Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The "Social Media Press Release" Debuts - Download the Template Today!

Today we debuted the first-ever template of the "Social Media Press Release."

This newfangled press release format has been baking since late February, thanks to the rantings of Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher. You can get the template in PDF form here, or at our website.

The template is 100% open to the PR/marketing community. No copyright baloney. We hope it can serve as a helpful guide to kickstart thinking about how we can evolve the PR sector. Maybe it can serve as a talking points memo to show to clients, to convince them to give it a try? Maybe you hate it? Maybe you've got some ideas on how to improve it? Let me know.

Love it or hate it, what is important is that the banal, unhelpful, cookie-cutter press releases of yore have outlived their pre-Internet usefulness.

So, t
o announce the "Social Media Press Release template" (and to show how it might look in the real world) we also put out what may be the first ever press release to use this next-generation format, via PR Newswire.

As noted last week, Edelman has their own plans in this vein (also inspired by Foremski). We look forward to seeing how their version differs from our template. No doubt that with Edelman's deeper pockets, it will at least have more multimedia components.

For now, we're not so much hoping to impress, as to help. "Victory" will be achieved if our peers in the PR sphere start to download the PDF and tack it to their walls for future reference.

As this concept evolves, it will be tracked at a purpose-built del.icio.us site. Please pay a visit, or subscribe to the del.icio.us RSS feed for the "Social Media Press Release."

UPDATE: Some kind words so far, from the PR blogosphere (thanks)! If you can, please do take a moment to look at the del.icio.us site ... not just to keep tabs on the concept but, more importantly, in order to spur some thought about how a similar strategy might work for your own clients' PR efforts.

Meanwhile, if you want to see how the first official Social Media Press Release looks in practice, click this link to the PR Newswire version.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Stephen Davies said...

Great move Todd. Just checking it out now.

May 23, 2006  
Blogger Lauren Vargas said...

I really think this is great...just a couple things to consider. When placing the elements in order why not placement after Core News Facts be:
Quotes
Boilerpoint statements
RSS feed to client releases
Relevant coverage
Purpose built page
Add tags

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Very interesting. I'd like to see which media takes to this.

I can see large, mainstream media reporters finding this format useful, but I'm not sure smaller reporters would.

For example, I work with trade pubs in the home decor and craft industries. In general, these publications are still playing catch up. I doubt many of them use RSS or other types of new, social media (though, to be honest, I haven't asked many of them).

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous David Meerman Scott said...

Nice to see some of the "New Rules of PR" in action. Good formatting, but I especially like the tags for del.icio.us and Digg. I hope people begin to send releases with this kind of added value data. I'd like to also see a trackback URL to the release so if someone blogs about the content of the release it will link back to the original press release. PRWeb has this facility, so if the release were sent through PRWeb that would be added automatically.

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Gillian Farquhar said...

I think this is very interesting.

However, smaller companies - that are still wrestling with just how important (and cost-effective) tools like blogs, podcasts, etc., are for their business to drive leads - may not be able to come close to replicating or even need to. These kinds of companies may seem like they're behind the times, but they're more the norm than not.

We're talking about companies with marketing departments of 10 or less and corporate communications "departments" of 1-2 for example.

Not to mention, how does this translate B2B? From an enterprise, for an enterprise.

All that said, I think it's a very smart looking template and likely useful in certain industries to certain media.

I'd like to see it applied for an emerging enterprise software (or hardware) client.

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Joe Chernov said...

Todd/SHIFT,

Good, healthy thinking here. CPR for PR [and no CPR isn't a new acronym, it's really intended to mean "cardiopulmonary resuscitation" (and yes, full disclosure, I had to Google "CPR acronym" to confirm exactly what the letters stood for)].

Question for you and your readers: Do you imagine advising willing clients to replace the traditional press release with this re-mix release, or would you suggest they issue two announcements?

Incidentally, I think David Meerman Scott brings up a valuable suggestion: trackbacks.

What'll be most interesting to see is if journalists embrace or reject this format. Their reaction will indicate which industry is more stuck in the morass of tradition: PR people or the journalists we annoy!

May 23, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Hi all -
Sorry for late reply; been in meetings (hitting the "publish" button on your comments surreptitiously, during the meetings!)

Lauren: Good suggestions; as noted it's a meant as a guide, not gospel, so anyone should feel free to re-organize as they see fit. Ultimately a "standard" format will likely develop, though. We don't want to confuse the media!

Daniel: I hear ya but as noted in the press release that we sent out: those niche media may not be into RSS and del.icio.us but they do surf the web and may appreciate the multimedia content & links provided by this format...?

David: I totally agree about Trackbacks but until popular blog platforms like Blogger and mainstream wire services like PRN get their act together, we were loathe to include this function. It was a tough call.

Gillian: Yep - this is bleeding edge stuff. For now! Many clients have expressed interest in this, though, so we hope it catches on over time.

Joe: If you check out the PR Newswire link above, I think you'd agree that it would not be necessary to issue 2 releases. This format also tends to look pretty nice in Word (for hardcopy). I loved your comment about which industry may be more "stuck in the morass"! Verrrry interesting.

Thanks also to the many people who have emailed me directly! Hopefully, there will be more to come on this front.

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Simon Wakeman said...

Hi Todd,

Thanks for this - it really crystallises how PR needs to change the game to take account of the way web 2.0 is evolving.

On a practical note I think in my marketing and PR work, the implementation will be bit by bit. Over time I'll get clients to add the different features that make up the template.

Eventually they'll get to the point where all the elements are in place as you envisage - although for some of them they'll always be playing catch-up (not that this is a bad thing as we need to remember that some journalists won't be as receptive to this approach as others - at least in the short time.

