Social Media News Releases or SMNR are becoming the wanted alternative to “black and white” news releases, so what’s it all about?
What: According to an article by Masternewmedia a social media news release is an evolved approach to preparing press releases characterized by a multimedia and facts-oriented approach. The typical social media press release integrates video clips, bookmarks, citations, blog posts, multiple links and resources allowing the news editor to pick and select individual info items that may best serve his interest, editorial style and audience. It is an approach to releasing announcements that provides a uniquely rich set of relevant aggregated information, in multiple media, all individually open to re-use and re-distribution and capable to transform a static text-only press release into a dynamic venue for relevant discourse and multimedia contributions on the topic.
Advantages: The advantages of a SMNR include communicating in a more efficient and effective way to your audience. It keeps your news release from being bias by linking information given by other journalists, PR professionals and organizations. Including pictures and videos makes the news release more interactive and easier to understand.
Disadvantages: The disadvantages are that most SMNR’s reach only bloggers. This makes the audiences that is reached by the news release smaller. Also people unfamiliar with new technology and social media may find SMNRs uncredible. Blogger Mike Volpe shares his idea on why he thinks Using the Social Media News Release is a Big Mistake
When & Why should PR professionals use a SMNR: Blogger Lee Odden says “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. Another motivator for using social media with news releases is that editorial resources at many publications are running thinner than ever and expected to do more with less. 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.” With that being said Professionals should use a SMNR when they want to reach the virtual world or add feedback and other multimedia from others.
Tips for writing a SMNR: A post byMichael Perulli gives some tips for writing a good SMNR
- Do Your SEO Research and Have Measureable Goals
Ok, so you’ve been tasked with writing a social media press release to help boost your search engine ranking. What now? Do you write a press release and link every word to your home page? No! That will actually do more harm than good since most search engines will recognize the release as spam.Instead, the first thing you should do is research and create a few goals for the release itself. Which keywords and terms related to your company and brand are you trying to “own” on Google? It’s not always easy to determine. Some broad terms, such as “hamburger” for example, are difficult to compete for when everyone else is trying to rank for that term too. When choosing keywords, try to be specific and you will have more success. Instead of hamburger, try “angus burger” or “gourmet burger.”Once you have narrowed down your keywords, type them into Google and see where your company appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). A good goal would be to move up two or three spots per month. Keep in mind that you will rarely see results by only doing one release; you need to have an SEO strategy.When writing your release, a general rule is to have your keywords appear in the first paragraph and only link them to your company’s site one time in your release (link them to a deep and relevant page on your website, not the home page). To avoid being “spammy,” don’t hyperlink more than seven keywords/phrases, and always try to keep your headline under 65 characters (Google only displays 65 characters of your headline in the SERP. Added bonus: Short headlines are Twitter-friendly).
- Know Your Target Audience
In an ideal world, every demographic would be interested in your product or service, but unfortunately that’s probably not the case. Again, you need to do your research. Social media monitoring tools, such as Sysomos, can give you insight into who is talking about your company on the Web, what they are saying, where they are from, how old they are, etc. If you come armed with this information before sitting down to write your press release, you can adapt your style of writing accordingly. For example, if I told my mother I got a new pair of shoes, I might say “I just got a splendid new pair of sneakers.” If I was telling my friends about it, I might say “I just got a sweet new pair of kicks.” You get the idea.
- Put Your Readers First
Search engine optimization is obviously an important part of the social media press release because it’s a critical component of how your news and content are found online. However, it is just as important, if not more, that your release is reader-friendly. Make it easy for readers by being concise and relevant with your content.In addition to making your content reader-friendly, make it shareable and include your social sharing links in the release (you wouldn’t believe how many companies forget to include their Twitter handle in the contact info of their release!). It can be tricky to write for search engines and readers at the same time but, with some practice, it will become second nature.
- Incorporate Multimedia Content
Whenever possible, try to use at least one multimedia component in your release. It is a lot easier to get your picture or video to the top of a SERP than it is to get your website there. YouTube is a great social sharing site, but people often forget it is also the second largest search engine on the Web. Be mindful that your multimedia content will almost always be viewed before the text of your release, so it must be as interesting and engaging as the text is. What’s more, multimedia assets help tell a richer, more engaging story, so don’t forget the photos, infographics, video and audio clips.
- Remember, It’s Better to Give than Receive!
If you take anything at all from this post, let it be this: When it comes to writing SMPRs, don’t be selfish! The SMPR can be great for product launches and sharing product information, but because of its social sharing capabilities and its ability to carry so much multimedia content, it is a perfect tool for educating your audience and providing a fuller, richer interactive experience which can go beyond the typical product launch.It can be very tempting to write a social media press release pushing your new product or service; but in reality, unless you are Apple releasing the newest iPhone, people probably aren’t going to flock to your release or make it viral. The social media audience gets distracted easily and if you aren’t offering something interesting or educational, you will lose them — fast.Instead, try to offer topical advice, step-by-step instructions or YouTube contests for something related to your product. For example, if you are writing a press release for the newest flavor of Gatorade, write a step-by-step process on recovering after a workout. This is topical advice that also provides you with the opportunity to organically place your product in the release (That one was free, PepsiCo!).