It’s a little embarassing to admit my failure to jump aboard the social media release (SMR) bandwagon. The combination of well-written press releases distributed to relevant, qualified media and the relentless pursuit of new contacts has always been a recipe for success. However, our jobs as PR professionals are evolving and it’s no longer just curmudgeonly editors we need to compel. The stakeholders now include everyone with a computer and a Twitter account since it is now possible for a single Mommy blogger to inflict Walt Mossbergian-like damage to a product or company with a simple tweet. Just ask the folks at Motrin.
In educating myself, I turned to one of the preminent minds in PR, Brian Solis, whose musings on PR 2.0 are practically scripture. Mr. Solis offers this high-level description of an SMR in a blog post from last year, “The SMR is not a miracle pill to cure the ills of poorly written press releases. It is merely a tool that is most effective when combined with a strategic arsenal of relevant company blog posts, traditional releases, relationships, and an emerging category of press releases that tell a story (written by people for people using SEO to reach them).”
Any PR professional worth their weight in hyperbole will tell you that knowing the audience is the first step towards any effective PR initiative. It’s no different with SMRs. Identifying the “infleuncers” who care about your new widget or service and socializing your news in such a way that compels them to write is the key to making SMRs effective. For example, maybe you’re a company launching a new multi-vitamin that’s ideal for either gender at any age. Would you tout it’s osteoperosis-fighting effects with a video of spry, rhythmically-challenged seniors getting their Barry Manilow freak on to influencers within the children’s hobby community? That’s rhetorical (hopefully).
Mr. Solis goes on to say, “New media releases represent the opportunity to share news in way that reaches people with the information that matters to them, in the ways that they use to digest and in turn share with others through text, links, images, video, bookmarks, tags, etc., while also giving them the ability interact with you directly or indirectly.”
So what have we learned? When shared with the right influencers, SMRs can offer a multimedia experience that allows readers to understand and re-tell a story with virtually no background knowlegde since everything they need to know is presented in a single package. To be most effective, the flak must remove their publicity fedora and and slide on an enthusiast cap. Once you understand what the real audience for your product or service cares about, you can start socializing your media to satisfy their desires.
PR people are givers by nature and we at Caster are no different. In the spirit of giving, below are the two most prominent SMR templates available for marketers.
PR-Squared.com – blog for Shift Communications, one of the savviest social media/marketing engines around and inventor of the original SMR template
PRXBuilder.com – Account required but free and super-easy to use
With a new client that is ripe for SMR loving onboard, I’m looking forward to putting this knowledge into action and will have a post coming soon that discusses my experience. Please excuse me while I go set the type for the printing press and feed my carrier pigeons for the long, cross-country flight.
Completely off topic but in the same vein as Esquire’s, “Context-free highlight from a letter we won’t be running,” I’ve decided to include a few Context-free excerpts from work-related emails I sent over the past week. Enjoy.
“Maybe you listen to a lot of John Tesh in your house? It would stand to reason that the animal would get some sort of comfort by listening to John Tesh away from home as well.”
“It’s like my old friend Fozzy Bear from the Muppet’s used to say, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Besides, I’d probably have a loss of appetite too if I had to smell you all day.”
“You and he will be glad to know it’s getting framed and hung on my wall next to the likes of Johnny Unitas, Jerry Springer, Greg Allman and a pair of New England Patriots cheerleaders.”
“Hmmm, I guess sarcasm doesn’t translate well through email :). But seriously, you sound like a young Angela Lansbury.”
“The plebeians have had their say so if you want to take one more look, I’ll submit this afternoon.”
Posted by: Nick