Social Media Press Release = Better Coverage

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I believe there is a positive linear correlation between the amount of PR elements offered to reporters and the quantity/quality of media coverage generated. The social media press release, as templated by Todd Defren, supports that theory.

The “all things being equal” here is news. If there is real news value, PR pros will almost always see an increase in the quantity and quality of media coverage when more “elements” are offered to reporters. PR elements include a well-written press release, source interviews, pre-written quotes, images, audio, video, third-party expert interviews, etc. – all of which are easily accessible in a social media press release.

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I recently outlined this theory along with a social media PR 101 for one of my MBA classes in integrated marketing communications. A few weeks ago, our class discussed the structure of press releases and, afterwards, I emailed my professor – a veteran ad agency creative director – a link to Todd Defren’s social media release template. My professor asked if I’d guest lecture on the topic at the following class, which was this past week, so I thought I’d share my presentation with the blogosphere.

The presentation was short, sweet and simple. I overviewed what people commonly refer to as “old media,” or the traditional means of communication – radio, television, newspaper, magazines. Then, I discussed new media as the technology-enabled means of communication. Next, I introduced the concept of the sharing communication labeled “social media,” which, surprisingly, none of them had heard before. From there, I touched on social media services and the new social media press release.

I explained the theory behind the new social media press release – as news consumption trends evolve from old to new/social media, so will the 100-year-old press release. I added that most, if not all, newswire services – old and new – offer social/multimedia press release options and that Todd Defren unveiled the social media press release template back in May 2006.

After walking through the template, I highlighted what seems to be the two most popular points in favor of the template:

  1. 1) Bloggers and podcasters are now legitimate PR targets and, with cheap technology tools, can create/mix their own multimedia news stories
  2. 2) “Old media” journalists are now fully adapted to using internet for research

I also covered two important benefits to using the social media press release:

  1. 1) Facilitates journalists’ online research by using the latest social media tools to provide background, context, and on-going updates
  2. 2) Coupled with significant broadband penetration, allows for the tying together of various multimedia elements from/into one place enabling journalists (particularly bloggers and podcasters) to view/re-mix media elements

At that point, I graphed the positive linear correlation between the amount of PR elements offered to reporters and the quantity/quality of media coverage generated.

After showing a few real-life examples from PR Newswire and PRWeb, I outlined Todd Defren’s five principles of the social media press release:

  1. 1) Democratize “Access”
  2. 2) Ensure “Accuracy”
  3. 3) Embrace “Context”
  4. 4) Build “Community”
  5. 5) Be “Findable”

Lastly, I left the class with five related questions that linger in PR circles:

  1. - When should you use the social media press release?
  2. - Are new and old media journalists both willing to adapt to the social media press release and how quickly?
  3. - How long can we still use the traditional release template?
  4. - What are the acceptable media pitching techniques for bloggers, podcasters, etc.?
  5. - What about traditional media relations vs. social media relations and the use of traditional media relations tactics (i.e., news embargoes, exclusives, etc.)?

Todd Defren also recently gave some “basic answers to some basic questions re: social media news releases.

For those of you interested in the full PowerPoint presentation, you can download it here.

Here are some additional social media press release articles and resources:

  1. Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die! (Tom Foremski | SiliconValleyWatcher) *Insipred the movement
  2. Why Use Social Media With Your Press Release? (Lee Odden | Online Marketing Blog)
  3. How to Write Social Media Press Releases (Brian Solis | Future Works)
  4. Father of Modern PR Invented the Press Release in 1906 (Greg Jarboe | News Blog)
  5. Elements of the Social Media Press Release (Chris Heuer | Social Media Release)
  6. Giving Life to the Social Media Press Release (Neville Hobson | NevilleHobson.com)
  7. A Follow Up to the Social Media Press Release (Teresa Valdez Klein | Blog Business Summit)
  8. Blogger Relations, Two Tips (Mike Manuel | Media Guerrilla)