The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases

The Social Media Release is back in the spotlight once again and its sparking conversations, inspiring experiments, and raising confusion along the way.

This time, intent and distribution take center stage.

Good friends Todd Defren and Christopher Lynn took the time to research how wire services are positioning their products for Social Media. Todd posted the results here. Great work guys!

Basically, when you call your local representative, you’re presented with the following capabilities.

Now, whether these stats are accurate, that’s up to what you discover through direct research. Ultimately, you have to hear directly from your rep and try these for yourself in order to draw exact conclusions. But, as Defren points out, his research is representative of what the wire services “know and sell” right now.

So, this brings up a couple of important points:

How do you distribute these things?

And, is this what reporters and bloggers really want and do we really need them?

OK, NEWS FLASH….

For Immediate Release:

Press Releases Are Only One Way To Tell Your Story; Social Media Releases Can Complement Traditional Releases

DATELINE: The Blogosphere — NOW – Brian Solis, a “leader” in what should be nothing more than the obvious, today announced that Social Media Releases can complement your outbound communications strategy based on what the people you’re trying to reach want to see and how. They do not replace Traditional Releases.

“I am so pleased and excited that the PR industry is interested in something new to help reach journalists, bloggers and their customers,” said Brian Solis, author of the PR 2.0 blog. “But, I’m sorry to say, that just because a new tool is available to you, you still have to make your story interesting, relevant, and newsworthy. The Social Media Release is not going to miraculously fix a hyperbole-ridden, over-stated, incomprehensible document riddled with BS. The people that matter to you are simply seeking context, relevance, what’s new, what you do, why it matters, how it’s different, and to whom. You still have to do your homework and write something compelling and clear.”

# # #

Why Do We Need the Social Media Release?

OK folks, it’s time to separate the hype from the hope.

I think we’re learning “how” to create Social Media Releases, aesthetically at least. But, I don’t see many discussions that effectively and clearly say “why” we need them.

There’s plenty of talk. And, there’s definitely no shortage of critics out there. And to some extent, I too am skeptical of any one tool that carries the hopes of an industry to magically change the popular perception of PR and press releases in general.

But, IMHO, the SMR is an important icebreaker for the bigger discussions of how and why we should write better press releases in general.

I use them in conjunction with traditional releases and they work extremely well. Personally, I prefer using a blog platform to create and distribute them.

Are they as effective when distributed through a a wire service?

For example, let’s use MarketWire’s recent launch of its new Social Media Release service, “Social Media 2.0” as a case study to see if we can answer why Social Media Releases are worth our time and if they really work. Disclosure, Thom, Kevin, I’m a big fan of MarketWire, so what follows is just an open discussion of a public launch related to a relevant topic.

Facts:

MarketWire recently acquired Kevin Dill’s PRNN service, which was an effective solution for distributing releases online.

Now part of MarketWire, Kevin helped the company build a new Social Media solution dubbed, “Social Media 2.0, the Industry’s Most Authentic Social Media Product.”

They announced it via a Social Media Release format, a service which I also helped them manually code over the course of several announcements starting in 2006.

First, let’s examine the headline, “Marketwire Unveils Social Media 2.0: Industry’s Most Authentic Social Media Product.”

The only reason I’m calling this out, outside of the Social Media ingredients that define the release, is because any product related to Social Media Releases is important and especially relevant to the discussion. Whether Traditional or Social, this headline unfortunately contributes to PR’s usual tendency to hype, hype, and hype some more. It steals from the significance of Social Media and the SMR, demonstrating why PR has a hard time getting taken seriously. Thom, Kevin, consult with us first. It’s free and it’s only going to help the bigger cause that we’re all collaboratively working towards.

Wanna know what the industry’s most authentic Social Media product is?

Blogs.

Instead of being the most authentic social media product, it instead comes across as a disingenuous and an opportunistic attempt at capitalizing on something momentous and “open.”

The intro paragraph, aside from the hype, serves well for ensuring that the release gets indexed in traditional search engines. Their intro paragraph is packed with key words, which will help it show up in search.

Here are a few examples how well it did for searching “social media” and “Marketwire”

Reuters

Google News

Yahoo News

Could it have been a bit more effective across other key words?

Yes, absolutely.

