Are social media news releases effective?

The Social media news release was a concept I heard about but wasn’t sure how it worked.  I was keen to test it out…

I asked fellow CIPR students on the PR diploma course if anyone had ever used a SM release or even came across one.  The general feedback was no but they had heard about them. One student said she used them and worked well for targeting specific people in the B2B sector.  Once targeting specific contacts she then uploads to SM sites Mashed and Reddit.

Social media news releases don’t seem to be popular within the public sector.  I decided to pilot one for the latest Awards For All funding announcement.

What exactly is a social media news release?

A social media news release is a shortened version of a traditional news release. The recommendation is to keep it as social media friendly as possible by providing a short opening summary (usually 140 characters long to mirror a tweet), a couple of bullet points to define the story, include HD images and other relevant social media links.

In Share This: The Social Media handbook for PR professionals- it is recommended the news release is uploaded to a social media newsroom/website.  Once uploaded, retrieve the link and send to your relevant contacts.

Social media news release guidance

I came across a helpful blog by Digital Comms guru Brian Solis

http://www.briansolis.com/2008/02/definitive-guide-to-social-media/

There is a lot of value in his blog and helpful tips.  However the blog dates back to 2008!! Any other online reference is the same. This made me wonder whether organisations actually use them or if they have been used in the past but never really taken off…

Testing it out

First of all I wanted to announce a group who are actively on social media, have images/ videos to share.  We announce on average 115 Awards For All grants a month using Gorkana.  Successful funded groups are located Scotland wide so we target projects local press and national papers. I thought it would be best to pilot the SM news release at a targeted area. Glasgow it was…

gladogI used the funded group Glasgow Piano City- an organisation with a social media presence and lots of juicy SM links available. http://www.glasgowpianocity.org/

I emailed the news release directly to Glasgow journalists the day before and on the day I published the release on our blog as a point of reference.

http://bigblogscotland.org.uk/2015/05/14/glasgow-plays-a-new-tune-this-summer/

I can’t say this worked or was more effective than sending a release the traditional way.  In fact the only online source I’m aware that used the SM release was Third Force News:

http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/1m-windfall-for-scottish-communities

Perhaps sending an email with the traditional news release and supporting links to journos remains to be the most appropriate way.  Or maybe it all just depends on the news story.

The investigation continues…

Have you ever used a social media news release?  Do you have any tips for engaging with media online?

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