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, itâ€™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 audienceâ€™s expectations going in. Youâ€™d better meetâ€¦ 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 â€œmost authentic social media product.â€ …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 â€œmarketers gone wildâ€ not only baring their chests, but showing us theyâ€™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, wonâ€™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 Templateâ€) 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).
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.