The social media release (SMR) is a press release that contains multimedia and social media elements. The point of it is to encourage writers, bloggers and other people to share the link or take the material from the press release to promote the event, company or individual featured in the SMR.
Most of my students were not familiar with a SMR. Recent survey research revealed that the majority (57.5%) of sampled bloggers (n=332) extracted from Text100, a global PR consultancy firm database said that they also had not been exposed to the technology.
At a minimum, the social media release should be optimized for search. It also can contain news items from a variety of social media platforms. SMR creators can embed content from multiple social media sites such as YouTube, Flickr and other sites. Most large-scale companies will likely have their own social media newsrooms, but a release is a useful first step in empowering the individual or smaller organization.
I teach both journalism and public relations students in my Online Media class. Students need to learn more than just how to create content. During this class experiment, journalism students learned that creating a release can be another way to promote their work and public relations students learned how easy it is to create a press release containing social media items.
The class assignment took some time to set up because most of the sites that claim to be free are not actually free or user-friendly. I found Presskit’n to be the best because it is free, it is easy to use, and it provides a URL. I wrote up instructions on how to create a SMR using it.
The SMR should contain social media and main contact(s), a suggested headline, core facts, a news summary, background information of person or organization, social media links, suggested tweet, suggested tags, suggested quotes, sharable visuals that follow photography and videography principles and a list of useful links.
My students created releases on topics such as a publication winning an award, a swimwear line, a non-profit organization, and the Arizona Humane Society. Overall, most students responded positively to the assignment. One student said, “I thought this project was an awesome experience. I had done press releases before this class, but none that were designed to be social media specific. After I posted the press release on my Facebook, I got quite a bit of feedback.” Many of the students said that they planned to continue to create SMRs in the future as well.