Online Press Release Versus Social Media Press Release

What is the difference between an online press release and the social media press release? I searched for the definition of “online press release” and “social media press release,” and initially I did not find particularly clear answers. I will try to sort it out for myself, and you, as an interested reader. Hint: these concepts brought about a third, more interesting tool, the social media newsroom.

The Online News Release

Business Wire and its affiliate, Market Motive, recently presented a webinar on the “successful online press release.” It seemed to me that they generally describe the online press release as somewhat of a “new and improved” traditional news release. It has 3 main components: a headline, the body of the release, and a multimedia component.

The multimedia component is what makes it different. They say editors and news disseminators increasingly expect multimedia, such as photos, video, audio, logos, and other graphical materials. Notably, they say only about 10 percent of current press releases contain multimedia, and that can be the differentiator for those seeking to break through the clutter.

Other tips from Business Wire and Market Motive include:

  • Be sure to have keywords in the headline.
  • Be sure to include the organization’s name in the headline.
  • Headlines should be between two and twenty-two words to avoid rejection.
  • The body’s first 100 words should contain keywords, but don’t overload it; Google News will kick it out if there are more than 125 keywords.
  • Links are helpful in the body, but more than 100 keywords are too many.

The Social Media Press Release

Apparently the social media press release (aka social media release) is a different animal than the online release. Ian Capstick states, “A social media release can be broadly defined as a single page of web content designed to enable the content to be removed and used on blogs, wikis and other social channels.”

International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a champion of social media press release, and they describe it “as a format for making company news available to reporters, bloggers and the general public.” Additionally, they state that elements of the release, such as news, quotes, boilerplates and contact information, are separated into sections, with core news facts presented in concise paragraphs or listed in bullet format, making it easy to identify the news and copy-and-paste pieces of the release into an online article or blog post.

Interestingly, the mentioned, recent Business Wire presentation warned against “bullet point only” copy, as sometimes recommended. People and the search engines still expect paragraphs of copy stating the consumable news and related facts.

From my search results it seems that the social media press release has lost some of its buzz. Many of the search posts on the topic are a couple years old or so. What might have more buzz going for it is the “social media newsroom.”

Social Media Newsroom

The concept behind the social media newsroom is to group together all the information, press releases, visuals, video, background materials, story ideas, logos, links to other relevant sites and contact information for a company. It should be easily accessible and searchable. The social media newsroom sounds a bit like a traditional website “news section” on steroids. Social media newsrooms are certainly more inclusive than the social media release.

Each item in a social media newsroom should have its own URL address. The address can be used when the information is shared on social media sites and will appear in Google news with a clickable link. Those touting the social media newsroom recommend each company have one within their company site, or build a separate site to house it.

Blogging platforms are excellent choices for the social media newsroom. They allow for social media bookmarking (the practice of storing the address of a website pages in a browser or a social bookmarking site, such as Twitter, Yahoo! Buzz and digg) and are interactive (two-way exchange of information even if one is a computing device). Blogging tools, such as WordPress make excellent newsroom platforms, are easy to use and allow an organization to build and maintain a website with a social media newsroom.

Final Thoughts

I’m actually most excited about the social media newsroom. It seems more like a breakthrough business concept for those of us helping clients using public relations tools. Marketing and public relations agencies may want to build a social media newsroom to house that information for clients. I can see how they would be a significant value-add for smaller clients without significant resources. And the agency could quickly upload the content.

So colleagues, tell me what are you doing in this arena. Are you using some form of the online or social media press release? Do you have clients with a social media newsroom? Do you have a social media newsroom for yourself and/or for your clients’ use?




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