That’s the art of a SEO-optimized press release, which are complementary to SMRs and traditional press releases.

Did it too reasonably well?

Sure it did.

Here’s where most Social Media Releases fall down…

The link to Digg isn’t generating community voting the way that it does in say, a blog post.

Is this fixable?

Yes.

Unfortunately, the link to search context and discussions within Technorati isn’t yielding all of the discussions we know are present in the blogosphere.

Is this fixable?

Yes.

In the Bookmarking category, the MarketWire SMR has everything needed to ensure that people can save and share this link publicly within social networks.

The trackbacks function only provides a trackback URL, when it could also display a list of all places that responded to the news.

Instead of providing a hub to all external and orbiting conversations, it provides a count to discussions through traditional search engines.

Google

Yahoo

The embedded video and stills ensure that the conversations take place outside and around the news. For example, at the time of this article, the YouTube video featuring Thom’s intro to the new release service was viewed 333 times and counting. However, it’s missing the link back to the release should someone stumble upon it directly within YouTube. But, it’s still bringing the conversation to people and also allowing them to discover it within their networks.

Overall, aside from the “over the top” positioning, MarketWire demonstrated how a Social Media Release can spark conversations across the Social Web. As their coding improves, they’ll be able to track and promote the dialog more effectively, thus extending the conversation.

Unfortunately, though, the release isn’t gaining visibility within Social Media channels, which is an important step in tying everything together, and also promoting the information within the very networks that people go to discover and share information.

Everything else, including RSS feeds, work really well and I’m sure the SMR service will only get better. The products from PRNewswire, PRWeb, and BusinessWire, share similar capabilities, and most likely, results within the Social Media Sphere.

How could all of them improve?

Service providers and businesses looking to amply SMRs should extend the platform beyond an HTML Web page. Building something on a social platform such as WordPress, with full customization capabilities, delivers an inherent social ecosystem which supports the social tools of today and tomorrow and also ensures visibility and search ability using Social Search engines. Offering combo pricing for an SMR plus traditional distribution would raise the bar and create an entirely new playing field for sharing news across Social and Traditional networks.

What Makes a Social Media Releases Social?

Obviously a Social Media Release needs to feature Social Media ingredients, which includes links to bookmarking networks, contextual tags, the ability to track and host conversations, and also discover them within social networks. The inclusion of new features to simply make a fancy, shiny, new whiz bang press release doesn’t necessarily cut it.

So, what socializes a release?

A Social Media Release should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent; but, the difference is, how they find it and the tools they use to share and broadcast.

Social Media is one big extension to the Web, except it promotes voices, along with content, in a way that focuses on people and their social networks.

Giving everyone what they need and how they need it, requires a different approach. Almost 100% of press releases issued today are done so without video or audio, which are underlying component of SMRs. But it’s not about multimedia content, it’s about connecting content across social networks and the people looking for it.

Social Media lowers the barriers to entry for companies to record, share and embed video and audio, and most importantly, allow people to also easily share with their audiences. The same can be said for all multimedia content.

Everything within Social Media now is widgetized, meaning that if you upload various content across social networks, you can embed it all in one place and repackage it under one brand umbrella. Without getting all geeky, these networks give you the “embed code” that you need to plop it somewhere. It’s just cut and paste. What if the whole SMR was embeddable as well? That could be very cool!

So if we’re promoting conversations, shouldn’t we instill the ability to host or feature comments?

Absolutely.

Social Media is a two-way street and dialog sets the foundation for Social Media Releases.

The next step is discovery.

By placing content across social networks, properly tagging them (inserting relevant key words) within each, and linking back to your SMR (or blog post), you can effectively leverage visibility within each community, and also steer influence back to your intended impressions.

Obviously conversations should be ongoing, so part of socializing the release has a lot do with helping people staying connected and also find it again should they wish to see updates.

Make sure to check out co-comment, Tangler, and SezWho.

RSS for company news is one way to keep people tapped in to what you’re doing. Offering links to simply that process could only help. For example, include linked icons for Bloglines, Netvibes, PageFlakes, and Google Reader. In addition, companies should also think about creating individual RSS feeds for product lines and specific services, to keep people connected to specific channels.

