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The ‘How To’ on Social Media News Releases

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In our PR class, we have been learning about the in’s and out’s of writing in this field. We’ve written news releases, personality profiles, learned about and made infographic’s and even written PSA’s. For our final project, we’re describing the content of a Social Media News Release.

What’s a Social Media News Release?— They’re very similar to traditional press releases, but contain more digital information. SMNR’s contain links, tags and RSS feed so journalists can read them quickly and distribute them fast. SMNR’s are much more visual than traditional ones which contain mostly text that journalists, often times don’t have the time to read through. For a world that keeps getting “faster,” SMNR’s are especially important. With SMNR’s, companies can use the online tools to track potential clients and reach the right people.

An SMNR allows you to keep up with a hungry social media world driven by fast paced access to information! It’s kind of like choosing to get a coffee at Starbucks the traditional way by walking up to the counter and ordering it, whereas an SMNR would be like pulling up to the drive-through. They both have the same goal in mind, but an SMNR would be slightly faster.

Here’s a great video which tells all about SMNR’s:

RealWire says of SMNR’s, “The content of the SMNR can either be produced in the “traditional” narrative style or be deconstructed so that the core facts, quotes, contact details and boilerplate are all individually segregated to allow users to disseminate its various elements. It can be company branded and can accommodate images, audio and video (including embedded social media video including YouTube) as well as links to relevant websites and coverage of resulting online conversations.”

According to INC, a SMNR involves these key elements:

1.    Headline: exactly as it says, focus on brevity. Get to the point and don’t try to be too creative. A few keywords should get the job done.

2.    Secondary headline (optional): If you have an extremely important nugget of information that you think will get users to read on, put it here. Otherwise, skip to the overview.

3.    Overview: A brief summary of the release and what you’re covering. This is where you will hook the reader or lose them, so keep it under two paragraphs, use keywords and put real thought into every single sentence.

4.    Body: The so-called meat of the release, this should be the news. Don’t scatter bias in here; just lay the facts out for what you are pitching (think about it like a journalist would, and cover the who, when what, where, why and how).

5.    Facts: You need some statistical data or bullet points to back up your claim from above. This information should be easily shareable so if someone wanted to pull this right out of your release, they could.

6.    About the Company: Very brief company bio with a link to your website, Twitter feed and Facebook fan page.

7.    Multimedia links: The social aspect of the release, this should include videos on YouTube, images, RSS feeds and more. You don’t want people to be driven away from your message, but you want to be seen as a useful resource.

8.    Relevant links: This is a good way to promote your company and what you’ve done a bit more. If you have related releases, include links to them here. While this particular product might not be a fit, if you’ve kept someone’s interest this long, they may find your other products of use.

9.    Tags: Recommended sharing methods, whether via social bookmarking sites, Twitter hashtags or Facebook fan pages.

10.    Contact: This may sometimes be overlooked, but don’t forget to include your name, email, Twitter alias and more. If you are willing to put all of that info out there and stand behind your release, it lends it a bit more credibility.

Kathryn Vercillo says of this, “The reason that you’ll want to use a social media press release instead of a traditional press release is because it offers benefits to the online reader. For example, you can use keywords to optimize the SMPR and make it more noticeable to search engines which will get it more attention on the web.”

Here’s an example of a template Kathryn Vercillo uses:

Image Credit: Kathryn Vercillo, Hub Pages

Advantages of using a SMNR? More people can get your news faster, and share it with others. Your clients and journalists want information as fast as possible, in as little words and they want it to be catchy. The quicker you are able to do this, the more likely your chances are of getting your information published. Social Media Training offers these tips on the advantages of SMNR’s:

  • Optimised for search
  • Optimised for conversation
  • Optimised for sharing
  • Tells the entire story through multimedia
  • Provides context on complicated stories
  • Makes a better impression, visually, than a wire release

Disadvantages? There don’t seem to be too many except that SMNR’s cannot be published and distributed. For a company that is not as up to date with social media, they would be more difficult to reach.

