Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Social News Releases: Building an Online Attraction

Social news releases, first brought to light by Todd Defren http://www.pr-squared.com are a growing online trend for PR people. Unlike the traditional option(dare I say it...PRESS RELEASES, social news releases produce a little more of a pull opportunity than do the predecessors.

More and more companies are creating areas on their Web pages where media people can come to get the information they want.

This is beneficial because often, standard press releases can go unnoticed. This reminds me of an experience I had as an intern for an agency that utilized only traditional press releases. Their PR person sent out releases daily by e-mail to a laundry list of local media members. Sounds pretty proactive, right? Well if it's the thought that counts, A+. However, e-mail technology revealed that most of the messages went unread by the recepients. My estimate is that not only did the media folks find the constant e-mails unnecessary, but also intrusive and maybe even unimportant. I would estimate that the bulk of the releases could have been condensed into a weekly fact sheet about the organization (and posted on a Web page for easy access).

Making your information available to the public on the Web could open a world of opportunity. 1) You won't risk harming relationships with media by bombarding them with information. 2) You make valuable information available to those outside the media. 3)You can maxmize effectiveness by reaching new publics who search for your organization.

With all of this considered, I surely do not suggest cutting out the traditional press release. There are certainly more traditional people who appreciate and thrive on push media. However, try to read the signs when it comes to others. If a particular contact has NEVER responded to or made use of your press releases, don't risk damaging your relationsship by continuing to send them. Try simply sending these folks a link to your site, less-frequent e-mails when your social media outlet is updates, or a link to your RSS feed. This way, they can choose what information is relevant to them.

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