And if you’re feeling particularly inspired, creating an aggregated dashboard of relevant content, using Alltop or POPURLs as an example, bloggers, journalists, and customers can stay up to date and connected. Try experimenting with Netvibes to create something like this as a way of experimenting by tracking your favorite voices and stories on the Web. All it takes is an RSS feed.

So again, we ask, what makes a Social Media Release Social?

Well, at the end of the day, if you’ve ever written a blog post, much of what I’m describing already exists. There’s nothing to say that you couldn’t do this right now simply by creating a customized blog that is an extension of your company’s online newsroom.

However, if resources are limited, there are companies, including my own, which help you get there. Or, you can simply use existing services to recreate this process for every news release you wish to publish.

So, at the end of all of this, a Social Media Release should look something like this:

—————–

Headline

Intro paragraph, rich with key words, relevance and context (summary)

Supporting facts

Quote

Embeddable Video (The new VNR)

Embeddable Audio

Embeddable Images

RSS for the company news

RSS for product info

Post in “insert social network of choice” (Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, or a relevant social network for sharing)

Blog this (links to blogging platforms)

Share on Twitter, Jaikue, Pownce or Tumblr

Bookmarks

Relevant links

Digg, Reddit, and other relevant news aggregators and communities.

Comments – Maybe also include a link to a hosted network on Ning or even a discussion forum on Tangler or Google Groups

Contact: hcard, vcard, LInkedIn, Facebook

—————–

The Value of Social Media Releases

Even after we define the SMR, the same questions still come up:

1. Should we include sentences or is it supposed to be bullets?

2. Are we designing SMRs for “the wire” or the “web?”

3. Are SMRs created for journalists and bloggers and is it what they want?

4. Do SMRs need to spark and host conversations?

5. Can they, and should they, bypass influencers to reach people directly?

1- In order for these releases to show up in search engines, the truth is that an intro paragraph or two are necessary to help them index properly. Simply relying on bullets won’t get you anywhere, even if they’re sent directly to your contacts.

2 – I guess that parlays into the next point, SMRs should be designed for the Web, while a traditional release (say a compatriot release) is designed for the wire. Social Media Releases play to the strengths of the Web and also Social Media, a feature that wire services have yet to conquer.

3 – Personally, I’ve created SMRs with a private URL and shared with reporters and bloggers before the news was official (basically under embargo). They loved it and the ratio for pitching and publishing was almost 100%. But, all I’m doing is creating, positioning and packaging information in a way that’s relevant to them. The SMR in this case, becomes a wrapper for presenting information in a palatable and digestible way.

4 – Yes

5 – SMRs are more than just reporters and bloggers; they’re about people. When created properly, they can get discovered by the very people you want to reach and thus bypassing traditional influencers. I’m not saying that you should bank on this as a strategy, only think about it when you’re creating your press release strategy. You can write for both influencers and customers using a variety of Traditional, SEO, and Social press releases.

Yes, press releases show up in search engines.

Traditional Search Engines

Let’s start with the basics.

Traditional press releases distributed over wire services, for better or worse, ARE already showing up in search engines (especially Google and Yahoo News) as a natural part of the wire distribution process. Bottom line, press releases are already reaching people directly.

According to an Outsell study, over 51% of IT professionals report that they get their news from press releases in Yahoo and Google news over trade journals.

It’s a fact that is changing the game for PR, and it’s not only being driven by journalists, but customers too.

What it really represents is an opportunity to do things better. It all starts with making news relevant and writing it in a way that help people “get it.” An awful press release will still be awful, regardless of multimedia or social bling.

So, if traditional press releases already reach people, then why do we need a Social Media Release?

Search and Discovery in Social Media

Social Media Releases may look similar to today’s multimedia releases in format, structure and design, but depending on a series of factors, they have the ability to open up dialog in a way not possible with traditional or multimedia releases.

An important distinction between the two, discovered after spending the last two years experimenting with formats and distribution channels, is this: the content and structure of the SMR is only part of the equation.

What if the people you’re trying to reach are searching and sharing content outside of traditional online communities and instead, or in addition, actively participating in Social Media?

Helping SMRs appear within this realm is the true promise…otherwise they’re nothing more than a fancy wrapper for packaging news for their intended recipients. And, as any good PR person will tell you, providing a summary, images, video, and other supporting facts in one package, specific to their intended recipient, is something they’ve been doing for years.

