Tag Archives: social media release

Create an online newsroom with attractive social media content

News evolves. We’ve gone from print to radio, TV and wait for it… the internet. The humble press release has had to evolve too. As an in-depth piece in Econsultancy points out about the emergence of TV:

Companies sprang up to service this need and PR people had to learn a new skill – video news.

So why is the Internet and the social media news release any different? It’s not a case of killing the press release. It’s just presenting your news in the format that gets the best results.

After all, from the position of a hard-pressed journalist, the easier a story is to construct, the greater the chance that it will make it to publication. As I’ve said earlier, the blog format works well as the canvas on which you can paint your story.

The entrance or portal into your news stories is equally important. On a quick scan of all the usual suspects in the tech field, I’d agree with Econsultancy that Cisco have done a neat job with their news room:

Journalists are spoilt with links to both the blog post AND press release on major stories. Both formats have heavy doses of videos and photos. The homepage has links to all the major networks: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube et al. RSS feeds abound. As do embed scripts so you can pick up the content yourself. You can even personalize the experience so you only see the news most relevant to you (ideal for any company with a wide portfolio).

One thing strikes me about this Cisco example: what they have come up with looks suspiciously like a reputable publication’s online outlet. For instance, here is the current homepage of the BBC (a traditional UK TV/Radio outlet):

Similarities include the heavy treatment of a featured news story, powerful use of images, prominent display of video content.

So is this just an evolution in the humble press release?

One key difference with online news is that people are consuming news from beyond the traditional news outlets. So beyond attracting the press industry (I include bloggers/analysts here) with a rich newsroom, companies have a greater chance of going that step further and getting their message out directly to their target audience, bypassing journalists completely.

Still not convinced there is value in creating social media-rich online newsrooms?

Google’s use of its corporate blogs for handling announcements

Google recently acquired MetaWeb.

Interest was piqued in the tech industry press.

For instance Giga Om’s Liz Gannes tried to explain why the big G picked up this relatively unknown semantic web service:

The Register also picked up the news, gleaning information from a YouTube video on MetaWeb’s site, amongst other sources:

Where do they source their news? Both cite Google’s official blog:

Not too surprising given there’s no press release process in the Google world. Both GigaOm and The Register seem comfortable linking to the blog: both sites have arguably blurred the line between blog and news outlet, and I’d contend a blog has a certain that goes beyond a flat press release (which I’ve written about previously).

To Google’s credit, the blog post is:

  • More in-depth than a standard press release
  • Written informally
  • Detailed in its description of the benefits of the merger to Google and MetaWeb and customer base (webmasters/web users)
  • Attributed to a Director of Product Management
  • Open ended, with links to a video explaining what MetaWeb does (in ‘Plain English’ style)

There’s been a lot of talk about the SMR (social media release) but I’d say this approach although somewhat similar goes a step further too. SMR examples I’ve seen are essentially a press release with multimedia elements (eg. audio/video/images) listed on the sidebar. Blogs on the other hand offer a more fluid approach. Have some video? Embed it into the fabric of the post. Images likewise. Less clunky than having a specific multimedia section (although there’s no reason to keep this in addition).

So, next time you have something to say, why not get a product expert to crack open the blog editor and say something of real value – for journalists, analysts, your client base and the wider public. Think beyond the puffy press release, footnoted with a solitary link to the company website: frame a clearly explained story, and if you can, use audio and video to add color and create a compelling experience.

You may just find your message stretching further than you imagine.