Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Social Media Release

Best Practices and Some Examples

The Social Media Release – also called the Social Media Press Release and Social Media News Release – has rapidly become the way for anyone trying to “get the word out” to provide all the resources necessary for anyone from citizen-customer to journalist to find the information they want (in the format they like it).

So, what is a Social Media Release? In a nutshell it is a page, usually a Web page, that collects words, images, audio, video, links, social bookmarks and more around the topic you care about. And by “you” we mean both the person spreading the word and the person looking for information.

Background: In a 2006 post titled
Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die! blogger Tom Foremski tapped into a broad media sentiment that the days of the standard old-school press release needed to end. His main points: Cut out the spin and provide information in many different formats

It was then that Todd Defren of Boston’s
Shift Communications suggested a better way: the Social Media Press Release – a more conversational and useful collection of information and supporting materials. He offered up a Social Media Press Release template

This was followed on the blog
Conversation Marketing by Ian Lurie wondering about the lack of an HTML version and so he made one. You can preview Lurie’s Social Media Release or download the HTML as a Zip file.

10 Must-Haves in a Social Media Release

Contacts: Information – front and center – on how to reach the author of the release, the key person quoted in the release and the online newsroom of the releasing organization.

Words: A brief description of the point you are trying to make (with no spin) and why any reader might care to check out all of your wonderful, related content. Aim for 250 to 750 words – no more. Be sure to optimize for the search engines by including one or more of your keyword phrases.

Images:That are linked to from
Flickr or some other online resource where the entire album is available.

Audio: Saved as a podcast on
iTunes or saved on your server/Web site as a common-format audio file that is linked to from the release.

Video: Which is hosted at
YouTube allowing consumers to watch it directly and journalists to grab the embed code for possible inclusion on their own web sites.

Print It/Email It buttons: These are no longer “nice touches,” but are absolutely expected.

”Share This Page” buttons: These invite visitors to share your content with others through social bookmarking and social media sites … and makes it very easy to do. For example clicking on the Twitter button opens a Twitter window asking the user to sign in to their account and pre-fills the Status Box with a short message about your content and shortened URL leading right to it. Other buttons should cover the major Social Media information sharing sites likely to be used by your target audiences.

Links: Be sure to include links everywhere. The more links you have to targeted and relevant information, the company’s principals and the company home page the more interaction you encourage. This also doesn’t hurt your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, efforts either.

Comments box: Make it easy for anyone to talk back to you. No-registration-needed comments fields are best as even a simple registration process will deter many from taking the time to leave a comment. And you do want to hear from everybody and anybody. A name and an email address is all you need ask for.

Invitation to sign up for notifications: Invite anyone to share their email to be alerted to future Social Media Releases.

Some examples of good Social Media Releases (SMR):

- Ford’s
2008 Ford Focus release

- Coca-Cola’s
Virtual Thirst competition for Second Life release

- Cincom’s announcement that its Smalltalk software programming language had
won the Dynamic Language Shootout competition

Related Content:
Social Media and Public Relations


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