As promised, here is the “Social Media Relations” presentation I gave at the Ragan Communications Social Media Summit last week. The presentation is a quick history and overview of the social media release and news room with some facts and stats to support the reasons for using it. For much of the Q&A, we discussed whether or not the social media release should replace the traditional version. A few seemed to think the social media release would be a great new tool for all reporters – of old and new media.
As the social media release gains popularity, I don’t think we’re faced with an “either or” proposition. I told the audience to use their discretion and make the call based on their knowledge of the journalists they’re pitching. I know reporters who work for organizations that block all video and I still know reporters who have difficulty navigating the web.
A hybrid release might make sense across the board – a release that improves on the traditional template, but doesn’t quite include all of the components of the suggested social media release template (Todd Defren, creator of the social media release template, reminds people this is just a suggested template). For instance, I love the idea of using bulleted news facts at the beginning of all releases – similar to what CNN.com does with all its stories now. And I think sending contextual links to other relevant stories is important, when applicable. I’m also a big fan of providing multimedia elements whenever possible. However, I’ve just described more of a multimedia release than a social one. I haven’t provided for comments, sharing or community-building.
Todd Defren and I agree that the purest form of a social media release is a blog post. And that’s exactly why I believe the best solution for a social media news room (and therefore a social media release) is a blog engine. Instead of building a social media news room from scratch, why not build it from a WordPress template and almost immediately gain RSS, search functionality, categories, comments, archives, easy video integration and a menu of cool widget options. Every release, or post, that you publish is instantly a social media release. And better yet, you’re engaging in the conversation at your corporate site instead of a third-party newswire. That’s what we did at Leopardo. Although,we disabled comments so our news room is more of a monologue. While I understand the importance of social media and “conversation,” I wanted to take small bites when applying social media for my company. Comments is a big obligation and responsibility because I think it’s critical that you (the organization) be committed to responding to all comments in a timely manner – typically within 30 to 60 minutes. Anyway, I digress. Here is the presentation.