For my organization, I only do one big media campaign a year. And it’s roughly the same story every year. Sometimes, I really do something creative with it and hardly get a bite. Other times, I’ve barely lifted a finger, and something happens that results in tons of good coverage.
A few weeks ago, I was at it again. But this time, I tried using the new social media release format. Now, diehard SMR experts will criticize me because it’s not the full-blown deal. For example, it doesn’t include a DiggIt feature or Del.icio.us links. But hey, it’s my first attempt. And I put it together by myself with the resources of a small non-profit.
I did some homework first. I listened to a few of the SMR podcasts (but they were more chatty and techie-speak, than instructive). I joined the discussion list on Google Groups. I referred to Shift Communications’ terrific online PR 2.0 Guide. I went to the DiggIt web site to learn how to create the link. I studied SMRs recently distributed by other firms. Etc., etc.
Still, I have questions, very practical questions…
Once you figure out how to set up the DiggIt link, how can you test it? I don’t want to put anything on a news release that may not work. But you are not supposed to Digg your own stuff. And you sure don’t want to Digg something that you’re not releasing yet.
How do you set up a purpose-built Del.icio.us page or tags? I know this is an amateur question, but tons of PR folks are amateurs at this.
What are the pros and cons of using a purpose-built Del.icio.us page or tags? I need to know what to expect and how it will help reporters and my organization. I don’t want to do it just because it’s a standard part of a SMR.
If you don’t have a blog but you do have a web site, do you still need to include a list of tags on the release? If so, how? I include keywords and other optimization things in my web site. How are tags different, or are they just for blogs?
If you distributing your release yourself rather than using a wire service, do you really e-mail the whole thing? Once I created mine, it was more than two printed pages. I never send that much to reporters unless they request it. I typically only send a few sentences with a great subject line.
These are just a handful of the details that stumped me. Most of the blog posts and resources I found assumed a higher level of understanding of social media and technical jargon than I and many, many PR folk currently possess.
On a related note, Todd Defren and company have developed PRX Builder which is a “Social Media News Release Builder.” Of course it came out one week too late for me. And so I haven’t tried it out, but what a wonderful contribution to the field this is likely to be!
Unfortunately, I don’t know if the response we’ve gotten in this campaign is due to the content, the timing or the methods. It’s probably a combination. So, I’ll keep trying. I would really be interested in hearing about others’ SMR trials.