SMRs are much more than bulleted text and links to multimedia content in social networks. It’s much more than simply sharing information. And, it’s definitely much more than providing building blocks for people to piece together.

SMRs are the hub for relevant content and also the catalyst for the socialization of news.

But, if nobody sees it, what good are they?

A big part of this socialization starts with “findability,” i.e. is the SMR discoverable inside or outside the world of Social Media?

Contrary to popular belief, search engines are not all created equal – especially in the world of Social Media.

The same tools that you use to find bloggers who cover the topics that are important to you, are also the same tools that someone can use to find your SMR (when done right).

- Technorati
- Blogpulse
- Google Blog Search
- Google Alerts

You probably didn’t know this, but most SMRs released to-date not readily discoverable by “social” search engines, even if you embed Technorati tags.

Yep, it’s true. The tags included in most SMRs will lead the reader to contextual links, but, the release itself will remain invisible in the social search engine. For example, click any Technorati Tag in any SMR out there and it will simply force a search for that keyword and produce all related blog posts on the subject, but the release itself won’t be part of the results unfortunately.

Please keep in mind that this is different that the “suggested” tags that you’re seeing in the hybrid examples out there today. If anything, they just help increase findability in traditional search.

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

To be “seen” by these blog-specific engines requires a separate social media optimization (SMO) aka blog search engine optimization (BSEO) process and an entirely different distribution mechanism. If the SMR is not published via a social platform (note: blogs are inherently social) like WordPress or Blogger, it’s going to be ignored by Technorati, BlogPulse, Google Blog Search, et al.

Most often though, just to get things in perspective, if you place it on the Web or distribute via a traditional wire service, your release will in traditional search.

To apply SMO to your press release, again, think about blogging it in addition to your other release distribution.

Create a virtual fireside chat. Make sure to link each release to each other. And, if you upload content to social networks for embedding into your release, also ensure that there are links back to the releases.

The most important thing you can do to escalate visibility is to tag your content direclty within each social network with the relevant key words that someone might search when they’re looking for information. I can’t emphasize this enough.

Summary

Social Media Releases are only one way to tell your story and they can work extremely well when paired with a traditional release and an effective outbound media/blogger/influencer campaign.

Nothing beats knowing what you want to say, why it matters, and to whom. You still have to do your homework and you still have to write something compelling (meaning well written.)

Conversations are ultimately the tool that will help you spread the word and ignite additional word of mouth and also trigger customer responses.

Writing the news in a way that’s helpful, informative, and relative is a critical starting point for any release, whether social, traditional, or SEO.

What this all means is that the future of the Social Media Release is up to you. Raise the bar. Experiment. Provide value. Remember, that releases, regardless of format, are only the tools that can help facilitate discussions, relationships, and also visibility. The ability to tell your story, your way, to the people that define your markets, is where we should all focus our time and effort…the rest, is simply a function of outreach.

For additional insight, please read, “The Future of the Social Media Release is in Your Hands.”

Other voices on the subject:

Dave Fleet

Jiyan Wei

Robert Geller

PRBlogger

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Plaxo, or Facebook

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  • Meghan

    This answers SO many questions for me and my team. We don’t do traditional PR that relies on press releases. We build storylines and pitch with, what we hope is, precision. BUT, last week, we started discussing how SMRs could benefit our clients as a complement to our targeted pitching efforts. We had a lot of questions regarding distribution. Since we don’t normally work with wire services, we’re still trying to find the right road to distribution. My instincts tell me that hosting a page journalists/bloggers we pitch can readily access is the way to go. Are there services that provide hosting for this sole purpose? We work with mid-size clients who outsource their website hosting/design…as do we…so would you say building a platform on wordpress for each of our clients would be the best option?

    Thanks for the insight!
    Meghan

  • FauxClaud

    Oh geez, I am trying NOT to sound like I am pitching, but of course, I am…I have to as it’s my job. But it is also relevant and you might find this handy Meghan…plus personally, I DO think it is a good idea…

    The Press release IS morphing…or the distribution of such. And ..here’s the pitch…check out Blogg.io. (http://blogg.io/)

    Blogg.io is a pipeline between marketers and bloggers with a filter. Marketers get access to top blogs in any niche they desire. Bloggers get highly relevant content. Plus, the top bloggers in each niche will receive a share of the revenue. As Bloggers, we simply agree to read the content – we have no further obligation – none whatsoever. Blogg.io’s mission is to help enable and advance the blogging movement…and get PR’s out to the right people in social media.

    and now back to your regualarly scheduled program!

