Social Media 2.0 New News Releases

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

It was two years ago that I came across the Social Media Press Release and Newsroom template. At the time it was innovative and truly the standard that businesses and news organization have should strived to achieve at the time. Making your news searchable and even news-worthy is key, it’s also crucial to engage your audience and allow them to share and become a part of what they’re reading.

The NakedPR posts I linked to back then still hold water today. One of my faves is, “Your Target Audience Hates You, Here’s Why“:

Are you a fun, hip, and trendy online business? Then why does your site look like something that predates my grandmother? Again, it’s all about image. Forget about marketing for a minute, and worry about how you look in the eyes of others, especially in regards to the target audience’s expectations going in. You’d better meet… no, exceed, those expectations if you want your target market to love you, keep coming back, spending money, giving you traffic, clicking your ads, etc.[NakedPR]

I admit, that’s mostly about content and image but it works in many other ways that news delivery services should attempt to follow. I wrote a post a year ago about how PR professionals and newswires just didn’t seem to “get it”.

By “it” I mean using social media tools to help engage your audience, distribute your news and get the most exposure. I once worked with a group of PR professionals and was rather willing to share all of my knowledge on the topic, but it fell on deaf ears. Now years later, newswires are realizing how valuable these practices are, however instead of embracing the technology and admitting they’re jumping on the bandwagon, suddenly they’re the innovators.

I read a press release the other day from Marketwire where they announced their new and innovative way to issue press releases. This being the same company that had a Digg account in 2006 and spammed it thousands of times a day, while charging clients to do so. Their release must have used the words “social media” and “2.0” about 100 times within a few paragraphs – an obvious attempt at SEO brownie points I would imagine.


I’m not the only one put off my Marketwire’s attempt to be a hip and trendy newswire, or the fact that they claim ownership on this new fandangled “social media” model the kids are talking about these days.

Not that I have anything against pushing the envelop – rather, what I found curious was the claim that Social Media 2.0 is the “most authentic social media product.” …If you were to ask ten different so-called social media experts to define social media, you would get ten varying responses… We are talking about a movement that has been pushed forward by a global community of academics, innovators, industry professionals – that is still relatively undefined and amorphous. It is however a collaborative movement, and I think it is wrong for anyone to claim ownership over it. [NewInfluencer]

The Co-Founder of the Social Media Club, Chris Heuer, chimed in on the post above, in its comments section.

…”Not only is Social Media 2.0 just silly, but to claim to be the most authentic anything is ludicrous. This is a classic case of “marketers gone wild” not only baring their chests, but showing us they’re nutz too.”

…”the marketers on this really screwed the pooch by engaging with hyperbole and misappropriating very important words, it did not seem as if it was done with authenticity.”

I’ve never met Chris Heuer but I respect his opinions especially when he calls out to companies like this: “Please, oh please, won’t you folks at MarketWire just come talk to us about these things – we would love to have you join our conversation rather than try to start a new one that claims innovation where there is so much prior effort.”

Another site describes Social Media 2.0 as the “CCST” (short for “the Communications Career Suicide Template”) and there are some other reviews that are more balanced.

Perhaps the best and most constructive advice in general that I can pass along comes from Capulet’s “Getting to First Base” eBook. This Social Media Ready guidebook explains the ins and outs of marketing to a web-savvy audience and it also lets you know how NOT to piss off a blogger, but to use that medium to your advantage. Also, there is definitely more to social media than simply getting a blogger’s attention (although that does help).

Click to view “Blog in Plain English” from CommonCraft

I’m pretty sure Marketwire missed the mark and the fact that Second Life is a distribution point makes me wonder as well… do people still go there? I don’t know, but the fact that in the sidebar of the Social Media 2.0 release there is a box to look up how many “Technorati’s” there are “on your release”, just makes me shake my head and laugh.

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Tod MaffinTuesday, February 12th, 2008 — 9:31am PST

    Here’s my take on what should be the next rev of a news release:

  2. JohnTuesday, February 12th, 2008 — 10:13am PST

    I’ve never understood the appeal of Second Life as a marketing tool beyond a simple in-game ad which certainly wouldn’t make me want to seek it out within the game…and this is from someone that ‘gets it’ (at least I think I do) and from someone that has played online games FAR too much (2 year tour of WoW duty among others).

  3. DarrenTuesday, February 12th, 2008 — 1:33pm PST

    +1 on all of that, and thanks for the pluggage.

    I’ve never really been keen on the whole notion of the social media press release, because it implies non-personalized broadcasting.

    When I have a story to pitch, whether it’s to bloggers or the mainstream media, I customize each email (or whatever) I send. There’s always going to be content that’s the same, or similar, but that’s never the whole message.

    If there are resources that people need, I get the client to write a blog post and/or we create a ‘social media resources page’ (though I don’t actually call the page that awful name) which has all of the video, photos, product info et al that a journalist or blogger might want.

  4. Chris HeuerWednesday, February 13th, 2008 — 12:53pm PST

    The original point of the Social Media Release was not as a point of communicating to the influencers insomuch as it was to become a trusted point of information distribution and enabling that information to be more easily socialized (shared and found). The place where people could know they get the full facts and through which it connects with other places where people want to share that information, with their own take/analysis on the ‘news’.

    So many folks are interpreting the ‘words’ Social Media Release without checking into the intention – this has made this conversation very fractured and created further confusion, but this is the challenge of conversation over control, and I am glad we are having it despite the frustration. Unfortunately, many other people are misappropriating the idea and leveraging the larger meme to their own advantage for helping them sell their products to the unaware professionals who are trying to figure out the broader issues involved in social media. The idea has never been to simply replace the old school press release with a new format that would be used in the same way as before – it has always been about transforming the practice of public relations to better serve the interests of the client and the community they serve in light of technological and social advancements in communication.

    Will be glad to talk about this next week at Northern Voice further… see you soon.

  5. littleblackduckWednesday, February 13th, 2008 — 6:11pm PST

    They lost me on “workflow solutions provider”. WTF is that? (speaking as someone who knows full well what line of business they’re in) Then, as you point out, there’s references to either 2.0 or ‘social media’ like so much blog spam, not to mention the scrambled layout. Which is odd, since in general their website’s not bad.
    The weirdest thing is that neither 2.0 or ‘social media’ appear in their keyword cloud, but ’embedded’ and ‘america’ do? At least they’re trying, but still…
    I’ve meant to blog along these lines myself (I’ve been lazy lately), but news releases and social media and x number of hits and links means nothing if people can’t be bothered to read the actual content.

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