Posts Tagged ‘SMPR’
“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.
Although I wasn’t able to attend PodCamp Toronto this year, I’ve been doing my best to catch up on some of what went on there. One of those sessions was a live recording of Inside PR, and I just got a chance to listen to it today.
During the course of that recording, one of the audience members told Inside PR that she had recently listened to a webcast where the moderator asked the panel of PR pros what a a Social Media Press Release was, and that they couldn’t answer (the fact that a panel of apparent PR professionals couldn’t explain what a SMR was is another blog post altogether…).
Fortunately, the Inside PR guys were able to answer the question for her, and I really like their answers.
David Jones made the point of saying that the Social Media Press Release (though I prefer the simpler term Social Media Release) is really just “an online, electronic press kit” and that “it is a place to put multimedia content around your client’s traditional, static, text press release.”
“It is just an easy place to point people to get content,” he adds. This is similiar to what Martin Waxman says when he notes that the Social Media Release isn’t a magic bullet – just because you’ve created a release with multimedia content around doesn’t mean it will result in coverage for your client. It is a part of a strategy (see #4 on Mitch Joel’s list of ways to pitch a writer), but only one part and not the whole thing.
I would also like to add to Terry Fallis’ point about breaking out and seperating the quotes in the release. It does make it easier for people to quickly see what is being said and by whom, but I think it is only a stylistic choice. Seperating the quotes can be dones just as easily in a traditional news release, and it all comes down to what the writer thinks the best way to tell the story is.
If I remember correctly, some of the early thoughts on styling a SMR called for breaking out the quotes and providing the information in point form. Again, they are both just stylistic choices.
On a related note, I’m impressed with the quality of the live-recordings of Inside PR. The audience participation also really adds to it, and I think the team should look for more chances to do these.
Over the past few months, I’ve given a lot of thought to Social Media Releases. They are a great tool, but only if used correctly. In the few years that they’ve been out, there have been a lot of different types and styles, successes and failures, but no real agreed-upon strategy for how to use them.
I think it is time we should start thinking about how exactly to use them, and less about the actual form they should take. My recommended strategy for a course of action when including a Social Media Release in a communications campaign includes four points: Monitoring, Message, Media, and Media Relations.
1.) Monitoring: Paying attention to what is being said about your brand or organization has always been recommended as a first step. As has been said before, social media is a conversation. Just as you would wait until your turn to speak in a real-world conversation, and then say something relevant, you should do the same in an online conversation. Monitoring will help you ensure the timing, nature and relevancy of your message.
2.) Message: This is what the core of the release is. It is why you are making an announcement. It is what you are hoping your audience of bloggers and the online community will care about enough to engage with. As April Dunford recently wrote in the blog post entitled “A Skeptic’s Guide To Social Media Press Releases“:
“You need to answer the question “Why is this interesting right now?” What is it about your announcement that makes it important information to share right now? If you can make your news relevant to a broader audience than experts in your space, you are well on your way to spectacularness.”
If you can’t think of a reason why your announcement would be interesting to anyone, you’re probably not going to get a lot of media attention.
3.) Media: One of the coolest things about a Social Media Release is that you can include photos, audio and video to accompany the text of the release. However, this doesn’t mean that a JPEG of the CEO’s head and a television commerical uploaded to YouTube constitute great multimedia content. Instead, you should think about your target audience and what might appeal to them. If it is a product launch, including images of the product in use and with a plain, white background would probably be beneficial to bloggers that might use them. Similarly, including a short video of the product in use might do wonders (but keep it short).
My thought is that a Social Media Release should provide value to the intended audience. The text portion should provide value in that it is informing them about something new. The accompanying media should either reinforce this value, or provide value on their own. One of the reasons I believe that the video CNW Group produced with Mark McKay got picked up online (here and here, for starters) is because it provided educational value by teaching people what a Social Media Release was. Similarly, April Dunford mentions in her post that she also provided a white-paper that showed other companies how they could start a green program in their organization.
4.) Media Relations: Contacting journalists has always been a part of traditional public relations, and it should continue to be a part of public relations in the blogging age. Just because the audience you are trying to reach is online and you might never see them in real life does not mean that you can simply blast them with email. In fact, a huge part of the Social Media Release is the social aspect, and the fact that it is able to connect you and your news with so many people. Research and follow blogs that are relevant to your news – just as you might have different traditional media contacts for different types of news, you will probably want to reach out to different bloggers as well.
5.) Monitoring: As with any communications plan, monitoring success and following up where necessary are an important part. In the case of a campaign involving a Social Media Release, monitoring should include not just checking to see where it got picked up and how it was used. I included Monitoring as both first and last on the list because it marks the beginning of a new communications cycle.
I hardly think that the Social Media Release is the only tool for communicators to reach an online audience, but I do think it is a good one. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or criticisms of my “4M Theory” I’d be happy to hear them.
(As with all of my posts on BlogCampaigning, this reflects my own personal thoughts and opinions. These may not necessarily be the same as those held by my employer, CNW Group).
If you’re involved in PR and social media you’ve probably heard people talking about social media releases, social media news releases or even social media press releases and the accompanying acronyms.
In the olden days, journalists were called ‘the press’ (an example of synechdoche) because the primary form of media was the newspaper, which was printed on
If Google trends is anything to go by, the majority of people still think that those releases that go out on the wire are called ‘Press Releases.’
However, most modern-day communicators will probably agree that this is an antiquated term, and that we should be calling these ‘News Releases’ or ‘Media Releases’ instead.
So, that gets rid of the term ‘Social Media Press Release’ and its ugly acronym “SMPR.”
We’re now left with Social Media Release and Social Media News Release, and I’m going to argue that the former is better than the latter.
I’m fine with calling a traditional release a News Release or a Media Release, and I think you’ll agree with me that calling it a Media News Release or a News Media Release is a little bit redundant (and referring to it as just a ‘release’ sounds odd unless you’re talking to people from the industry).
So why do we need to refer to PR’s hottest new tool as a Social Media News Release? Yes, it has a bunch of fancy Web 2.0 features that enable it to be easily shared. That aspect is covered by adding “Social” to the front of ‘Media Release.’
I’d actually be happy with either Social News Release or Social Media Release, but I think that the latter sounds better.
So, can we agree to standardize the name as Social Media Release?
image courtesy of vivid tangerine on flickr