Does the traditional press release format work in the world of 24-hour news, blogs, Facebook and Twitter? Many media professionals think the 100-year-old press release format is ineffective and obsolete. They're calling for a new approach. Read my companion post: The Social Media Press Release: A New Approach to the Old Problem of Getting Noticed.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media Press Release (SMPR)
1. Think modular. Whether you are using the template approach or a traditionally written press release enhanced with multimedia and social media elements, make sure each component or section of the release can stand alone.
2. Link, link, link. Optimize links for search engine visibility. If your SMPR is being distributed by a news service, make sure to link back to a landing page or newsroom at your website. Include links to related information at other pages on your website. Link out to social bookmarking and social media sites, such as delicious, Digg, and Technorati.
3. Post content in multiple channels. In addition to including multimedia elements in your SMPR, post components of your release to appropriate sites for increased search engine visibility. For example, post your videos on YouTube and your photos on Flickr.
4. Write your SMPR content for online readers. They scan rather than read word for word. Write short, use bulleted lists, and write message headings.
5. Use keywords to maximize search engine ranking. Repeat the keywords in headlines, subheads, and in the text of the social media release.
6. Use visuals. Include your logo, a headshot of your organization's CEO, maps and charts, and photos of products or services. Also include video. Videos don’t have to be professionally produced. YouTube-quality videos help reporters understand your product, and that helps them explain it to their readers.
7. Incorporate interactivity. Engage in a conversation with the media and customers by providing a way for them to comment or ask questions.
Social Media Press Release: Resources and Examples
- “Anatomy of the Social Media Press Release,” a presentation delivered at the 2008 Public Relations Society of America conference, explains the concepts behind the SMPR and includes a good annotated sample.
- The National Restaurant Association lists its social media releases going back to December 2008,including “Winners of 2009 Restaurant Neighbor Award for Outstanding Community Service“ and “Healthy Kids’ Meals, Local Produce, Mini Desserts Among Hottest Menu Trends for 2009.”
- The 2008 GovGab SMPR announced the first birthday of GovGab, the U.S. government blog. The multimedia elements in this SMPR include audio, commenting, photos of the GovGab bloggers, and links to their bios.
- “Second Life Reforestation Project Qualifies as a Finalist in American Express Members Project,” distributed by RealWire, is a good example of an SMPR that uses the full gamut of social media elements, including video, tags, and commenting.
- Dupont’s release on Nomex® On Demand™ , fiber technology that protects firefighters, is a good example of a wire service traditional release enhanced with multimedia elements, including a YouTube video that shows how Nomex® On Demand™ actually works.