When should you use an SMNR? An SMNR should be written anytime you have news that needs to reach a large group of people, fast.

How do I do this? There are several different online tools available to help you make your own SMNR:

PitchEngine

PRXbuilder

Pressitt

Examples: Here are a few examples from big companies like Cisco and Southwest Airlines and what their SMNR’s look like.

Belkin

Centrum Vitamins

Cisco

Southwest Airlines

Rolls Royce

Tips: Here are a few tips for writing your own SMNR:

  • Lou Dubois of INC , says you should remember to include keywords in your SMNR saying, “It will help your search engine optimization and get your point across quickly yet effectively.”

Also, SEO Services Groupadvises:

  • Use bullet points and Numbering it makes the viewers to understand the points easily.
  • Use SEO tactis for certain keywords so the press release moves up in search engine.
  • Use links within your text to direct people to your site and to articles about your site.
  • Use multimedia links like audio files or embedded videos.
  • Use “Share with” plugin for popular bookmarking sites like Digg or Del.icio.us
  • Use additional inforamtions like logo,maps,charts and photos of your product,events,website location and contact numbers.
  • Use Attractive Headline and Sub Heading, it helps to grasp people attention.

Got Eye Troubles?

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I’ve never had eye problems in my life. I have only ever needed reading glasses, which I would only use when spending more than half an hour reading something. But since I have been in college, my eye sight has definitely caused me more problems. I can’t spend more than ten minutes in front of a computer screen without my eyes and head hurting.

Ragan’s PR Daily posted a great info graphic on how to maintain healthy eye sight while using electronics. I found it especially helpful, and glad I am not the only one who feels like their eyesight is slowly being decimated each time I log onto the computer….

I found the 20/20/20 rule very helpful, and will definitely need to implement this during my long nights spent in front of the computer, writing papers for my English professors. 18 days of that left…Praise the Lord.

My solution? Warby Parker glasses….check em out! I love their vintage themed glasses, and when you buy a pair, they give a pair to someone in need. Warby Parker works to help optometrists and eye clinics in developing countries like India and Cambodia. It’s a great organization..if you wear Toms, you should have some Warby Parker’s too.

And here’s that info graphic I was telling you about…

Image Credit: Daily Infographic

 

Comment, Comment, Comment

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Comment 1

10 words that might not mean what you think they do by Ragan’s PR Daily    1/23/12

It’s interesting to see how word usage has changed so much, and how we are victim to it. I use many of those words on a regular basis in their evolved meanings rather than what their original intent was for. I guess we need to educate ourselves more about word meanings.

Comment 2

What does Jason Russell’s meltdown mean? by Rage Against the Minivan     3/12/12

Completely agree with you and your thoughts about Jason Russell and Invisible Children. I can’t help but feel for him and his family after all they have gone through these last few weeks. Their intention to make Kony famous, to lead to his demise has instead led to his. I hope and pray that people can move past this, recognize he is human, forgive and forget and remember what’s really important: stopping Kony and those like him.

Comment 3

Tuesday Tips & Pics by Live, Love and Travel    3/12/12

Thanks for sharing your editing tips! I’m a photographer, but still relatively naive when it comes to editing. I open up Photoshop and get so overwhelmed, but I’m slowly but surely getting there! The Florabella textures are beautiful and add so much depth to the photographs. You have such great talent!

Comment 4

twenty-six by Mandie in Africa  3/12/12         (NOTE: This blog post has since been removed by the owner)

I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and have have just been in awe of your journey in Uganda and now, after. What a blessed life you are living, being able to serve God and care for his children. I have been praying and will continue to for Eden Hannah’s visa so she can be home with her family! Blessings to you.

