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Tom Foremski

Die Press Release, Die Die Die

A Social Media News/Press Release is not meant to “stand alone.”  It is meant to suppliment your mainstream press release, not replace it.  The SMR combines flexible formatting options with a tagging standard. It becomes more user-friendly and useful by allowing the advantages of the linking, multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web.

The goal is to make business news usable by online reporters and bloggers. According to Brian Solis, a Social Media Release (SMR) “should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent.”

The thing that started all the hoopla about defining and setting up some type of form or standard was an article written by reporter Tom Foremski in his blog post “Die Press Release, Die Die Die.” In it, he basically says that all he needs from an SMR is the facts. He is sick of reading the spin because he is the writer, and that is his job.  Basically, he is much like the detectives on the old Dragnet television show.  He wants, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Recently, I viewed a Webinar from PR Daily that covers this topic  thoroughly. The host, Michael Sebastian, who is managing editor of PR DailyWeb hosted a show entitled, The Basics: How to Produce a Social Media News Release.  His guest was Shel Holtz, ABC and principal of Holtz Communication and Technology.

He explained that this caused Chris Heuer, the founder of The Social Media

Neville Hobson & Shel Holtz

Club, took the intiative to have the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) assume the leadership role in the standardization of the Social Media News Release.

The SMR Working  Group of IABC to Date includes:

Current members:

  • Chris Heuer, founder, Social Media Club and principal, The Conversation Group
  • Tom Foremski, journalist
  • Shannon Whitley
  • Brian Solis
  • Shel Holtz, ABC

Those who have recently joined after receiving an IABC invitation are:

  • Laura Sturaitis, Business Wire
  • Jiyan Wei, PRWeb
  • Dan Zarella, social media consultant
  • Todd Van Hoosear, communicator and social media practitioner
  • David Parmet, public relations counselor
  • Jason Ryan, New Zealand public sector communicator.

Todd Defren at Shift Communications released the first template of a Social Media Release.  Although Foremski suggested bullets as a quick way to find the information, Holz says that you don’t have to include bullets if you don’t think your audience likes them or you are not comfortable using them.  Basically, he says you just need to include the core elements.  He lists these as being:

  • Multimedia: Images, Audio, Slide sharing (PowerPoint), and Video.
  • Quotes (Tip: worthwhile to subdivide quotes from 3rd party quotes. ex: CEO/Customer/Advisor
  • Research Aids (ex. Technorati Tags, Links to related content
  • Contact information
  • Boilerplates

Holz says that there are three ways in which you can produce an AMNR.  They are:

  • Do It Yourself: He himself codes in Html as he is writing.  If you are not proficient in that, you can always use a Web content managing system….a blogging platform(ex. WordPress, Blogger) to make this a lot easier.  It just needs to be clean, simple and utilitarian for your audience.
  • SMNR Services:  There are many out there for you to use. Pitch Engine has a template. All you have to do is copy and paste your content or type it in from scratch.
  • Links to sharing sites.

The bottom line is that when preparing a Social Media Release, you shouldn’t try to write showy, eye catching dialog. That is the job of the writer, whether that is a blogger, a reporter, or another journalist. Watch the following video from RealWire, a press release distribution company who  gives a quick rundown of the effective SMR.

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E-Mail

PR blogger and owner of Public Relations Project LLC Claire Celsi recently wrote an article about the successful email pitch. She uses a sample of a good email pitch that she recently received and points out why it is good.

  1. Spell correctly the name of the person to whom you’re addressing the email.
  2. Mentioning the business/organization/news outlet the person is connected with. Both #1 & #2 are easily found by Googling the person. It is crucial that you take time to research each person you’re sending the pitch to. If you don’t have time to do that, you’re spamming too many people.
  3. Find out who writes about the kind of story you’re pitching, and pitch the email to them.  Then, offer your company as an ongoing resource, and give the name of a “real” person to contact.
  4. Make sure the email is informative, factual and full of good information. Include a link that will take the reporter to the correct page with the information promised.
  5. Do not use a “News Release” format to transmit information! This is called a “pitch email” and is highly effective because it is: on target with what the blogger writes about, personalized and researched and explanatory.

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Project Management

All organizations use projects as the way to explicate techniques into action and goals into realities.  Many companies live and breathe project management because it is the nature of their business.  Some of these businesses include construction, aerospace, engineering design, consulting, and so on.  Organization around projects is a way of life since almost all senior staff members have worked their way through the ranks; the top management comprehends what it takes to be successful in a project.  Even lesser project–concentrated companies such as food, retailing and textiles still have projects that they deal with periodically.

PR organizations/businesses have one “project” after another.  Project management is a skill set that PR leaders can use in their organizations to deal with the high-growing and fast-changing business environment with increased access rates and compliance, and decreased uneasiness and expense.  Statistics show that exceptional project management can make a project lucrative while deficient project management can ruin your efforts, wasting money and time.  Bringing into play Project Management for the application of tactics and facilitating goals can supply a PR organization with:

  • Gain through achievement of goals in a timely manner
  • Competitive edge invigorated by refinement of implementation, teamwork and customer satisfaction
  • Provides better flexibility, especially to small and mid-sized organizations
  • Upgraded and better risk assessment is available when your team is united and ready to go and your tactics are in place.  Possible weaknesses will become obvious.  Project management allows you to be alerted to problems before you begin the project completion.

While PR business professionals may not approach Project Management as other organizations might, it is still essential in bringing the project to fruition in a timely and porductive manner.  As a PR professional climbs the business ladder, these skills will prove more than beneficial.  They will become essential in the successful completion of many projects.

If you’d like to learn more about Project Management, read Tony Bates’ article, or check out Buzzle.  Another interesting article is found on Project Smart.

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At a recent South By Southwest conference held in Austin, Texas, Becky Johns picked up a few vibes on what may become the next trends affecting PR Pro’s. Here are four that seemed to be creating a buzz at the conference.

1. Group texting. Johns says this is the most widespread phenomenon that she and many others were participating in. Small groups were sharing with each other via texting. In this setting where travel wasn’t an issue, it was mostly used to set up places to meet, etc. Prominent apps for group messaging included GroupMe and Beluga. Johns foresees these apps as possibly replacing email and Facebook in the future.

2.  Hashable. Many people use this app to network.  It bills itself as “a way to exchange business cards, make easy intro’s and ‘check in’ with people to track meetings and calls.”

3. Name your price deals. There was a lot of talk about Zaarly. The company describes it as “a proximity based, real-time buyer-powered market. Buyers make an offer for an immediate need, and sellers cash in on an infinite marketplace for items and services they never knew were for sale.” Basically, it’s a place where a “buyer” lists what they’re willing to pay for something and the “sellers” seek out the business.

4.  Smaller is better. No one was “into” the big events, preferring the smaller conversations groups and panels that were set up for RSVP’ed people only. The trend towards reaching larger groups seems to be lessening as people are beginning to look for keeping communities “niche-focused and active.”

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