Support Builds For Social Media News Releases

CBC’s Tod Maffin wrote today about his frustration with the traditional news release:

There’s the lead paragraph, followed by some bullshit quote from a senior executive (”I’m pleased to announce the blah blah blah…”) and then usually a string of meaningless brand names… er BRAND NAMES… and no real sense of the news value or the real story.

He also proposes a ‘new format‘ for news releases:

It contains the bare essentials, in bullet-point form, to catch the eye of journalists. It still includes the obligatory crappyquote from the executive, but it’s written in a simple, non-hyped style.

Todd’s proposal adds to the voices calling for social media news releases. I’ve had a lot of conversations about these recently, both at work and here on my blog, and I increasingly find myself evangelizing this tactic.

(Pointer: I discovered the NMRCast a couple of weeks ago through Brian Solis‘ blog. What an amazing resource! If you want to find out more about the social media news release, check it out)

Todd Defren (it’s all Tod(d)s all the time today) drew my attention to a great social media release issued today on MarketWire. I love this release for a couple of reasons:

  1. It provides a bunch of easily-used links and resources for journalists
  2. It’s written in clear, plain language

The first point is critical (the second is a topic for another time).

One of the main reasons I like the social format is that it makes life easy for journalists. They don’t have to spend time digging through the release for the news – it’s right there.

I’ve already blogged that I don’t think the social media news release is a ‘one size fits all’ solution. There’s a definite place for a well-written traditional release, especially if you’re looking for coverage in local or multicultural media. However, for the mainstream media, this format has (in my mind) clear benefits.

I recently talked to a former Toronto Star journalist about this new format. He loved the idea from two perspectives:

  • For the reporter, the format makes information and resources easy to find
  • For the assignment editor, the format makes additional content – images, video, audio – clear, reducing their uncertainty around the story

I can see the draw-backs to this – extra work, increased lead time, higher costs. However, with the potential benefits, why not try it out?

I try to play a small role by promoting the concept of the social media news release in my organization. I’ve received a good reception so far; time will tell where that will lead.

What are you doing?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.