The social media release

Posted on: 2012-06-15 in How To   |   Tagged: press release social media press release social media release

As part of our series on the humble press release, Adam Ketterer (@Adam_Ketterer), from TopLine Communications, looks at the social media release.

Before I tell you about the social media release I must first, on behalf of the B2B PR Blog, put out a call out for any information on the whereabouts of our fellow blogger @hanstacey. She was last seen enjoying some frozen yoghurt on Charlotte Street, reading @minteressant's post on how to write a press release. When the chaos of that day subsided (there was some disruption involving was very localised, you might have missed it), we found her tablet computer at the scene, the last page she'd browsed still showing on its screen. Although it pains us, we must assume that Hannah had read only as far as @minteressant's example of a poorly written news release, in which the pyramid rule is broken and important information is withheld. In the flashmob of primate ultra-violence which ensued, even that slight delay in the relaying of news may have proved crucial. I regret to add that Hannah was wearing a vivid yellow dress at the time.

Anyway, let's move on. The social media release (SMR) is, of course, similar to the traditional press release, but it is made for dissemination online and has additional features which a digital PR agancy can exploit. These are largely to do with the formatting of the release and the opportunities that online distribution offers.  It must be attention-grabbing, informative, interactive and, crucially, highly shareable.

It's a press release, and then some

If one rule of the traditional press release boils down to 'Make it easy for your readers to understand the information', then the social media press release should follow a further mantra: 'Make it easy for your readers to engage with the information'. I know, I know, 'engagement' is a hackneyed term in social media parlance; what I mean is that the SMR should spoil its readers with interactive and multimedia content and sharing tools. So, when the critical moment approaches and you're ready to release, make sure you make the most of your online opportunities:

  • Hyperlink logos and mentions of the company or product.
  • Include multimedia content like video or video animation (embed or link it). For example, instead of a text quotation, why not add a short interview video clip? That way, your spokesperson can look, as well as sound, slick and intelligent.
  • Illustrate important data with snazzy graphs or diagrams - infographics are a favourite.
  • Fill the boilerplate with hyperlinks and share buttons, making it easy for readers to Tweet, Digg, Like, Bookmark and recommend to their networks.
  • Start (or at least suggest) the trend: if you have one, promote the campaign's #hashtag (if you don’t create one).
  • Encourage readers to leave comments. The SMR should be the start of the conversation, not the final word.
  • Add relevant tags. The right keyword tags and the other links will improve the release's SEO performance.
  • Monitor the resultant traffic and sharing to find out which audiences are receptive, what works and doesn't work, and how to refine your methods for next time.

The look

Because an SMR has the potential to reach far more people directly than a traditional off-line release does (and to be treated more like an end product), aesthetics are important. Make sure it looks good, that all logos and pictures/videos are high quality and that the overall style is in keeping with the standard and feel of the company brand. The SMR is not just a news carrier, it's a media pack from which interested journalists and other readers should be able to extract the important information and accompanying multimedia. And, if there's something they want that's not included, they should be able to take three or four routes to find it: phone, email, website, or Twitter. In short, make their experience easy and rewarding.

The language

Don't get carried away when it comes to the written copy. You may be showing off with the format, using tricks that will earn you a knowing nod of approval from the more tech-savvy readers out there (especially in the B2B market), but remember that they are not your only audience. In fact, you want your audience to be as wide as possible, and your release needs to connect with the newbie and the expert alike.

A chance to show off

If the release is sent on behalf of a social media or tech company then they would be crazy not to take advantage of these opportunities to showcase their expertise in action. The social media release, in these cases, takes on new life. Instead of simply a vehicle for information, the medium itself can become an expression of the company's skills.

Browse our other posts on using press releases to gain coverage.

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About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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