In the midst of ongoing conversations about the future (or lack thereof) of the news release, SHIFT Communications has provided a “first-ever” template for a social media news release. What does that mean? First, it does away with the never-ending narrative that journalists have to schlep through to find the news. This template puts the key points in bullets. But it goes much further than that. It incorporates the latest tools of social media to provide background data, context and ongoing updates.
For example, following the key points, it has a link to access a specially-created delicious page (that’s del.icio.us.com, where you can provide links by keyword topics that you define). It also provides a link for reporters to sign-up for their RSS feed so that reporters are notified of future news announcements automatically.
Then, this innovative template has a built-in company logo and CEO photo that journalists can download immediately. This is followed by bulleted quotes and other elements. At the bottom it has Technorati Tags. There’s lots more – with a rationale for each piece.
You can download the template from SHIFT Communications. They encourage you to use it and have released all copyright restrictions on it. You can also read more from the blog of a principal there, Todd Defren (see PR Squared blog), and in the flurry of blog posts about it, like Shel Holtz’s post, “The press release is dead! Long live the press release!” and one by Neville Hobson, “Are journalists ready for the social media press release?”
To be completely forthcoming, I don’t know enough about social media yet to understand how a reporter would use some of these tools. I suspect they are most useful for organizations that have a lot of news. One of the advantages I see is that those long narrative news releases typically take forever to get approved internally – over a week if an outside funder is involved. But when I do an advisory that’s basically bullets, I can be done in an afternoon.
I’m planning to incorporate some of these features into my future news releases. And we’ll be offering RSS to media in the next month or so. I am curious about what the reception will be. I know that, already, one the education reporters I work with only wants information electronically (and won’t touch regular mail), another one has had a blog for over a year, and still another has set up an online news service. So I suspect they’ll be happy with this.
What do you think? Have you added any of these elements to your news releases?