  • Brij Singh

    Brian – great summary of where PR practice needs to go.

    I have been posting on related topic of distributed marketing. Would love to share notes as we gain more understanding.

    http://blogs.messagedance.com

    Thx
    Brij

  • Andy Merchant

    The SMPR in its present form has become a little static. It has the possibility to move in many directions, one direction we have moved in is embeddable video with interactive clickable links to sites such as Linkedin, flickr and scribd. We have used this concept for one of our client iCrossing. you can view the release here: http://www.liberatemedia.com/blog/not-the-social-media-press-releasebut-the-social-media-video-release/

  • Mick Liubinskas

    Just went to check out PR Web and PR Newswire.

    PRWeb had clear pricing and I could see what was offered.

    PRNewswire didn’t show any pricing, they were forcing me to register first, and even offered me an upgrade without telling me the price.

    I’m going with PRWeb.

  • Gregory

    Hi Brian,
    Excellent post! I have been working with PR Newswire in the UK and after reading your post I am now looking at Marketwire (already had them on the phone), Businesswire and PR Web to distribute press releases for the company I work at.
    I just was wondering how to ‘trigger’ the communication if I was to implement a WordPress environment for publishing SM releases? I understand that the mere fact of posting will ping Technorati, Google Blog Search, etc. But this will still not trigger any conversations (in the short-term). If a company is just setting up a Blog and they don’t yet have any subscribers, trackbacks, authority,… how can they initiate any buzz? Pairing it with the traditional release obviously makes sense but I am more intrigued by your “effective outbound media/blogger/influencer campaign”. Herein lies the challenge I guess? How do you trigger the conversation?
    Again thanks for sharing your know-how with us,
    Regards

    Greg
    PS: I liked your paragraph about Technorati tags. It confused me too at first and ended up writing a blog post about it
    http://web2marketingtips.blogspot.com/2007/11/technorati-tags-much-ado-about-nothing.html

  • Brian Solis

    Hi Megan, thanks for your comment. I would recommend having someone come in and building a channel for you based on WordPress.org. It’s fairly simple…I had someone come in a do it for me recently and it was surprisingly affordable and effective!

    @faxuclaud, thank you for the input. I’ll have to take a look at it. It reminds me a bit of Blogwire…how’s blogg.io doing?

    @Brij, I’ll take a look. Thanks for stopping by!

    @andy, I think you’re right, which is why I’m trying to move things into new directions. I too use scribd and Thinkfree and it’s amazing on how much views increase by including content across various networks. Great example!

    @mick, PRWeb is one option. Although consensus for SMRs is that they may not deliver the most bang for the buck.

    @gregory, MarketWire is a good solution and cost effective. I also use BW and PRNewswire for traditional releases, depending on the news. Re: your question about WordPress. You’re right. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. That includes posting content across social networks that will be featured in the SMR. It all needs a little PR for the PR. You have to promote it and also reach out and engage.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Brian:

    Nice post. A lot of great points.

    A couple comments. As to the question you posed:

    And, is this what reporters and bloggers really want and do we really need them? Are SMRs created for journalists and bloggers and is it what they want?

    I was asked this question last week by a marketing manager after having released three test SMR’s. Here’s my answer to the question you posed – and a point.

    I care – but not too much.

    If you deal in a “complex sale” environment (which we do), a high-dollar product or solution sale (usually over $150,000) requiring buyer evaluation committees, made up of 10-21 people of different functional business groups, it’s more important to make sure our news and content value is “Findable” for those people on the committees when they begin their due diligence. The ‘user”, the “IT person” the “business manager,” “Business decision-maker,” Legal, HR, etc., etc., all have their own unique and specific information needs, which by default includes specific language and terms they use to search for (keywords – key phrases etc.). Sure we want journalists and bloggers to have whatever they need to write their story. We want to be a trusted and valued source. But … no begging or buying is going to happen for them to write about us. No time for that. The hierarchy has changed. Now for us is – first the buyer’s information needs – then the bloggers, media, analysts, etc.

