If you were listening closely to the PR world this year, you might have heard the PR equivalent of Ty Pennington, yelling, “Move that bus!” What was revealed was not a new home for the Bardelo family in Ohio, but a brand new makeover for the lowly press release.
It is being called the Social Media Release or (SMR). It replaces the century old format of the journalistic inverted pyramid style of news writing with one that makes it easier to enhance or interact with a story via video clips, quotes, blog posts, RSS feeds, or links to other relevant articles, websites. As one journalist we know said, “The social media press release ties together various multimedia elements in one place, enabling the journalist to view and/or “re-mix” media elements.”
Before we throw the traditional release under the bus – a note of caution: It does not replace a well-crafted, customized pitch or the need to provide basic, factual news to the media. It does open the door to giving media more tools and more ways to cover a particular story. It also recognizes end users as the new consumers of press releases.
The SMRs are just starting to catch on. Here is a recent example from CISCO.
A number of firms are claiming credit for this including Shift Communications and Edelman, but there are a few key driving trends. The first is the shrinking news room. Editorial resources at many publications are running thinner than ever and staffers are expected to do more with less. Social media press releases provide links to additional resources that are helpful for story research and they also package information into formats that are easy to use for quotes and citing references/statistics. Images, audio and video also add impact to the release.
The second is the rise of the new media. Media savvy Internet journalists (that includes you and me) crave information in a format that is familiar and more functional than a traditional press release. Encouraging the sharing of news via social bookmarks, social news, image and video provides the new media publisher multiple options meets the news information consumption needs of consumers as well as the media.
The third is the insatiable appetite for search relevance. The SMR is tailor-made for optimizing your releases. More links equals more relevance.
Don’t get me wrong. The standard release isn’t going away any time soon, but it’s nice to see new tools and techniques keeping PR in the driver seat.