news releases with lots of multimedia content and employs a social media news release format to display them in their newsroom
  • Johnson & Johnson uses this blog to show another side of the company, with frequent video posts and interviews
  • Zappos uses Twitter for employees to communicate with Zappos customers about their shared love of footwear
Photo Credit: Nick Burcher via Google Images
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