    To stay competitive in the tech industry today you have to be

    • Findable
    • Believable
    • Credible
    • Prove Value

    … just to get into consideration for the complex sale.

    Once you’re findable, believable, credible, then you have to prove value – quickly. The SMR is a great tool to help promote those goals. Most buying committees have their researchers start due diligence on the web. Our internal research shows over 93% of our B2B buyers do it that way.

    The SMNR helps us be more “findable.” That’s good. But it also needs to be well-written because a well-written SMR can help us be “believable.” The opposite is also true. Poorly written corporate gobbledygook (to your point in this post) can make you look incredibly unbelievable. Which negates you ever getting into the due diligence buying process. However, good writing is not as easy to do anymore as a lot of folks out there think. (It’s complex to write simple these days — http://www.mediabullseye.com/mb/2008/01/its-complex-to-write-simple-th.html

    “Credible” follows after they do more research. Or not.

    MARKETWIRE SMR

    I tested Marketwire’s SMNR last week on a Smalltalk Application Development Language press release http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=817878&k=cincom

    Now … it’s not great, not brilliant, not a literary piece in any stretch of the imagination, but it’s functional, having included some of the keywords/key phrases for this product group’s audience in the title/subtitle and first 100 words. It’s a highly niche and passionate community.

    A U.S. SMR VIEW

    Costs:
    My view (from the U.S.) is that costs for SMR’s are relatively high. The ability to include the additional informational in the release via the related links section that ads value, ups the word count – which ups the cost because after the first 400 words almost all wire services typically charge you $1.00 a word (or somewhere close).

    Multi-media assets:
    Being a tech SMB – with a couple hundred million in revenue and producing about 100 press releases or so a year in the US – having video/audio assets available for SMR’s from all the product groups becomes a constant challenge. The marketing and product managers almost have to be evangelists/zealots and do a lot of the video and photos themselves. Some are hip to it. Others resist it like the plague. And, the more video / images / multi-media you do use — the more the cost goes up.

    But having said all that, Marketwire’s release delivered exceptional results for us. It got pulled into a lot of our target pubs. It was visually and graphically appealing. The live links in the webosphere section started slowly then gradually grew and continue to do so. I think over 10,000 links now. Google keeps on building, “Live” keeps on building, Yahoo actually started higher (79 links) then declined. It has now shrunk to 1 link. I think that’s because their news algorithm churns them into the archive – but I’m not sure about that.

    One thing I really liked — the “comments” section. It was valuable and eye-opening. Comments on a press release valuable? Yes. Several had in-depth insights, past experience comments with the product and questions about the future direction. A lot of the questions were about the topic of the press release – but I had probably 20 emails questioning me about the format of the release itself, which was interesting. But it also caused me more work. I had to write an explanation about the new format for our internal employees, detailing the components and the value of the new format. Then I had to send it to marketing, product and pre/post sales managers that weren’t involved in the tests.

    Many warmly received it.

    Many didn’t.

    One great comrade-in-arms, when describing the mindset that did not warmly receive the message and is leery of change, sent me a quote from a Mel Brooks movie – I can’t remember the movie, but do remember the quote.

    “It looks dangerous Master … you go first.”

    EUROPEAN VIEW

    I also used Webitpr.com in the UK last week for a different SMR about a Healthcare Software Application http://blogit.webitpr.com/?ReleaseID=7478

    First of all, Webitpr.com is a great company to work with. They’re on top of it – especially monitoring the blogosphere. I met them through, of all things, a blog posting on PR-Squared’s blog about the SMR. They saw the posting, responded to me about the content of the post in a courteous, non-obtrusive professional manner and now we’re setting up an overseas account with them. Actually released two English press releases and one German press release over the last several weeks. Adam Parker, Jonathan Dolby, Stephen Davies, — super service. They knock it out quick, — use the SHIFT template pretty much – have a different distribution reach, but very effective. I think they’re going to be a major player in this field. Hope so anyway. It’s nice to work with people who are passionate, positive and proactive. Cost is competitive, but the U.S. dollar decline might pinch them a bit.