Great stuff - thanks!

sw

May 23, 2006  
Blogger PR Minority said...

PR folks and the media will eat it up but convincing clients to try this "Press Release 2.0." will be an interesting challenge.

May 23, 2006  
Blogger Kevin said...

Todd - It's great, but not surprising, to see you pushing forward with something new. As you well know, we need to blend the old and the new like this to create the most effective format. Please keep us posted on the results.

Now we just need to get the industry to improve its writing along with the format.

PR Minority - The challenge in my opinion is not getting clients to try the new format...it is in getting them to stop issuing releases without news. Poorly written news releases with little to no news value are what brought the format under fire in the first place.

May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Ike said...

A couple of things:

1) Why no sound? A couple of short .mp3's highlighting the reason why someone would want to use this.

2) You need a "printer friendly" version of your webpage incarnation. By that, I don't mean to knock your layout. It looks great. I'm talking about a "smart" document that fills in all the blanks. You know how some blogs have "peekaboo" comments that expand/contract when clicked? They are loaded with the page, but only appear when triggered. You could juice up some code that will reveal the stuff behind the links when the printer-friendly version is enabled. A lot of tech-savvy reporters still work for tree-killing editors.

3) Trackability. I'm not sure where you'd want to do this, but suppose for example that you've got three different links to access a quick video file. Use a .php link tracker, and start pulling in some internal data on which format and link style is more popular and user friendly. You're onto something here, but let's build in an internal metric that will inform you of the best way to tweak and improve.

You're right, though... I am interested...

May 23, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Ike, you're way more advanced on the tech side than I am, but I love your ideas. It's folks like you - with the expertise; and folks like Edelman - with the deep pockets - who will likely take this template to the next level.

I'm just here to spur the conversation, for now.

May 23, 2006  
Blogger Garrett French - MarketSmart Interactive said...

When I first saw the post title I thought you were having a go at our new media obsession.

As an industry watcher/analyst (oh fuck it - I'm a blogger) I found the press release you put out in that format very useful.

In this post I talk about adding search marketing elements to your new media-oriented press release (also cite Foremski):
http://www.searchenginelowdown.com/2006/04/creating-search-optimized-press.html

Nice work!

May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Shannon Whitley said...

In the world of ShareWare development, we have what's called a PAD file. It's basically a press release for software. The format is standard XML. You write the PAD file once and place it on a publicly available web server. Then you simply point the distribution services (wire services for software) to the PAD file. The services all know how to consume your PAD because it is based on a standard.

I think this template could easily be converted into something very similar. You'd write the press release once, place it on a server, and then point the wire services and online media to the address of the file. The wire services and online media would electronically process your file -- presumably saving a lot of time and money.

Does something like this already exist? If not, I'm interested in working on it.
Shannon

May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd and Shift:

Great job. This is very much in-line with what we at Bite and other agencies are working on. Very well done.

BT
bt@bitepr.com

May 24, 2006  
Blogger Mike Sacks said...

I think the template is great and will ultimately make info easier to access and digest. An important step forward, Todd. But how long until this format finds its way into common use? How many journalists, or people in general, have reached the level of web-saavy to know how to use it? How many PR pros know how to put it together? It could be a bit overwhelming at first.

Patience is a virtue. I'm sure everyone knows this will take a while.

May 24, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Shannon: No clue - sounds intriguing and I'd love to work with you on such a project.
BT: Thanks! Look forward to seeing what you guys are developing.
Mike: Agreed - it will take a while! Evolution, not Revolution, is the key to a viable idea.

All: If you are truly interested in how this develops, I urge you again to check out the "purpose-built" del.icio.us page. Lots of commentary captured there, along with my quickie reactions. To me, the ability to use tools like del.icio.us to show journalists any-and-all links, with notes that show-off the links' relevance and context to your pitch/press release, is as cool as anything else we're looking at here.

May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Dan Greenfield said...

Great idea. Time to shake things up.

How long will it take for companies to be ready to collaborate with their customers and create customer-written press releases that are posted on company websites -- similar to what advertisers are doing with user-generated ads?

PRICELESS!

May 26, 2006  
Blogger Chuck said...

I think this is a great idea and I'm going to promote it on my sites as soon as I can. It's so frustrating to receive a release on a very interesting topic/story and not be able to obtain things like logos, images, url's, and sometimes there's not even good contact information. I agree with the comment that a little audio would be valuable. Linking to audio or video spices up a post very nicely.

Way to go!

May 31, 2006  
Anonymous Almaju said...

Great Work, i had finish a spanish version!

Nota de Prensa Social Media

Para cualquier que se encuentre interesado!

June 02, 2006  
Blogger Susan said...

Hi Todd. I saw this item on Shel Holtz's blog and wanted to let you know I like this new idea and format for news releases. Good work, innovative and bound to generate lots of comments and further ideas.

I agree with Ike's suggestion of perhaps devising some sort of 'print friendly' version just as another option to encourage publication.

I'd be interested in knowing as well what kind of pickup or reaction you got to your PR Newswire posting? Did it work? Did you get any coverage or inquiries at least?

June 08, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Thanks for the kind words, Susan.
You can track blogosphere reactions at the del.icio.us page (link is in the right-hand nav-bar, under "BEST OF PR SQUARED" category).

Meanwhile PRNewswire tell us that about 700 journalists downloaded the template. A promising sign!?

June 08, 2006  
Anonymous David Meerman Scott said...

Hi Todd,

This week I am hosting a discussion on the IAOC blog on direct-to-consumer press releases. IAOC is the International Association of Online Communicators, a terrific organization that focuses on, well, online communications. Please take a look at the discussion and please jump in.

http://www.iaocblog.com/blog/_archives/2006/6/12/2025992.html

June 12, 2006  

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