Background: There is a group of PR professionals who are exploring the development of a news release that integrates the best features of the online social media world. Among them is Chris Heuer, who has started the Social Media Club, Todd Defren and others from Shift Communications who developed the first “new social media press release” (see my previous post), and Shel Holtz, who (along with Chris) is hosting a weekly podcast on the topic. There are several others and there are several ways to become a part of this conversation. (You can get all the background scoop at http://www.socialtext.net/hrelease/index.cgi.)
Picking a Name for this Baby in the Oven
The heart of it is: how should the standard news release be changed to both be more effective and integrate elements of social media. Interestingly, a big part of the conversation so far has been what to call this new press release (or media release or news release). Is it a new media release or a social media release?
I’ve listened to the podcasts (three so far) and it sounds to me like what we are really talking about is an electronic news release. If it were a printed news release only, you wouldn’t add buttons for adding it to Delicious or for Digging it. So as far as a label goes, when I explain this to my boss, I’m going to call it a new standard for an electronic news release.
A New Strategy
Gone are the days of creating a four-page prose news release and mailing it to a list of reporters. Since that time, we’ve evolved to using multiple methods like online distribution services and e-mailing tiny descriptions of the news item with a link to the release on our web sites.
In lieu of those long-winded prose releases, I actually have been using what I call advisories most of the time. You know, with the W’ and H. But I still sent it somehow to my list of reporters.
And this group is talking about much more than that. It’s more than just a new template for a news release. It’s really a new strategy for media and community relations.
In my next media relations project, I’m going to have to decide whether or not to integrate Delicious, for example. And I have to decide how to go about setting an RSS feed and how to encourage reporters to use it. I also have to plan ahead and do a little research about what tags I will use. This is much more than using bullets instead of paragraphs. These are decisions about strategy.