    TRACKING ISSUES

    Marketwire SMR’s don’t show up on our reporting dashboard like a typical MW release does. This will cause me (and other PR folks who use Marketwire) some issues trying to reconcile cost/value metrics for upper management. The webosphere link tracking is excellent though. Might even have to create a couple new metrics. Something along the lines of “number of comments, actions or emails” on the PR. I’m not sure yet, but we need to be able to prove the value of our PR efforts. I know this is new ground being plowed – but once the seeds are planted eventually some crops better come up.

    WEBITPR.com does have tracking that I can easily append to my other tracking efforts – I use VocusPR for tracking and Marketwire as our main distribution service. WEBITPR’s tracking is easy to view, understand, use and pretty cool to boot. The guys over the pond have done a nice job of building their offering. Pretty impressive actually. Hats off to them.

    SMR CHALLENGES

    One of the major challenges I see though is downstream distribution. The way these SMR’s are rendered and displayed. They are ripped up and displayed in a gazillion different ways. Almost every news site displays the SMR differently. The best you can hope for right now I guess is to get it right where you have control – like for example, Marketwire – or Webitpr – or whatever your distribution vendor happens to be.

    However, though seemingly a small issue, “downstream display and rendering” I guarantee you this question will come up when cost-justifying the SMR to internal budget committees – “Why do it if doesn’t get rendered or displayed the correct way. Isn’t that a waste of money?” So, be prepared to cost justify with results.

    Few examples:

    Yahoo does okay – renders graphics – but no video.
    http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080205/0357646.html

    MSNBC – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23014841/ images and video at bottom.

    IMPORTANT NOTE

    PRXBuilder.com was the best.
    http://www.prxbuilder.com/link.aspx?p=478

    And there’s a reason for that.

    I developed all my SMR’s on PRXBUILDER http://www.prxbuilder.com first and then uploaded them. Shannon Whitley at PRXBUILDER is superb to work with. Knowledgeable, helpful, courteous, goes the extra step. His PRXBuilder tool can really help people get their minds around the SMR concept easily and quickly. It’s simple, easy-to-use and you can be up and running in a few minutes with it. Plus, it gives me the ability to use the same press release content and deliver it in 4 different formats

    • Traditional Release
    • Social Media Release
    • Multi-media Release
    • New Media Release

    This is helpful as we gradually ramp up use of the SMR format – I can still do it the old way if need be for some recipients who need it in different formats.

    It would be great if Marketwire accepted the PRX Format. I know PRNewswire accepts it – but they’re a little pricey right now for this type release.

    Thanks for your post Brian. Great work as always.

    Best,

    Steve Kayser

    http://writingriffs.blogspot.com
    http://skbigm.googlepages.com
    http://www.cincom.com/ea

  • FauxClaud

    To answer your question Brian…

    We are still dealing in baby steps right now with Blogg.io. A very soft launch one might say. Ask me again in a few weeks and if I don’t have time to answer than that will be a good sign….lol.

    I think some of our websight copy needs to be improved on right now as it is getting Bloggers ethical hackels up a bit…Personally if I have to explain to one person that it is NOT pay per post, then that is one person too many.

    Marketers and PR folks seem to dig the idea, but we need Bloggers to embrace it as well. Afterall, it’s really about making it better for them/us.

  • Brent Terrazas

    Well, i think it was Scobilizer who said there’s a big difference between content and noise.
    Using social-media as a means of PR exposure could easily land you being blocked/unfollowed/ignored, etc….

    That being said, if you’re on a service like twitter, do a google search for your name (or whatever name is registered on the twitter account)…. you’d be surprised just how high-up in page-rank your latest (or at least one of your more recent) twitter postings will show up…

  • Eddie

    I do think the social bookmarking sites could reach saturation point if people use them to spam for marketing purposes. I do advocate the use of web 2.0 based sites for press releases and exposure to webistes that would otherwise be hard to come by with google and yahoo etc.
    Twitter is one my favourites, but the main high PR side is only there ofr a short duration due to the number of entries going in.
    As with anything, valuable content advice and information will have more impact. Hence a good SMR will provide inherrent value.

  • Go-Gulf

    The social media release (SMR) is being promoted as an updated take on the old fashioned press release.
    One of the best overviews of the Social Media Release that I’ve read anywhere. This should be reprinted on our trade publication — O’Dwyer’s, which hasn’t covered the topic as well.

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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