News Release 2.0: Social Media Impacts the Traditional Press Release

With Social Media playing such a large role in public relations, it is only natural that it is making its way into more than one aspect of the industry.  It is now challenging the existance of quite possibly the most notable component of PR, the press release. 

In recent years there has been a nasty rumor that ress releases are dying.  Fear not, aspiring PR pros.  While new alternatives are becoming increasingly popular, the trusty press release is here to stay.  It is important to familiarize with new strategies so that you can reach the intended audience with your announcement successfully. 

The goal of a press release, by definition, is to let the public know of company (or client) changes or developments.  In other words, the purpose of a press release is to relay a message.  Couldn’t it be, then, that in this technological climate updating your FaceBook status or Tweeting is serving the same purpose?  The answer is yes, and in many cases you will be more successful in spreading the message if you choose to go this route. 

Below, I have outlined some of the benefits of these new approaches.

  • Twitter offers two different alternatives to the press release.  The first, again, is simply to Tweet.  It’s convenient, 140 characters and saves time for both you and your intended audience.  News outlets consider Tweets as valid as personal statements.  Twitter chats can also be used to make announcements.  The benefit of this method is that the announcement can be made to an audience with a very specific interest in what you are saying.  In other words, find a Twitter Chat about travel, for example, join it at the designated time, and make your announcement about how great your trip to Jamaica was.
  • Blogs can also be used to send a message in lieu of a press release.  This is only useful if your blog is widely read by an audience who has personal stake in your announcement.  You can use blogging as a channel by writing a blog post about it or giving the information to a large group of bloggers at once (like you would newspapers) via conference call or video conference to post on their niche blogs.
  • Another strategy we should all familiarize ourselves with is SMR.  Some of us have probably seen it, but don’t know exactly what it is or how we can use it to our advantage in the world of PR.  The Social Media Release is a press release sent electronically that can include links, video, photograh and incorporate Social Media outlets.  There are online services available to help in creating these, as well.
  • Finally, organizations that have access to an E-newsletter can make their announcements this way.  If the news has any impact on the newsletter’s subscribers, there is no more direct way to share it.
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