"A couple of years ago the social media press release was all the rage", writes Mark Evans. He suggests that PR and marketing people believed, "the social media release would revolutionize everything". As someone who was on the front lines of the Social Media Press Release development for a couple of years, I have no idea what he is talking about.
I think that, yes, there was a little bit of excitement amongst a segment of social media nerds (myself included) about how the SMR was a nice update to the traditional news release, but I'd hardly call it a "rage".
Even now, with the Social Media Release business seemingly good for CNW Group (my former employer), Marketwire, Pitch Engine, and probably a lot of other companies, I'd still be hesitant to call it "raging". (In the comments on Mark's post, CNW's Amanda Laird does point out that the SMR is CNW's fastest growing product.)
As recently as last year at PodCamp, there was still confusion from people about what an SMR even was.
No one ever said the SMR would "revolutionize everything".* If I remember correctly, most of the talk was about how the SMR was part of the evolution of the traditional press release. It was a natural move. Today, most people would agree that online newsrooms that can incorporate multimedia elements are where this has evolved to. I tend to agree with that, but I'd even say that a news release with links to multimedia content follows that same evolution.
In the comments on his post, Mark adds "personally, I’ve found that many clients are using micro-sites or creating Web pages that include a press release, high-res photos and graphics and video instead of using a social media press release." If these micro-sites or web pages with news and multimedia content aren't SMRs or a close relative, then I don't know what they are. They certainly aren't radically different.
What I do agree with Mark about is that the important part of media relations is the social part—the relationships with reporters, the reaching out to known contacts.
I've always advocated this approach, and I'm happy to see that CNW continues to do so. (A single tear rolled down my cheek when I read that blog post.) In fact, this approach is even embedded in the name of this tool—it is called a SOCIAL media release for a reason.
Maybe I'm wrong about all this, though. Maybe I did miss the SMR party a few years ago. Maybe the PR world has given up on providing the media with compelling images, audio, and easily shareable video. Maybe everyone has gone back to plain-text news releases, delivered via fax and horseback.
*I was definitely pretty excited about the whole SMR thing when it first came out. If you can find evidence of me saying that it would "revolutionize" PR or news releases, I'll buy you dinner. If you can find evidence of anyone else saying it would "revolutionize" PR or news releases, I'll buy you a beer.