It’s hard to imagine, for most Millennials at least, a time when social media was not a part of everyday life. In 2006, when the business world first began exploring social networks, SHIFT developed the social media press release. Although its early form was not at all flashy by today’s standards, its focus centered on the idea of PR practitioners becoming a better resource for journalists. The social media press release was not meant to stand alone, but rather to supplement traditional PR collateral with highly sharable, highly relevant information that was easy to digest and utilize.
What was then an innovative concept should now be the norm.
Social media is very much engrained in our culture today, especially in the PR and marketing industries. Come to think about it, it cannot be ignored in most industries. The concept of a press release, and how companies and journalists use it, has evolved over time. Gone are the days of PR pros faxing press releases to journalists and cutting out print coverage with an X-ACTO knife. News hits today and social media is inundated with both consumer and media commentary.
Once news is released and the digital floodgates are open, the information and conversation is out of your hands. But it doesn’t have to be. To keep up with these changes in the social atmosphere, we’ve updated our concept of the social media press release again, giving your organization the opportunity to engage directly with readers and give them everything they need to share your news (and the messaging you’ve crafted to go along with it). We tried it out with the announcement of Scott Monty joining the SHIFT team.
Here are a few of our new (and updated) features for the social media press release template:
- Headline: Just like in news articles, the headline and lead are the most important parts of the release. If someone clicks on your page and they’re only going to read one thing, this is it. Hit your key point in the headline and support it with must-know facts in a sub-head. If a photo is relevant to your news, put that here, too.
- Sharing Options: In addition to the headline, another important part of the release is the social sharing capability. You want readers to be able to quickly and easily share and engage with your content on their various social channels. Keep sharing buttons close to the top of the page!
- Multimedia: Having visual elements on your page is not only beneficial to your audience, but to you as well. We included a short video (less than five minutes) of our subject (and newest hire) Scott Monty explaining why he was making the move to SHIFT, in his own words. This offered readers some context and visual content featuring Scott sharing a bit more about his move. The video also gives your company another chance to engage with readers. Some will gravitate to video and others written content, serve up as many formats as is realistic in order to reach the widest audience possible in a personalized way. As they watch and share the video, you have the opportunity to create an online dialogue with them.
- Varying Viewpoints: In a traditional press release, all of the information is from the point of view of the organization. We wanted to showcase other viewpoints in relation to our news. In this case, blog posts from SHIFT CEO Todd Defren and Scott Monty in addition to AdWeek’s exclusive coverage on the news were featured on the page. Readers got the chance to not only hear about the news from SHIFT, but from several key players in the announcement along with a story from an outside news source.
- Official Press Release: We may be focusing on new press release features, but the traditional press release is not dead (although some may beg to differ). Some people still appreciate having all of the information in one easy-to-read place. New aggregators will also pick up a press release, where they wouldn’t necessarily find content elsewhere on the page.
- Twitter Collections: A Twitter Collection is an easy way to curate user-generated content around your news. Twitter tools like TweetDeck make creating and curating Twitter Collections very simple and user-friendly. Using the collections gives you the opportunity to showcase what people are saying about your news on Twitter. We chose Twitter in this case because Scott has a large and engaged following on the network. You’ll want to focus on the social network that is going to work best for your respective company rather than what works for someone else, or even us!