Tracking the journey of PRCA 3330

The 411 on Social Media News Releases

Posted on: November 30, 2010

Traditionally PR professionals have released information using press releases, but because of all of the different forms of media online, the changing needs of the end consumer, and increasing ease of use for the media, a new format for releasing information was needed. Journalist Tom Foremski also pushed for a new form of releasing information with his now infamous blog post titled “Die Press Release, Die Die Die.” No longer were PR professionals targeting just journalists; but they were pitching to journalists, bloggers, publishing companies, and the general public. To fill this need, a new format of releasing information dubbed the Social Media News Release (SMNR) was created.The SMNR can be traced back to around 2006 when PR Squared released their first template for PR professionals to use (see the original SMNR 2006 Template here).

A SMNR contains graphics, videos, audio and hyperlinks pertaining to  the information in the release and  or links leading to more in-depth  information. SMNRs are versatile enough that information can be displayed in the “traditional narrative” style or displayed so that the core facts, quotes, contact details and boilerplate are all separate and allow for users to easily highlight the information they need.

According to a blog posted by Real Wire, the use of the SMNRs as opposed to traditional news releases results in achieving around double the editorial coverage and up to four times as much on blogs. This video from Real Wire highlights key features of a SMNR and talks about the advantages offered by an SMNR.

The benefits of SMNRs to PR professionals are far-reaching. A social media news release has the ability to be published on search engines allowing for increases interest and feedback.  Social media components can also be incorporated into SMNRs.  Facebook, Twiiter and RSS components can be a part of the SMNRs.  RSS feeds can allow people to follow the press releases on either the same topic or ones released by the same company/organization. I had a hard time finding any serious disadvantages to the SMNR aside from the time it takes put one together well.

SMNRs are really versatile and can be used in many different situations. Any time that you are preparing to pitch an idea that would benefit from multimedia coverage it is best to pitch with a SMNR as opposed to a traditional press release.

In a blog post by Brian Solis you can find out how to make sure your SMNR is properly indexed by search engines, you can view a simple example of how your SMNR should flow, and learn how to make a SMNR work the best for you

Another great post to read when researching SMNRs is Copyblogger’s How to Write A Social Media Press Release. There you can find the following alternate strategies to make your SNMR stand out from the pack: a sure-fire headline structure, a strong opening that uses an anecdote that paints a relatable picture, and content that utilizes all the laws of persuasive blogging.

A lot of work goes into writing a social media news release. For first timers the task can be a bit daunting. Websites like PitchEngine have been created as a tool to help grasp the concept step by step. For great examples of SMNRs I looked to LiberateMedia. They have an entire post dedicated to showing examples of exemplary SMNRs.

Before I wrap it up, here are a few last helpful tips to remember when creating your very own SMNR.

  • While links can be helpful, don’t go overboard. Too many links can confuse readers and distract from the key messages.
  • Place terms in important positions like headlines and first paragraphs.
  • Use low-resolution images, but high-resolution multimedia.
  • The message is the most important and everything else is supposed to enhance and add to it.

The world of SMNRs, much like all other aspects of public relations, is constantly changing. You can never stop learning and improving your techniques. There is so much information available today that you can always make your work better.


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