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The News Release in the Social Media Era


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Shel Holtz's presentation at the IABC 2009 World Conference in San Francisco addresses the value of the traditional news release in the era of social media, and delves into the social media release.

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The News Release in the Social Media Era

  1. 1. The News Release in the Social Media Era Shel Holtz, ABC IABC World Conference June 9, 2009
  2. 2. Get this presentation • PDF: • Audio and Slideshare:
  3. 3. Agenda • Is the press release really dead? • SEO and the news release • The social media release
  4. 4. The most basic purpose of the machinery of press releases is the identity authentication that wire services provide. We can replace that with something more open, less oligarchic, and more 21st century. The rest of the junk surrounding press releases is just that: junk. Fake quotes (or even real ones, pulled from context), a disembodied third person voice, and a sensationalist, superlative-dripping style: let's please drop the whole edifice, fix the identity verification issue, and move on.
  5. 5. Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes. Often they will contain quotes from C-level executives praising their customer focus. They often contain praise from analysts, (who are almost always paid or have a customer relationship.) And so on... Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense through Businesswire or PRnewswire to reach the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of journalists. This madness has to end. It is wasted time and effort by hundreds of thousands of professionals.
  6. 6. Traditional press releases • Written for print • Distributed over wires • Mainly for compliance • Have they run their course?
  7. 7. Previously, the SEC held that corporate websites could only be used as part of the disclosure process, but with the new guidance corporate websites or blogs can now be the sole means of disclosure.
  8. 8. So why bother?
  9. 9. Mainstream media still matters • Newspapers, TV news still highly credible
  10. 10. Online, press releases deliver • Increased visibility and credibility • Reach customers/consumers directly • Ready access to online content • Reach bloggers • Enhance thought leadership -- SNCR/Vocus study: ROI of Online Press Releases
  11. 11. Evaluating online press releases
  12. 12. Online press release tactics
  13. 13. Use new media to raise awareness • Mayo Clinic News Blog
  14. 14. Use new media to raise awareness • Mayo Clinic News Blog • USDOL on Twitter
  15. 15. SEO and press releases • Descriptive headline containing key words • Link key words to relevant web pages • Incorporate multimedia • Avoid jargon • Focus on first 250 words and optimize • Add tracking links to unique pages • Test your press releases
  16. 16. And they work! • Southwest Airlines had previously only optimized releases around corporate nickname “Southwest”. Upon optimizing for “Southwest Airlines”, and implementing tracking pages, they were able to account for approximately $2.5 million in ticket sales. -- Online Marketing Blog
  17. 17. So what’s the Social Media Release? • An ongoing effort – Started with Tom Foremski’s post – Todd Defren developed a template – Chris Heuer started a working group (through Social Media Club)
  18. 18. So what’s the Social Media Release? • An IABC initiative – Sponsors the working group – Working group membership includes • All major wire services • Representatives from PR agencies • Journalists • Technical experts – IABC announced involvement with a Social Media Release!
  19. 19. So what’s the Social Media Release? • A source of much controversy
  20. 20. Core ideas • One stop shopping for info, resources, and digital assets related to news and announcements • Simplify online reporting process • Augments but does not replace a traditional release • Published to the Web rather than distributed – Linked from traditional release, other locations
  21. 21. Social Media Releases • Geared to online reporters – Journalists – Bloggers – Whatever • Make it easy to tell your story – Cherry-pick content
  22. 22. Social Media Releases • Should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent -- Brian Solis
  23. 23. Core Facts
  24. 24. Multimedia
  25. 25. Quotes
  26. 26. Research Aids
  27. 27. Contact Info
  28. 28. Boilerplates
  29. 29. Links to Sharing Sites
  30. 30. But wait! There’s more! • Tag clouds • RSS feeds • Comments • Downloadable documents
  31. 31. The hRelease Tag Structure • Tags are machine-readable • SMR uses XHTML schema hRelease • Goal: Tags built into all SMR utilities – A consistent approach to finding and using content from social media releases
  32. 32. Examples of tags • Location • Contacts • Created and Expires • Dates • Places • Quotes • News-body • Quotes • Multimedia
  33. 33. How might it work? • hRelease is for bloggers and the media – Identify and pull only what is needed. • hRelease is for consumers – Modern tagging structure enables browser and desktop tool integration. • hRelease is for release distributors – The release contains meta-data (information about itself) – (Example: geocode for applicable regions) – Import and transfer release data based on a common format.
  34. 34. hRelease is for bloggers and the media New tools help authors find exactly what they need. The release “parts” have been predefined.
  35. 35. hRelease is for consumers • The code behind the release identifies actionable items. •Schedule an event. •Call a contact. •The consumer’s computer reads the release code and picks the right tool (Google, Outlook, Lotus Notes, etc.).
  36. 36. hRelease is for release distributors A release can be reformatted to meet the needs of specific distribution points using templates. The same release – multiple views in a single mouseclick.
  37. 37. Who’s issuing SMRs? • Ford Motor Company • Symantec • Electrolux • Coca-Cola • WebEx • Nutrisystem • Cisco Systems
  38. 38. From Scratch?
  39. 39. Questions? • Shel Holtz, ABC Phone: 415.367.3820 Email: Web: Blog: Podcast: Skype: shelholtz Twitter: FriendFeed: shelholtz 2nd Life: Shel Witte Copyright applies to this document – some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-non commercial-share alike 3.0 license