With Social Media (notice the caps) being paramount as a way in getting your story told, you may freeze before you start. “How,” you say, “do I create a Social Media Release … and what the heck is one anyway.”
A traditional media release or press release should always be first and foremost NEWSWORTHY. This doesn’t change for a Social Media Release. What is different is that your release must also offer the journalist, reporter or blogger something that can expanded upon or perhaps used by them as a reference for another report, article or story of their own.
What is the definition of a Social Media Release? Social media guru and principle of Future-Works, Brian Solis wrote in 2008 the definitive guide to social media releases and his definition still stands true:
“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.”
“The quicker, easier and more creatively you can get your point or message across, the more likely it is to be picked up, shared, re-tweeted, or more.”
Dubois also mentions the importance of keywords so that the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are effectively used. I will add that tags are also very important part of a Social Media Release and should be included as part of your release.
The steps to creating a Social Media Release begin with what goes into a standard Media/Press Release. A really good template is available at the Media College site. Remember that a Social Media Release is more targeted. And, you must provide more facts and additional information including photos and video for the journalist, reporter, or blogger to reuse as their own on the subject.
Dubios does an excellent job bringing together expert advice from various sources as to what goes into a Social Media Press Release including what mistakes to avoid when writing one. (read full article here)
But I feel the most important comment in Dubois’ article was on distribution of a Social Media Release and how it differs from a traditional media/press release. That advice was given by Sarah Skerik, vice president of social media at PRNewswire, a paid press release distribution service.
“Social media releases can be effective but it’s a good idea to put content into networks, where people are looking for it. But something that people don’t really realize is that social media releases can’t be distributed. They can be spidered by search engines, and shared – but they can’t be pushed by wire services. Many multimedia-type releases just sit on the vendor site. If there’s no real distribution, it’s best to have this sort of great content pulling traffic to your own website.”
It is what we do for our clients at DM Productions … post all Social Media Releases to a client’s website, link it to our website, both our Facebook and theirs, and the same with Twitter in order to engage the largest potential targeted audience. Today that audience can include the traditional journalist, reporter, blogger or even your consumer. But, bottomline you still need to get your story told so tell it.