Is Social Media the New Press Release?

In recent months, there has been a lot of chatter in the PR industry. This chatter has been focuses on the changing formats of press releases. The idea for these changes is that while original format uses for press releases certainly offers readers with the pertinent information about a business’ latest news and information, it doesn’t influence social media to its fullest advantage. In other words, the existing format used for press releases doesn’t gain them as much attention on social media. Given the rising popularity of social media as a tool for collecting valuable information and resources, press releases, as they are currently formatted, won’t garner the attention that they should.

Press Releases: The Wave of the Future

Often referred to as “Web 2.0”, the latest breed of internet-based services for PR makes it possible for people to work together and share important information online via blogs, videos, tags and other content that is generated by users.

Cutting-edge PR professionals have started to take notice of the opportunities that “Web 2.0” presents. They are targeting different opportunities to leverage social media in order to enhance how information offered in press releases is shared so that they can more effectively spread the message companies are trying to convey via their press releases. The goal is to make releases reach more diverse audiences so that they can attract the attention of even more potential customers, thereby increasing a business’ success.

Format of Social Media Press Releases

copyright: adiruch-na-chiangmai @ fotolia.com
copyright: adiruch-na-chiangmai @ fotolia.com
The format used for the new breed of social media press releases is much different than the traditional structure, which has always been focused on text. The new format is designed in such a way so that anyone who accesses it -- journalists, bloggers, possible customers, or just those who are browsing their newsfeeds – can quickly locate and interact with the content that it provides.

The new social media press release template contains the following elements:

  • A short description of the news the press release is announcing
  • Quotes from key-players, such as the CEO, CFO, customers, analysts, and other valuable personas, if and when appropriate
  • Attachments to images and videos, or links to the web pages that host this content
  • Links embedded within the content of the press release to pertinent background information, as well as links to any other relevant stories in the news, references or sources
  • Digit tags, which are used to link to various web tools
  • Links to RSS feeds
  • Podcast, MP3 files, graphics and video links

Benefits of the New Social Media Press Release Format

The new social media-friendly format for press releases offers a wealth of benefits for the intended viewers, as well as business owners.

For reports and bloggers, this new format presents information in a way that makes it possible to choose the specific type and level of information that they are specifically seeking. For example, reporters and bloggers can access detailed information about the company, quotes from the executives and customers, or images and other graphics.

In regard to the general public, the new social media press release format makes releases much more accessible. Thanks to the search engine optimization and links from interactive websites that releases will incorporate with the new format, they will be more visible by the general public. Moreover, this “Web 2.0” format will also make it possible for people to share any feedback they might have with the author(s) of the press release. This gives the average person a voice that can be heard, which empowers them, making them more likely to interact with and share the content.

Is the New Social Media Press Release Format Practical?

If you are a business owner, you want to know if your venture will be able to take advantage of and benefit the latest format for press releases that aim to make them more social media-friendly. Your inquiry is completely understandable. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting as much exposure as possible and that your press release is attracting the attention that you want it to.

To date, this new format has really only been used by professionals in the tech industry. This actually makes sense, because reporters and bloggers, as well as existing and potential customers within the tech space are accustomed to all of the bells and whistles that this new format entails. For companies in this niche, the modified format has proven to be beneficial.

If your business is cutting-edge and forward thinking, making use of the new press release format might establish your company as a real trend-setter in your specific field. Industries that can really take advantage of the new social media press release format include:

  • Entertainment
  • Ventures that appeal to younger generations
  • Businesses that sell and use products that are extremely visual

Even if your business doesn’t fall inside these areas, you should still consider looking into the new social media press release format. Since the written content is designed to be more a way to present facts than anything else, you might find it less overwhelming and time consuming to create. This is particularly true if you are using it in conjunction with automated services that are designed to help you build your press release. Additionally, if you depend on buzz on the internet to drive your business, you will definitely benefit from including search engine optimization, links, digital tags, photos, videos and other elements that are incorporated with the new format.

The goal of a press release is to present pertinent information in a timely manner. With that said, ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if including these elements within your press releases will produce the results that you are hoping for.

A Look Into the Future

Though the new social media format for press releases certainly does have its advantages, there is a lot to be said for the original format. The original structure has been used for half a century, and it is very unlikely that it will lose traction quickly. But, moving into the future, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll see a big shift from the original to the new.