The role of the social media press release

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We got some excellent feedback from both staff and social friends yesterday on the re-release of the social media press release. A lot of the questions about it have to do with context. If you operate under the mistaken belief that simply throwing a press release of any kind out there is going to magically change the world for your business, we are going to have to let you down. It's not that simple, and it hasn't been that simple for quite some time.First and foremost, we have to talk about the Earned Media Hub Strategy, created by our CEO, Todd Defren.

Earned Media Hub @shiftcomm

In the beginning of the PR process:

  1. You research what it is you're trying to get attention about, and what the general landscape is. What's hot, what's not, what's missing from people's awareness.
  2. From there, you create the messaging, the content, and the creative assets. This is the foundation of what eventually becomes the Social Media Press Release.
  3. We distribute the created media to paid, owned, and earned channels through outreach and advertisement.
  4. We drive the attention and engagement of the audiences in paid and earned media to the owned media channel. It's important, by the way, to note that owned media includes things like the physical storefront where a customer would shop, as well as digital locations like a website or marketing landing page. Your store - its appearance, its brand, its experience - is a form of media that communicates a message.
  5. Marketing does its job of taking the audience and converting them into leads.
  6. Sales does its job of converting leads into sales.
  7. Great service with the brand circle back to create more earned media in the form of happy customers talking about their ownership experience.
  8. Everything is wrapped in an analytics cloud that measures the progress of each stage of the earned media process.

Where does the social media press release fit into this landscape? It's a part of the earned media outreach. Some or all of the media created in step 2 is bundled together into the social media press release (hence why it's so important for each part of the release to be independently shareable), and that's given to media outreach contacts after finding out if they're interested in hearing about the brand and product.Jamie Bull asked on Twitter about the new version of the social media press release:To be honest, I'm surprised it looks so similar to the '06 version. Has that little changed online in the last 6 years? No comments? FB comment integration? Feed of tweets/posts mentioning the release? Maybe I'm just missing something.These are great questions. In the context of the earned media framework above, these are not things that belong on the release itself. Step 4 is where they belong. Certainly, we want people to share and talk about the release to a certain degree, but we serve the client better by driving all of that engagement to the client's owned media, whether it's the storefront or their Facebook Page. That's where we want people having the conversation. That's also why the social media press release is made up of independent components. If someone doesn't want to share the release itself but they want to share the YouTube video or they want to include the audio in a podcast, the modular nature of the release lets them do that - and lets the client's owned media properties shine.Second, has that little changed in 6 years? Yes, surprisingly, in terms of content and networks. What has changed in 6 years isn't the networks themselves (except maybe MySpace), but how we use them. That's why the release is built around the assumption that you'll be using a highly connected desktop or mobile device. Sharing should be super simple to accommodate busy media makers, so there's actually LESS in the new social media press release than there used to be.Justin asked:Is it possible to include a live Twitter stream of people tweeting about the news in a social media press release?Yes, it is, but again, that belongs where we want the engagement - on a client's owned media site. For example, we'd want this on the SHIFT website here, rather than on the release itself:[favs]This provides live, real-time tweets. I'd suggest as a matter of safety and caution that you use Twitter favorites (as above) to showcase only certain tweets, rather than everything and anything that comes along. It's not uncommon for spambots that are marketing unacceptable content to re-use popular hashtags, and the last thing you want is your brand appearing on your website with objectionable, off-brand spam.Thanks to everyone for the great questions and comments about the role of the social media press release 2.0!

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