I Heard It From The PR Girl

Week 15: Social Media News Releases

Posted in Topic of the Week by laurynwilliams on April 19, 2010

What is a “Social Media News Release”?

A social media news release has “expanded the audience beyond just the traditional media outlet.” (pg. 137 in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Ed.) )

Social media news releases (or SMNRs) are much more than the traditional news release with no photos, video, or audio. SMNRs include all of those things and more through links. Graphics are used along with embedded hyperlinks, social media tags, blog and online coverage, and user-friendly options. Comment fields and links to the organization’s newsroom allow for immediate feedback on a SMNR.

Paolina Milana, VP of Marketwire, “Social media releases are generally formatted so information is easy to scan, utilizing bullets and lists of ready-made quotes instead of dense text.” (pg. 137 in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Ed.) )

SMNRs are pioneered by the major electronic distribution services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Marketwire. These services have teamed up with search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN to promote maximum exposure of the news release.  (Paraphrased from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Ed.) )

Business Wire

PR Newswire



PR Web

As Michael Lissauer, executive vice president of Business Wire told PRWeek, “The most important thing to our clients is seeing their news release on these search engines. They know consumers go there. If they write a news release effectively, they can bypass the gatekeepers, the journalists, who always had the opportunity of interpreting the release how they wanted”  (pg. 137 in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Ed.) )

The blog post “How to Write a Social Media Press Release” by Muhammad Saleem says “it’s perfectly fine to want to promote your company, because after all, we all have to make a living. But the social-web audience doesn’t like blatant sales and marketing speak.”  This post gives 3 main reasons why regular press releases fail in social media. Saleem explains what should be done to update a regular press release to social media status so that the audience will better understand what they are reading and become more interested. He also gives strategies used in the Alternative Press Release.

This PR- squared  post “The ‘Social Media Press Release’ Debuts” gives information and a link to the first-ever template of a social media press release. It is 100 percent free and available to all PR and marketing professionals. Here is the template in PDF form and the most recent PR-squared post on the social media release template, version 1.5 from April 18 with feedback from professionals.

PitchEngine and PRXbuilder can be used to create a Social Media News Release for your client.

When should a SMNR be used?

A PR practitioner should use a social media news release to allow further navigation by the consumer into an upcoming company event or into recent newsworthy activity of a company dealing with their clients or products.

I believe that while sending and distributing SMNRs online via blog or wire service is important to allow the customer to directly interact with your company, traditional press releases should still be used. I say use both as frequently as possible. Write the traditional press releases with journalists and gatekeepers in mind, and write SMNRs with your company and opinion in mind while avoiding hype. Hype will be recognized and cause customers to distrust what you say.

Lastly, Brian Solis states in his post “The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases:”

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.”

“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.”

I feel like this is a perfect note to end on. Social media news releases are effective in the online world and should be utilized to reach your audience.


One Response to 'Week 15: Social Media News Releases'

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  1. Hi Lauryn,

    I’d also point you in the direction of Pressitt (www.pressitt.com), a free social media news release creation and publishing service. We have just released a new white paper entitled – Has the Social Media News Release (SMNR) finally come of age? You can find it here http://pressitt.com/blog/site-development/has-the-social-media-news-release-come-of-age/

    Andy Merchant director @pressitt

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