Comment 5

How Kony nabbed 50 million hits in four days by Ragan’s PR Daily    3/18/12

I think it just goes to show how powerful social media is, especially in our world today. What really struck me is the fact that the video has gotten so huge and it’s rather long, especially in a fast-paced world where we can’t stand to sit past watching a 2 or 3 minute video. Whether or not you agree with the Kony movement, one can’t deny the fact that its media tactics definitely worked, and you can’t seem to go anywhere now without meeting someone who has heard about Kony. It’s pretty powerful to think so many people now know about what is happening in Africa and hopefully this will inspire others to become more involved in world affairs and maybe do something more than clicking “share.”

Comment 6

Saturday March 17, 2012 by Kisses from Katie                3/18/12

Just like you said, HE IS FAITHFUL. Prayers being sent from the USA for this young boy and healing in the name of Jesus.

Katie, you are doing great things–praise God for your obedience and willingness to love him and his children. I’m halfway through your book and just in awe of your story and what God is doing through you. You are such a role model for young women…I already have a line quite a few long of friends who can’t wait to borrow your book when I’m done!

Praying for you that God continues to keep you strengthened with his wisdom and knowledge.

Comment 7

An apology to all Non-“Missionaries” by Laura Parker      3/25/12

This post really struck me, as most of yours do. Yet, this is so true. As a senior in college, graduating in just 37 days with my eyes set on moving overseas as soon as possible, I’ve encountered this a lot in relationships with friends and room-mates who don’t share the same passions as I do. Certainly, I believe that all are called to be missionaries wherever they are, but that doesn’t involve moving overseas and giving up electricity to feel “fully used” by God. When I start going off on my tangents about my desire to live overseas as a missionary and how excited I am to give up my life, I have to stop and pause about how it makes those around me feel. My friends and room mates are no less important because of their passions and desires–one wants to start a counseling program for pregnant teenage girls and another wants to travel the world working with organic farming. God just asks us to obedient and used by Him, wherever that may be. I realize this is so important to bear in mind as I go through my daily life…I never want to make someone feel like they are less adequate or less of a Christian because they choose to live in America.

Though sometimes I think I’m prepared, since I’ve been on the mission field before, I realize I really don’t have it all together, and there is so much more to learn. But I am so glad to have the ability to learn from others and continue to try and prepare myself for a whole new world. I know it will be hard, and it’s hard to even begin trying to picture what it will look like. Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences of your life in Thailand. God is using your words to touch the heart of me in so many ways. (I’ve spent the last three summers teaching English in Cambodia, and next year my boyfriend and I plan on moving to the Philippines to work as missionaries, after we are married.)

Comment 8

For many people Instagram sale is not a pretty picture by Ragan’s PR Daily       4/15/12

While of course I’m not happy that Facebook has used their power to buy yet another company, I can’t say I’m so unhappy that I will delete my Instagram app. I don’t feel like I was sold over to Facebook, it’s just kind of what happens these days. I still like the Instagram app and will continue to use it for now, unless Facebook implements changes that I don’t like. Let’s hope it continues to stay the way it is!

Comment 9

The 5 biggest mistakes I made during my first year on the mission field by Laura Parker      4/15/12

Thanks for sharing your advice. It’s truly encouraging to me to hear the good and the bad of adjusting to life overseas. I have to remind myself it isn’t as “grand” as it seems. I’ll be joining my future husband in the Philippines next summer, so I have a lot to look forward to, and a lot to get used to. While I’ve had some cross-cultural experience after spending summers in Cambodia, I know it’s still going to be very different than I’m picturing. I have the next year to try and prepare myself, and I really do want to start learning the language now, so I have some sort of grasp when I get there.

What kind of advice would you offer to a newly married couple, moving overseas, doing the “wrong thing” by plunging in instead of waiting..?

Comment 10

How to maintain healthy eyes in a Digital Age         4/15/12

This is a great and very informative guide. I suffer from eye problems, and have to constantly be wearing glasses when I work on the computer. I didn’t know about the 20/20/20 rule, but I’ll be keeping that in mind during my long nights of senior college level paper writing. And it doesn’t surprise me about the last part, the “eye appointment app.” What will they think of next?

