I love that the social media news release seems to be gaining traction. I love the flexibility, the multimedia content, and the way it forces writers to cut out the crap. I evangelize the format at every opportunity.
Still, a few months ago I wrote about how we needed to find a middle ground with the social media news release. In my eyes, the new format isn't a panacea - it should add to our toolkit rather than replacing the 100 year-old press release.
My concerns in that post:
First and foremost, communicators need to think about their audience. However, we also need to think about how we're going to get the message to that audience, and that means segmenting the media.
There's a big difference between the larger media outlets and smaller, community-based media.
The social media release is a great idea for the larger outlets where the reporter is always going to break down the story and look at it from all angles. However, smaller community papers simply don't have the resources needed to do this. We frequently see releases published almost verbatim by these outlets.
If we were to stop issuing traditional releases for community-based stories, I'm willing to bet we'd see a drop in coverage in local media.
My thinking has evolved a little since then, but my fundamental concerns remain.
It seemed to me that a lot of people agreed.
However, I've heard rumbles about organizations using it to replace the old format, and started to wonder if maybe I was behind the times. Maybe I missed an evolution in thinking since then.
"Social media news release: a replacement to the traditional release or an addition to the toolkit? I say the latter. You?"
The responses reassured me, and I was particularly happy to see Todd chime in:
- edlee @davefleet - SMNRs complement traditional NRs, but you can't put lipstick on a pig. for either to work, you have to have a story. 12:19 PM January 31, 2008
- EdenSpodek @davefleet I agree, SMPR is in addition to a traditional media release although that could change one day... 10:51 AM January 31, 2008
- DJLitten @davefleet Add it to the arsenal. I'm more interested in when the SMNR makes into J-school curricula. If ever. 09:08 AM January 31, 2008
- TDefren @davefleet re: SMNR. My thoughts (and @briansolis's): http://tinyurl.com/2efrpu 09:07 AM January 31, 2008
- jenzings @davefleet SMNR is additional tool. Traditional NR still viable, but PR practitioners need to craft better/fewer/more relevant ones. 09:03 AM January 31, 2008
- tamera @davefleet echoing that it's an addition 08:57 AM January 31, 2008
- kflaherty @davefleet it's an addition for most companies and for some it has been able to replace. It depends on who, what and end goal of the rel ... ... 08:52 AM January 31, 2008
- Igniter @davefleet an addition until sm becomes traditional - or there is an engine to convert and distribute smnr in traditional format to tm 08:47 AM January 31, 2008
- Canuckflack @davefleet SMR is an addition 08:36 AM January 31, 2008
- stuartma @davefleet Addition. Social media growing in importance but traditional is still The Game 08:11 AM January 31, 2008
- georgedearing @davefleet | the latter 07:40 AM January 31, 2008
Addition, Not Replacement
The social media news release isn't yet a replacement for the traditional format. It's a valuable addition to our toolkit which we can use as appropriate.
That said, a couple of sub-themes emerged here:
- We need to write better news releases.
- Todd and Brian Solis say it well in the post Todd linked to above: "A crappy press release is still a crappy press release regardless of multimedia or social bling."
- Social media is growing but "traditional media" is still the mainstream. Sometimes the old format is more appropriate to communicate with them.
- Check out Chris Heuer's video for an intro to the social media news release.
- Check out SHIFT Communications' del.icio.us feed for examples and discussion of the social media news release
- Learn more about Digital Snippets at Maggie Fox's blog, or check out Collin Douma's session at PodCamp Toronto on February 23 & 24.
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