Monday poll: When will the ‘social media release’ be the norm?

Blogging, Marketing, Media, PR, Technology — By on June 5, 2006 10:15 pm

The humble news release has long been under scrutiny and criticism. It’s a PR tactic unchanged in many years despite the fact that many journalists prefer to ignore them. With the advent of bloggers as a new audience, the news release is stretched still further, perhaps to breaking point. Some have suggested it’s time for a rethink. Todd Defren has pulled together many of the facets this new vehicle might take in his ‘social media press release‘. This multimedia format might introduce images, audio, video, tags, RSS, links, comments, trackbacks to the traditional news content.

The format had a warm reception and sparked quite a conversation among PR bloggers, who we’d assume would be the early adopters. But the fact remains that the newswires in the US are ill-equipped to handle such a format. And clients, particularly listed firms, may be cautious about changing their PR mechanisms, particularly since some believe news releases are also aimed at end-users.

So the question is, when will the ‘social media release’ become the norm?

[For those reading this via a newsreader, there is an AJAX-based poll pasted below which may not appear in this post via RSS. Please vote on the site - thanks].

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  • Todd Defren

    Morgan, thanks for the hat-tip and poll. I am interested in the final tally!
    FWIW, you are right that the wire services are not ready – but, I have some meetings set up with them, hoping to be “part of the solution.”
    Meanwhile, every single client I have showed this to has surprised me by saying, “We want to do this. We want to be your guinea pig.”
    Interesting times!

  • Anonymous

    When will the ‘social media release’ be the norm?

    The humble news release has long been under scrutiny and criticism. It’s a PR tactic unchanged in many years despite the fact that many journalists prefer to ignore them. With the advent of bloggers as a new audience, the news release is stretched stil…

  • H. C.

    Currently I think journalists & professional bloggers are ill-equipped to handle the social media release [both on a technological and personal basis]. Given the large amount of information that’s already cramming their inboxes from just mostly-text releases, I can imagine newsrooms (and their IT dept.) having a cow about having unsolicited videos and audios delivered to them.
    On a personal level (since I’m also a freelance writer), I’d much prefer a text-based release with link back the organization’s Web site (where I can then explore as much or as little of the interactive features on my own time when I can, instead of having it all thrusted at me via the social release.) I think at least a few other writers (who are also facing gazillion pitches and releases) would agree with this.
    I guess the bottom line would be how the ‘social media release’ will stand out ~ it’s a double-edged sword (since it can always stand out as being particularly annoying), and I don’t see it become the norm for at least 2 years.

  • Mike

    Tom, you’re definitely on the right track. I’m a journalist for a major wire news agency and I’m thinking about shifting to PR. Having read quite a bit about PR strategies over the past few weeks, however, I’m really scratching my head. Do these people actually talk to their contacts at real news providers and ask them the best way to communicate with them?
    Wire services like Bloomberg, Reuters, Dow Jones and MSN market watch, among others, are still much faster, broader and more reliable than most on-line news services — be it newspaper webistes or bloggers — and have been for decades. How? When we aren’t out pounding the pavement or manning the phones for exclusives, we ask companies and institutions to keep it simple: hold a news conference or send us concise information in a news release or by phone. It’s simple to see why. We anticipate and pre-write the background to any big stories like company results, project launches, or court decisions. The idea of wading through podcasts, video feed or interactive wikipedia definitions (what respectable hack would need these definitions anyway?) on the day of writing is hilarious. If these things contain news, a rep should be spell that out very clearly in a news release, and if not, what’s the point with the extra filler? News releases are still the fastest and clearest way to reach people other than live or broadcast speech.
    Of course technological applications have an important place in PR strategy. Corporate websites are a perfect place for blogs and podcasts. Feature or magazine writers might trawl these things for fluff to fill out their stories. TV or radio reporters will also be well-served by having video and voice stream available quickly, perhaps on a web site. That would definitely be a more cool and efficient way to push a message than a battery of 10-minute interviews to a number of stations. Power point emails with graphics and pictures can also spice up news releases. But in most cases, journalists want to be able to ask questions, and no amount of “feed” can replace that.
    Finally, as a text journalist, I should say that offering people like me a huge range of choices is missing the point. Remember, journalists are busy people too. We already have a job, and that is sifting through mountains of information to present concise, understandable copy. Does introducing podcasts or blogs improve this process? Certainly, they can provide more information. But what journalists really want is more FOCUSED information, and I’m not sure internet and XML or other gimmicks do anything but put you a click away from something that can be spelled out in a simple news release. Ultimately, it’s the text, the data, and meaningful quotes from policy makers that matter. And getting that to your audience in the simplest format is the best way to go.