TOW: 14 The Top 10 for New Bloggers

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Here are my top 10 tips for new bloggers:

 

1. Be yourself. Always put your personal thoughts into your posts, but be conscientious of other people’s views as well. Don’t just re-hash what others have said about a particular topic. Add your own opinion and be willing to share thoughts with others and be open to new perspectives.

2. Keep up with your blog by posting regularly. Aim for adding posts at least once-twice per week. Once you have followers and people who subscribe to your blog, you’ll want to keep your blog updated. No one wants to follow a blog that hasn’t been updated.

3. Make sure all of your links and videos work properly and are updated. No one wants to receive the error message when clicking on a link you recommend.

4. Interact with your followers. Blogging is a great way to make connections with people. When people leave a comment on your blog, be sure to return the favor. Ask for feedback from your viewers, and see what their responses are.

5. Don’t forget pictures!! Pictures add color and vibrancy to your blogs. Even if you aren’t a photographer, try it out and add your own photographs to your blog. People will be intrigued to see your perspective on photography.

6. Have a theme to your blog. You don’t need to always stick to the theme, but you do need some kind of structure to your blog. Think about your personal hobbies or things you enjoy doing, and start from there.

7. Always proof-read your posts. It’s easy to write and hit the “publish” button, but remember you are writing for other people to see. You wouldn’t turn in a paper with a number of errors, so don’t do it on your blog either. Spelling errors are annoying to look at, and may turn away some of your viewers.

8. Please, please don’t add music to your blog. Most people are already listening to music when they surf the web, and it’s annoying to look at someone’s blog and have two different kinds of music going. If you do add music, make sure the widget is located near the top of your blog, so viewers can easily turn it off, instead of having to search your whole blog to turn it off.

9. Read other blogs! Blogging is a great way to make connections and learn about others and their perspectives. I have learned so many things from other blogs, and that’s why I keep reading. Blogging can be like an internet-based support group, of people communicating and sharing ideas through the internet. Keep updated with what is going on in “bloggy world” by staying up to date with your blogging buddies and always try to visit new ones each week.

10. Be careful what you post. Remember that unless your blog is private, it’s open for all of the world to see. Don’t use your blog as a journal to write to the world of all the problems going on in your life. Remember, other people can see it and someone may accidentally stumble upon your content. Also, remember to respect the privacy of your friends when using names and pictures. Always ask for their permission first.

Ho Hey

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This is completely off-topic and not PR related…

but wait, doesn’t PR encompass people working together, relating to each other and using social media to do so?

I guess it fits then.

I’ll do a little “publicity” for The Lumineers.

Really in love with this song…

One Comment, Two Comment, Three Comment

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Comment 1

social monitoring; techi or creepy? by jordynchristine       2/2/12

Gooooood information to remember!

It’s especially important to be careful with what we post on Facebook and Twitter, especially with the whole “check-in” thing. If you don’t have privacy settings, you’re literally setting yourself up for someone to come and find you…

I’ve accidentally posted some things I’d rather not have people seeing, so it’s made me much more conscious and aware of how we use the internet.

Comment 2

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by lizcolburn      2/2/12

These are great photographs!

I have a passion for photography also…taking pictures, looking at other people’s and learning how to better use my camera. Thanks for sharing these pictures…I’ll have to look at his blog.

Comment 3

Lessons in Grammar & PR by Mylon Bunce      2/2/12

That’s interesting about the and/or. I’m pretty sure I use that in my writing quite often but never knew that it isn’t recommended.
Also, I didn’t know there was a difference in however…I use them obviously but had never thought about the difference between the two. I usually just use “the However,” in my writing.
I didn’t even see the posts you mentioned, so I’m glad you shared them with us.

