Why Create A Social Media News Release?

April 22, 2010

A Social Media News Release (SMNR) is a news release on steroids! With our technological savvy era it’s no surprise that news releases stood no chance against our ever-moving multi-media generation.  In his book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Wilcox  describes that a social media news release is an electronic news release “pioneered by the major distribution services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Marketwire, now make it possible to embed high-resolution photos/graphics, video, and audio components.”  Social Media News Releases are also termed Multimedia News Releases or Smart Media Releases.

Readers want to be entertained and captivated so journalist have to see potential within seconds of reading a news release. As the internet has pioneered a path for online news,  multimedia photos and graphics have become just as important as the text itself. With major electronic distribution services like Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Marketwire it is possible to share these social media news releases to clients all over the world.

The SMNR allows for journalist to visualize the “news” and allows for information to be found within seconds. Business Wire has helped the SMNR revolutionize into an “everyday” aspect for public relations professionals. Staples recently posted this SMNR to Business Wire: Staples Announces Winning Team in its Search for the Next Green Office Product. Staple’s PR representative included photos, hyperlinks, quotes, tags, and a boilerplate not only about the Staples company but included a boilerplate more specifically about Staples’ Environmental Commitment. Going “Green” is an expanding movement across America and Staples wants on the bandwagon. Using the options of a SMNR allows the pictures allure the reader into looking for further information which can be found quickly through their links and tags.

Including links to your videos/pictures in your press releases can be useful for piquing media interest, or, for example, demonstrating why a speaker from your company would be a good interview subject.”        

      Niala Boodhoo, The Miami Herald’s Business Multimedia Reporter

So what makes a Social Media News Release superior to a plain news release? The appeal is much greater to journalists who focus on the online news sector. With cell phones, computers and PDAs on the rise, people have shifted to the internet to retrieve the latest news. Giving a journalist more information makes their job easier. If the SMNR is created in a proper format and the information is news worthy, than sending your information in a SMNR form versus a news release could make the difference between your “news” getting published or not. Bloggers also use SMNR as a source to publish current information. SMNRs are extremely useful only when created in the proper way. If links or tags are overused than the SMNR could harm the image of your company or client. With all the multi-media features on this news release it is also easy for the reader to get distracted, so be precise with your message because it is the most important part!

How Can I Create A SMNR?

Several sites like PitchEngine or PRXbuilder can help you create your own personal SMNR for your client.  These sites are free and make setting up your SMNR extremely easy. If you are having issues understanding the set up or how to enter your information into the program tutorial sites are available to guide you set by set through the process.

Check out Shantel Hansen’s PitchEngine.com Tutorial on the special features and advantages of using a SMNR:

Tips for a Succesful SMNR:

Since I am only beginning to understand the master plan behind creating a succesful SMNR below are some tips from professionals of the PR field. Blogs are a great sources of helpful PR information so if your still confused there are still thousands of other resources out there!

 SMRN UpdateStephen Davies

“A SMNR is not for all news”

  • News that’s relevant to the online audience – Obviously some sort of tech and telecoms news will always be popular in the online space as there are many blogs focusing on those areas. I guess it’s a case of defining your audience beforehand and discovering how much discussion is taking place already.
  • High end news – News that is new, unique and pretty significant to the audience you’re targeting and not just some afterthought to try and “get some online coverage”. Much the same as a traditional news release, smaller businesses will find it harder to generate coverage than, say, a FTSE100 or Fortune 500 company. Unless, of course, the smaller outfit has news of significance.
  • Something that will generate a discussion or debate – Again, a bit of a no brainer but, hey, that’s what should make a good SMNR.

(Information taken directly from Davies blog))

PRWeek Craig McGuire

  • Include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce you message.
  • Distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape.
  • Don’t go link crazy!–too many links will confuse people and take away the focus from your main point.
  • Use low resolution images
  • Use every tool that is available! Make sure your message is the most important aspects but use the extra features to compliment your campaign.

(Information taken from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox)

***For a great video to understand SMNRs better check out RealWire‘s  Social Media News Release page!


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