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Archive for the ‘social media press release’ Category

Many of the presentations I have given over the last three years have revolved around educating clients on RSS and why it’s important; why it made blogs as influential as they currently are; how it has crippled the newspaper and how the Eyeball Economy has destroyed the classified model; why blogs are important and where to view and track them; what SEO is and why you should understand it; why you should have a FaceBook profile (though I still sourly refuse). Whether the audience is awake or not at that point, I proffer the Trojan Horse: The Multimedia News Release (a.k.a. Social Media Release; New Media Release; StoryCrafter; Social Media Press Release).

This wonderful distraction is forcing our clients and the industry as a whole to consider the kinds of multimedia they can include with their announcements. This should be a proclamation, not a question: “Multimedia Can Enhance This Announcement!” This should have been a statement being made for years, not weeks and months. If Multimedia can’t enhance your announcement, should it be an announcement at all? Even dividend announcements can be enhanced with Multimedia (though maybe not emailed to bloggers, right Chris?).

For years, but prior to Mr. Foremski’s compelling coup de grâce of the press release (was this really a coup de grâce or a cold shower?), we were all content arguing about the quality of the writing in press releases. This was the original sin. Why are we deconstructing a release that’s DOA (according to many) anyway? Why separate quotes from facts?

The content that is included in the information a company is disseminating is vital to so many different people. The content can range from stock repurchasing to inventing the most authentic Social Media Press Release in the industry. Wouldn’t improving writing ability solve the submerged quandary? Some journalists like a narrative. They want to be told a story. They already knew where to copy and paste (and isn’t that what an SMPR compels them to do anyway?). Let’s give these journalists a little more credit (and assistance) than our interns.

As an Editor and as a Consultant, I have been told numerous times that a press release without media outreach can result in little pickup. The exception to this rule is with market-moving information, breaking news and compelling information on new products, new features. There is a ton of news that will get picked up in trades as well, regardless of bells and whistles: personnel announcements, licensing agreements, etc. Emerging companies and start-ups have a much harder time garnering pickup … and sometimes for them, a TechCrunch post is all they want. However, not every client is focused on blogs first. In fact, the large majority are focused on mainstream media and major online publications first (though it could be argued that TechCrunch, GigaOm, Engadget, Gizmodo, etc. aren’t looked at as ‘blogs’ anymore.).

Our consultations have to address the following quandaries from our clients:

  • How do I start a blog?
  • Which blogs do I respond to?
  • Should our CEO blog?
  • If so, will it will be worth their time? How much time?
  • What’s the value of a Social Media Release?
  • How do I prove it’s worth it before we do one?
  • What’s the value of a blog post?
  • What’s the value of a friend?
  • What’s the value of a friend’s friend?
  • How much is a web hit worth?
  • How do I leverage Twitter?
  • How do I leverage FriendFeed?

These questions all lead to one place: your team. The team is your PR team. We need to have individuals, loyal and savvy BlEdgers, that believe in what the organization is doing … beyond that, they need to have a stake and a say in what you are doing. This team is the one speaking to your analysts, your investors, your beat reporters, your clients, your prospects, your competitors.

Oh, and another thing. Forget you ever heard the phrase “Social Media Distribution.”

“What is Social Media Distribution?” I’ve heard so many clients ask this question.

The Truth is there is no such thing as “Social Media Distribution.” There is just no such thing. “Social Media Distribution” happens by itself. This is why true geeks have issues with the definitions of Social Media, let alone Social Media Distribution. SMD, if there were such a thing, is an organic result of compelling content … nothing more. As a few of us have said for years, your content must be compelling. If it is, there will be conversations. We will enable both … nothing more.

Let us all get back to the basics of being consultants to our clients … creative stakeholders that believe in what they’re doing because they do … and we believe them.

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The true dichotomy is the gap between wire services capabilities and copy acceptability.

We spoke a while back about “downstream blues” … the fact is the large majority of websites still display wire feeds in ASCII text or something very close to it. And, as all you fervent email pitchers know, many of the mainstream media publications can’t accept attachments or stream video, let alone render html on their workstations.

Not trying to coin a term or anything, but we got to get the term ‘social media’ out of everyones head as if the whole world’s media revolves around whether a blogger reads a press release. It is, and will be for a very long time, the opposite. The OmniMedia Distribution would cover all the bases and not piss ‘purists’ like Jeremy Pepper off.