Comment 4

The SEU Form 2012 by Liz Colburn     3/18/12

Thanks for sharing with us about your time at the Forum! From someone who wasn’t able to personally attend, I was able to “tune in” through using social media like twitter and facebook to keep updated on all of the happenings. I love the way you compiled everything into storify to make your own story of your experience at The Forum. And your pictures look awesome too!! :)

Comment 5

Update on Overland Mission to Zambia by Jordyn Roe    3/18/12

My little roomie..I’m so excited to see your passion for God and the nations. I pray you continue to have faith and seek Him regarding your trip and that God will bring in all of your finances in His perfect timing! I hope I get to Skype you when you’re in Zambia..and make sure you watch my little sister over there!! :)

Comment 6

Be My Guest! Spring Nails Guest Blogger by Jillian Reid    3/18/12

So although this is not PR related, I absolutely love it..Haha. I love the colors that have come out for spring! Turquoise is one of my favorite colors and it reminds me of the beach. This is a good tutorial..never know you needed so many coats! Maybe that’s why I can hardly ever keep nail polish on for very long…

Comment 7

So Call Me Maybe by Liz Telg      4/14/12

I’d like to thank you for introducing me to a song that has been STUCK in my head for the past three days now…wow. Haha. But I agree…I feel taken back to my teenage years by listening to this song. And the other band? Haven’t heard of them, but I might take your suggestion and check them out…umm, how cute are they? Haha. They remind me of my 14 year old brother 😉

Comment 8

Widgets, Badges, same thing…or not? by Liz Colburn    4/14/12

Thanks for the explanation on the differences between the two. I hear these words used pretty comonly, but couldn’t explain what they are, or the differences. I think both widgets and badges are a great addition to blogs, since they make blogging and interacting with other websites a lot easier.

Comment 9

Public Speaking Introductions by Mylon Bounce      4/14/12

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing an introduction for a speaker. I agree with you, you can’t be too long or share too much informaton to take away from the speech, but you need just enough to help the audience feel connected with you. I also think it’s extremely important, that if you are able to, to talk with the person giving the introduction and let them hear your thoughts on how you want it delivered. That will help them understand what you are looking for and you won’t have to worry about their delivery. :)

Comment 10

PR Pro Interview by Cynthia Melendez-Flynn     4/14/12

Thanks for sharing this interview with Katie. I’m glad you did an interview with a fellow student, who works for SEU. I am glad to see someone from SEU working in this field for our school, as I’m sure it gives her great practice and an inside look into what journalism and PR is all about. I’m glad to see they have am alumni magazine, because that’s something I’ll be interested in once I graduate in…20 DAYS!!! 🙂

PR and Gendercide

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This blog is an assignment for one of my classes this semester, where I blog about various PR things, but am also able to share my own thoughts and perspectives. It’s my blog, I’ll share what I want. What do PR and Gendercide have to do with each other? Well, at first glance, it may not seem like it…but it has everything to do with each other.

Let’s back up.

What exactly is gendercide? As you know, due to the influence of technology and social media, people are becoming more aware of what is going on around the world. Suddenly, India and China are no longer two countries very far away, they’re brought closer by the presence of social media. And as we’re learning more about these countries and their cultures, we’re beginning to see things that we would rather not see. Call it cultural norms or tradition, but what is happening to the women in these countries cannot be ignored. Over the last 50 years, more than 250,000,000 women have been eradicated. They’re gone. Not here. Due to social pressures, families are being pressured for sons, and daughters are becoming expendable.

I recently came across a documentary trailer for an organization that is trying to tell the world a message. Will you take a few minutes and listen?

This is a big issue to me. Two of the most precious people in the world to me were victims of gendercide.

Esther and Emma Grace

Image Credit: Kate + Kris Photography

Image Credit: Kate + Kris PhotographyEsther and Emma Grace

These are my baby sisters.

They were both abandoned after their birth in China by their parents because they were both born, girls.

Two little girls.

Two different sets of birth parents.

Two different reasons.

Both abandoned.

Both, girls.

My family and I first became aware of the many little girls in China in need of families, and in 2003 we began the process of adoption. In August 2004, Emma Grace was placed in our arms and 18 months later, we traveled back to China to bring Esther home. (18 months after that we brought my sweet brother Asher home also; though he is not a victim of gendercide, but he was also a victim of abandonment.)

