Category Archives: COMM 4333–Public Relations

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.
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