Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 Ways To Use Press Releases with Social Media

Just read this great article on Forbes, Should You Post Press Releases In Social Media? - Forbes.  It touches on that great delineation between social media and Press Releases.  Most marketers shy away from Submitting a Press Release because for one, no one likes to write them, and they appear self serving. The question becomes, how do you blow the horn about a new product and still keep it conversational?

A recent digital readiness study shows "marketing decision makers knowledge of social networks (80%), blogging, podcasting and RSS (87%), and micro-blogging (72%) is either important or very important when it comes to PR and marking hiring."  

Social media of course, spreads messages; but only messages that have relevance, not self-serving ones. Authenticity along with a sprinkle of personality will get your messages shared more frequently.   Not like the bragging boy in the neighborhood, everyone ignores him, so will they ignore your press release if it isn't done properly.  So, to save you the embarrassment of shouting from the rooftop having no one listen, here are 10 ways to use press releases with social media.

  1. Develop relationships with influencers in Social Media.  These people can help spread your message while giving that message a viral boost. Also connect with the journalists, reporters, bloggers, and influencers who cover topics in your industry to share your press release in social media.  Start out by connecting on Twitter.  Use tools like TwitterGrader to find social influencers.
  2. Generate creative content as a networking tool.  Surely by now you know that content is king, so use it to ignite a spark to your social networking activity.  Relevant, creative content posted in a timely manner will give you a reputation as a thought leader and people will take notice of that.  Another advantage is the major SEO, social media, and lead generation benefits you get from it.  Make your content fun and interesting, while sometimes throwing in usable facts and statistics.  Social media sharing loves facts and statistics.  
  3. Have a goal and a focus on what you want social media to do and promote it using social media.  Conversational marketing works best to provoke curiosity.  Use a blog to write and talk about a specific product or service; integrate Twitter  to shout out the information throwing in an occasional relevant retweet; participate in conversations that relate to your topic.
  4. Be direct and to the point.  Don't beat around the bush, it cheapens the value of your message. Write your press release message from a newsworthy angle.  Be mindful that every product or event your company is involved in, is not always valuable to others.  Evaluate your social media message before you create a press release for it.  It may not be worth the time. 
  5. Use these tools to measure success or failure of your press release.  The only way you will know if your message is getting to the right people at the right time is by being able to make sense of the data social media activity generates.  Use this list of social media analytic tools to help you understand if your marketing is effective:  ViralHeat, Infoharmoni, Buzzstream, Twitalyzer, Omniture, Klout, Yahoo Pipes, Bime (for visual graphics), Google Analytics, and Compete.
  6. Use a descriptive headline with 80 characters or less to attract attention.  Anything headline lengthier will get cut off in social portal sites.  Keep in mind to keep your headline keyword rich so as to attract the search engines.  Eliminate shallow descriptions like, cutting-edge,” “flexible,” “easy-to-use,” “innovative”--these words will make your press release sound like a late night infomercial.
  7. Social media has a huge appetite for content, so feed it!  When adding links, place the most important link at the beginning of your message.  For the greatest opportunity to generate backlinks,  include the link to which you want to generate the most traffic early on in the press release.
  8. Don't make your press release a link dump.  Number one, search engines hate it, your intended audience will recognize it for it really is, a blatant attempt at promotion and it dilutes the value of your message. 
  9. Make your press release blog friendly so it may be repurposed into news content for your blog.  This is also an opportunity to create a link from your press release to your blog!
  10. And finally, always include social media links giving your readers the opportunity to share your press release with others on Facebook and Twitter.  
I hope this helps, let me know how you use social media to share your press releases, we'd love to read about it!