People have always craved news. Each person is curious by nature and wants to stay on top of what is going on in the world around him. The first step in distributing news to society is a news release. Traditionally news releases have been printed on one side of a page and condensed to contain the bare essentials of what happened.
Recently the Social Media News Release was born, otherwise known as SMNR. So what exactly is the difference between a SMNR and a traditional News Release? According to Social Media Training, a SMNR “takes advantage of the linking,multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web to make releases more reader-friendly and useful”; a SMNR releases news via a social media site. Ian Capstick said in article he wrote for PBS, “A social media release can be broadly defined as a single page of web content designed to enable the content to be removed and used on blogs, wikis and other social channels.” Traditional News Releases tend to focus on the narrative style and are text-based. A SMNR strays away from that dull and tired approach and is more interactive.
Social Media News Releases have been around for approximately five years now. As the technicalities and terminology surrounding SMNRs evolve, so does the SMNR itself. Capstick’s article says that MarketWire, CNW, and PitchEngine are three examples of social media release services.
Like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages with SMNR. There are more advantages to a SMNR than there are disadvantages. The only disadvantage that could be possible is that sometimes all the hype of a SMNR can be distracting and detract from the actual point of the announcement. A presentation from Slide Share listed some advantages or benefits of a SMNR. SMNRs are optimized for dialogue, search capabilities and sharing via e-mail or other social media sites. Since SMNRs tell stories through both words and multimedia, more in-depth context helps explain complicated stories. Another advantage is that since so many people use social media sites, stories will spread quicker; so make sure it’s a good one.
PR practitioners should always consider using a SMNR, especially considering the fact that SMNRs get three times as much attention as traditional News Releases, according to a study done by Real Wire’s Chief Executive Adam Parker. SMNRs need to be taken seriously when they are being written. They can appear in two places: either on the company’s website or in a blog that is regularly updated.
Nearly every company has some type of presence on the Internet, even it is just a phone number. Bigger companies such as Cisco have released News Release using social media sites. Cisco featured a Connected Life Contest that they released on their corporate website. This release was successful because it provided links to a YouTube video and articles on Digg and Del.iciou.us. It was thorough and to the point.
So how can beginners go about creating their own successful SMNRs? Thankfully, with the help of the Internet, it is fairly simple to get started on creating Social Media News Releases. Muhammad Saleem provides a few pointers for a successful SMNR in his article about how to write a SMNR. The headline attracts all readers, the format is attractive, and and it is to the point and straightforward. How to Create a Social-media News Release provided more tips for perfecting a SMNR. This article says that SMNRs are written for journalists, bloggers and the general public. This article reminds creators of SMNRs that it is important to choose keywords carefully and to tell a story rather than merely present informative facts. PRX Builder and Pressitt are two sites that generate SMNRs with the information that SMNR writers feed the website.
After doing research for this post and using some common sense ideas, here are some tips for creating a Social Media News Release that will be successful: (Note: some have previously been addressed but are worth repeating.)
1. Be creative. Without a creative edge, it might as well be considered a traditional (and boring) news release.
2. Be concise. Use words wisely.
3. Provide links to sources, videos, and pictures.
4. Make the SMNR easy to share and easy to receive feedback. When people share your SMNR, it creates for publicity for your story and feedback allows you the chance to make your next SMNR even better.
5. Present the information in a story format.
6. As with the traditional news release, provide quotes.
7. Resist from appearing to flashy. When too many graphics are used, the SMNR appears cheap and amateur in quality.
This being said, there is no doubt that soon the SMNR will have completely overtaken the traditional news release. In our technological world, people have no patience for mundane and boring news releases printed on paper. Rather, they want video, sound bites, and pictures to accompany the story. Social Media News Releases are not news releases of the future; SMNRs are the news releases of today and will likely be around for a while