When a company has something to announce, they don’t have the time, effort, budget or know-how to kill all the birds with one stone. They need to reach as many influencers as possible with the same content. This is where a splash page/mnr/smpr, blog post/microblog activity, purpose-built delicious page, clever mediaroom, visible wire, and good story come in.

Each big announcement needs to pull these realms together to ensure your outlets are covered. You could have everything set … but if it doesn’t get run re-run on the AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, NYT, etc., is your client going to be happy? Are they quantity focused or quality focused? Paper or screen?

In the techworld, TechCrunch, GizModo, Engadget, and Slashdot aren’t blogs any more. They are web publications with incredible influence and authority. This is progress. Strategy for each announcement has to be well-thought out … five moves ahead. Who gets the exclusive? Anyone? What tier blog should we not consider responding to? How do I define my tiers for this particular client?

OMD
  1. Press release blasted over the wire in a narrative form via a credible wire.
  2. Social Media Press Release with video, photo, documents, files, tags, links, comments, etc available at a splash page which is prominently featured in the blast press release (the higher the traffic to the site the better).
  3. Blog post from the company (preferably written by the product or group manager, if not the C-Suite) discussing the project, product, service, etc. in an informal way.
  4. Microblog campaign on Twitter/Friendfeed/etc. to discuss pitches, coverage, issues
  5. SMPR linked to the company’s mediaroom (as a pop-out, to preserve traffic).
  6. Del.icio.us page with all the company’s background info, white papers, positive coverage, press release, SMPR, etc.
  7. Interviews with key product managers/C-Suite/Celebrities on the launch and the product on every video site with the same headline as the OMR

There are probably a lot more things that are out now that can be included and there will certainly be more things in the future that can be plugged in … did I miss something? Thoughts?

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If I’m gonna launch this blog with a big post, might as well not tiptoe around much of the buzz I hear at every event I attend or presentation I give.

The Social Media Press Release is bullcrap. Allegedly the SMPR evolved out of Tom Foremski’s “Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!” post where he lambasted the press release in its current form. Enter the ever-clever Todd Defren with his template.

While including links to social networks and deconstructing the press release into bullet points is a best-practice, it’s still a press release… meaning: DOA, according to Foremski.

The press release used to serve one function: Deliver news from an organization to the media and markets as quickly, effectively and efficiently as possible. Over the last 15 years, the purpose of the press release has changed dramatically. From needing to meet disclosure (after all, public companies issue most of the press releases every day), to wanting to reach consumers directly; the press release has become a message for everyone. The true genesis of conversation. In fact, the press release is still a very valued tool among thousands of journalists worldwide that expect and require language directly from the company. Journalists will use the content, sometimes verbatim, in composing their coverage. The vehicle itself won’t garner coverage. Bullet points and isolated quotes won’t make a penguin fly. It’s the content that matters most. Whether the vehicle has been abused by some, if not all at some point, is also not the question.

Let’s put everything in perspective. The legs a press release has are only as long as its legs.You cannot waive a magic wand at an announcement and expect stellar coverage. You cannot put lipstick on a pig. But lipstick on a beautyqueen can win you a pageant.

It all starts with proper and aggressive counseling to our clients. Our clients should not be convinced that Marketers and Advertisers own ‘Social Media.’ ‘Social Media’ by its essence is conversation between at least two parties. Whereever there is conversation, exit Marketing and Advertising. They are in the business of push, or SPAM, really. Whether it be on TV, print, radio or billboards, they target you where you are and where you are likely not engaged (let alone their target audience). When PR practitioners engage in SPAM is where our discipline loses credibility.

Every press release, for the most part, is an opt-in endeavor. Whether they enter by search, ticker symbol, or via a web destination, Pubilc Relations professionals should be able to tell you exactly how many people clicked the link, how they navigated through the site, when and where there was a spike in traffic, and how many journalists viewed the announcement. When PR Newswire gives statistics back to clients, we don’t fudge or mislead in any way. Though those numbers don’t compete with cirulation and impression numbers given to you by advertisers and other vendors, our numbers are exact and measurable. Further, those people are very often influencers that rely on us to provide quality and breaking news from credible sources.

If there’s one thing you take away from this post: Concentrate on the horse then the cart. When it’s time to look into carts, don’t pinch pennies there … because that’s what takes you to the finish line.

UPDATE: Obscene language has been removed so as not to offend the squeamish.
Point of Clarification: I do believe vehemently that all assets, if they help tell your story, should be included with a press release whether it’s embedded video, a powerpoint presentation, excel file or logo. The term and the solution have become distractions.

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