Disclosure: CNW Group is a client of my employer, Thornley Fallis. However, I have had no involvement with their account to-date and I have not been asked to write about this topic. These opinions are mine alone. If you’ve read this site for a while, you’ll know that my interest in social media releases goes back to way before I joined Thornley Fallis and I’ve written about them many times.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the social media release, it’s a new format for news releases that takes advantage of the linking, multimedia and social media capabilities of the web to make news accessible to reporters, bloggers and the general public. Social media releases combine text, video, audio, images, RSS, tagging, social media sharing tools and/or comments into one document.
As Brian Solis said in today’s announcement, “Social media releases can complement your outbound communications strategy by bridging your story with the people you’re trying to reach.”
CNW produced an excellent video to explain their new service:
Seven things I like about CNW’s service:
- CNW recognizes that the social media release is just one tool — “an add-on to your traditional news release.” I’ve written about this before – social media tactics should be a considered addition to your product mix rather than a replacement. Parker Mason, Web Content Specialist at CNW Group, emphasized that tonight when I spoke to him about CNW’s service, saying “[…] you can’t ignore the traditional side.”
- While the “newswire” still isn’t equipped to handle multimedia content, CNW will distribute an advisory to traditional media over the wire to alert them to the social media release. This is included in their standard social media release service.
- The service permits two-way conversations via comments that are featured on the release itself rather than on a separate page. As Parker says, “If one person has a comment (negative or positive) about your organizations announcement, chances are others will as well.” CNW’s service lets you respond to those comments directly on the release. Critically for some people, you can also turn comments off if you want to.
- The comments come complete with their own RSS feed and a comment policy (which I recommend for anyone who allows comments on their site – mine is here).
- The standard price for the social media release includes one video, one audio clip and three images. Some other services charge to include these features.
- The template is provided in both English and French – great for Canadian companies.
- All of the multimedia features are embeddable.
CNW is the latest company to offer the social media release as it moves slowly from a niche market towards the mainstream (others include Marketwire, PR Web, PR Newswire and Business Wire). The company updated a chart produced by SHIFT Communications’ Todd Defren comparing social media release services to reflect their new release:
In case that’s not enough for you, CNW has also updated an excellent white paper produced by Ted Skinner and Michael Pranikoff of PR Newswire on the benefits of engaging traditional media and social media for a Canadian audience. The paper alone is worth a post here — it’s a great primer on online PR — and it’s available for free through CNW’s Social Media Release site. If you’re new to this topic, download it and read it.
From first impressions, I think CNW has done a great job with their social media release.
What do you think?