In China, tradition says that boys are favored over girls. For one, boys care for their parents in their elderly years, while a daughter will care for her husband’s parents. Since there is no retirement system in China, parents rely on their children for this. This became an issue when China decided to start dealing with population concerns by enforcing the one child rule. This has left many couples having to make a difficult decision, of wanting a daughter, yet needing a son. With the prevalence of ultrasound technology, many couples can find out the sex of their baby and choose to terminate the pregnancy if they desire. Ultrasound technology has been outlawed, but it’s still going on. And for couples who don’t have an ultrasound and have a daughter, the options become more difficult. Many couples will feel pressure from their families. Some may deal with the pressure. But others will have to find another option, and somehow get rid of the daughter. Because giving up a child for adoption is not allowed in China, couples have no choice but to abandon their daughter. And then try again, hopefully for a boy. For the lucky girls, parents will abandon their daughter in a place where she can be easily located, such as a market, train station or hospital. For the ones who are not so lucky, many little girls have been found drowned in rice fields or rivers. It’s very sad.

(I should add that boys are also abandoned in China, most of the time due to birth defects. But this isn’t as prevalent as girls being abandoned because of their gender.)

Esther and Emma Grace were amongst the lucky ones. My sisters were both abandoned by their parents and found and transferred to an orphanage where they were cared for until we adopted them.

I’d like to think that my sister’s birth parents loved their daughters, and abandoned them because they wanted to do what was best. Esther was born with some medical needs that required surgery, and we can assume that her parents were unable to afford the medical costs. Whatever the reason, we know that God worked their lives in this way so that they would become apart of our family. This is why I love adoption, because God can take a seemingly hopeless situation and turn it around to make something beautiful. I often wonder about their birth parents, and I hope that as my sisters grow, we will have educated them enough that they will not hate their birth parents, but love them for the sacrifice they made. Sometimes we often forget of what a sacrifice adoption is, for the families. Their loss, our gain.

This video makes me cry every time I watch it. It’s told from the perspective of the birth mother, who’s story is rarely told.

But Esther and Emma Grace are the lucky ones. And it’s because of them that it’s my responsibility to educate others about their past, what they came from…which is something that is still going on today. Little girls in China are still being abandoned, still being murdered simply because of their gender. While China has started realizing the problem and making small steps to combat it, it’s still a problem. Today, 118 boys are born for every 100 girls. This is a huge imbalance. Even now, there are many men without wives. And the problem will only continue to get worse.

And then there’s India. With families living in poverty and a caste-system, though outlawed, still governs their daily lives. If you watched the video, you could see how one couple has given birth to seven daughters…killed and buried each of them.

This is all so very difficult, and there’s really no one solution that will cause all of this to stop. We’re dealing with cultures so very different from our own, and social pressures we couldn’t imagine. But we can educate. We can teach women that they have value, that they are loved, cherished and desired. And also, teach the men this. That having a daughter is just as wonderful as a son.

So how does PR intersect with this issue? By spreading the word about the documentary. Show your friends the preview, tell them about it. Telling people through facebook, twitter, youtube is the best way we can show people to what is happening in our world. Just look at how KONY 2012 has swept the world. I believe Kony is just the start of people becoming more aware of the issues our generation faces. If you’re a woman, you have even more of an obligation…

Can you imagine being forced, or feeling like you have to kill your daughter, to honor your husband, family and society by bringing a son into the world? I can’t help but feel for these women who are forced to do the unthinkable because their culture has told them they aren’t worth living.

Let’s do something about our fellow sisters who are disappearing in the world…

It’s pretty crazy to think that the three most deadly words in the world are,

Its a Girl

Here are a few more articles on the prevalence of gendercide in the world:

Baby’s death in India blamed on father’s anger she was born a girl

The Afghan girls who live as boys

Its a girl: the three deadliest words in the world