Social Media News Releases and Me
After reading many many blogposts and articles dissecting and analyzing the purpose and power of a Social Media News Release, or SMNR, I feel like I really grasp all the concepts involved. And it feels so good.
SMNRs are press releases gone wild. While original PRs have the traditional “Here’s our info, here’s our story, go nuts!” type of reporting, SMNRs include multimedia like photos, gifs, videos, and links. It takes advantage of social media by making it available to any and all types of online networks.
Here’s a great SMNR done by NVIDIA, a computer and technology company. Even though I am by far not their target demographic, I can appreciate the usefulness of their SMNR. The regular press release info is there, and there are these great descriptive videos, pictures, and links if you want more information. The best part is the box with all the social media links. They are a part of every network there is, it seems, and they want you to know them all. Plus, it’s organized and looks nice without being boring.
The advantages of SMNRs are numerous. As Brian Solis says, SMNRs allow audiences to participate in the news release, to create conversation rather than just putting information out into the abyss. They are designed to cut the hype and nonsense out of press releases, and just give information, sometimes even in a more interesting way. Links allow readers to find more information on their own terms, and keywords make the press release much easier to find for anybody with internet access.
Copyblogger, a blog about content in blogging and advertising which has won me over enough to add to my google reader, has a nice little article on why SMNRs work more efficiently than regular press releases. It seems to be that social media just will not pay attention to your press release unless it has the ability to control how the information is presented.
Of course there are disadvantages to SMNRs. They might not be taken as seriously as an original press release, as they are more casual in nature. As always, you have to think about who you’re trying to reach with your message. SMNRs aren’t for everyone or for every message. The thing that bugs me the most is the name. Too long. Doesn’t flow. Even the abbreviation is dreadful. Makes me want to call them Smooners. Finally, SMNRs can get cluttered or overwhelming. A poorly formatted SMNR is brutally difficult to read, so most people simply won’t.
WHICH leads me to my next point: SMNR Formatters.
- For my PR class project, we used http://www.prxbuilder.com/ which is great because it’s free and easy to use. If you’re needing a basic SMNR pretty quickly, this is the place.
- My favorite that I found in my research was http://www.pitchengine.com/ which is one you have to pay for, but the example SMNRs look fantastic. For example, this SMNR from blogfrog.com looks great, has oodles of information, a great little slide show with relevant pictures and charts, a comments section, and a way to share it through all social networks. Too cool.
My class project SMNR is here, and it’s taken from a much earlier press release assignment about the Student Eagle Club. I wish I had read all that I have before I had made it. My next SMNR will be much more informative and interesting, although there is only so much you can do with a small event that took place in February. The event was the GSU baseball game against Georgia Tech, the goal was to get as many members of the Student Eagle Club there as possible, therefore it was aimed at those members.
PR people should use SMNRs when trying to reach out to social media networks. They really are more interesting than other press releases, and they allow the audience to be involved in the reporting.
Some SMNR advice that I’ve gleaned:
- Be interesting. A boring press release isn’t going to be read by many people.
- The interesting info must be related to the release. Even if it’s a fabulous video, if it doesn’t have anything to do with the information, it shouldn’t be on there.
- No more spin. PR practitioners have a bad rap of putting false spin on a subject. Straight facts, complete transparency is key.
- Be organized. A sloppy presentation of the facts is never going to win a campaign fans.
- Be brief. Brevity is the soul of wit, and I personally think it should be the soul of news releases as well.
- Awesome Headline. This should be a rule for everything. If your headline doesn’t accurately describe the article or pique interest, it isn’t doing its job.