Monday, November 9, 2009

An Introduction to Social Media News Releases - Part 2

By Mike Keliher

This is the second post in my little two-part series on social media news releases. In my first post, I offered an introduction to what social media news releases are and how they're different from traditional news releases. In today's post, I'll share some thoughts on why you'd want to use a social media release, what exactly you do with one, and ideas for how you might gauge its value.

By now you should at least have some vague idea of what a social media news release is and what they might look like, and you're probably starting to get a sense for how you'd put one together. To get a better understanding of what you should put into your social media news releases, let's talk a bit about why and how you'd use one of these fancy things.

In most cases, when I publish a social media release, I'm also paying a company like Marketwire, BusinessWire or PR Newswire to distribute a traditional news release at the same time. Write a traditional release -- you need some client-approved language to use in the social media release anyway -- to send out over the wire for the sake of reaching some mainstream media newsrooms and, perhaps more importantly for most news releases, getting a nice little bump in your search rankings.

Include in that traditional release a link to your social media release, which complements your traditional release with whatever photos, videos and other Web content you have -- content that would cost you an arm and a leg (maybe two legs) to distribute via one of those wire services. Then, when it comes time to send pitches to your carefully selected list of media folks, include a link to your fancy, multimedia-stocked social media release instead of your boring, plain-text traditional release.

Once you get in the habit of sharing photos of your products, events and the like, or publishing videos on YouTube, you'll quickly find yourself thinking, "Boy, I wish I could easily show this reporter our photo set, and our videos, and our news release, and give her links to our Twitter profile and our Facebook page..."

That's what social media releases are for. And trust me, if that "Boy, I wish..." sentence sounds odd, just wait. You'll get there.

To gauge whether your social media release was effective, consider these questions:

- Think about how you gauge the success of your traditional news releases. Did your social media release help with any of those metrics?

- Did it increase the quantity or improve the quality of coverage you received? Did reporters or bloggers use any of the photos or videos you shared? Did they pick up any of your key "news facts"?

- Did it save you money? Were you considering paying a news release distribution service to host some photos or videos for you? If so, using a social media release platform like probably just saved you anywhere from $50 to a couple of thousand dollars. Seriously.

- Does the social media release show up one the first page or two of Google search results for a couple of your key phrases? Keep in mind, if you paid to distribute a traditional release via PR Newswire or the like, those are probably more likely to show up higher than your social media release.

- Did it make your job any easier? Was it helpful to have just one place to point people for all of those photos, videos, links and release text?

- Did a reporter or blogger tell you, "Hey, that's cool"? Did he say it made his job easier?

- Did you get your money's worth? This is sort of a trick question, as many methods for creating and publishing these things we call social media news releases are free of charge.

I hope that helps. If you have more questions, let's hash it out in the comments section below, or you can e-mail me [].

Mike Keliher is a Client Relationship Manager for Minneapolis marketing firm Fast Horse and blogger at The Same Rowdy Crowd and Unjournalism.

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