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Are news releases social?

Some say press releases are dead; others counter press releases aren’t dead.   Still others offer new names for the press release:  news releases, multimedia release, and social media release, for example.

There are many view points with merit on the topic.  For example, Lou Dubois of Inc. Magazine wrote an interesting article on this very topic called, How to Write a Social Media Press Release. We offered a few thoughts in the comments, and are re-posting them here for discussion.

1) Releases aren’t “social.” It may seem counterintuitive, but we don’t believe releases are social per se, they are rich with multimedia and have social sharing elements. It may seem nuanced but the important point that gets confused – people with successful social traffic on releases first write great content and second put the leg work into building their relationships before asking for a favor: a page read.  Here are a few good examples of small businesses using social media and releases.

2) Multimedia = more time with readers. Multimedia is important to tell your story – a picture is worth a 1,000 words and video a million – but we have empirical research that indicates multimedia can increase key performance indicators like time on page. We found that readers spent on average about 30 seconds longer with releases that had multimedia vs. those that did not. In a world where Google’s CEO says we create more content every two days than we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003, 30 seconds is like an eternity.

3) Multimedia = SEO value. Multimedia also has search marketing value – it is one more piece of content for search engines to index and another (visual) channel for customers to find your release. A good example of taking this to the next level is when online news distribution service PRWeb partnered with Photobucket earlier this year. Photobucket is perhaps one of the largest of its kind in the US with 22 million users.

4) Diplomatic approach to bloggers. PR pros and small businesses alike know that pitching bloggers can at times be dicey. They are not all as accustom to receiving pitches like a veteran journalist might. Small businesses without an expertise in PR might find pitching bloggers daunting. So PRWeb partnered with Zemanta to help enable them. Zemanta is a tool bloggers use while writing their posts – Zemanta’s engine suggests links to bloggers as additional resources and PRWeb’s releases are often included.

5) Releases can and do drive small business sales. Barbra Kantor, for example, is an entrepreneur by necessity after the recession swallowed her retirement. She launched an ecommerce shop selling gear through Amazon.com last holiday season and took a risk: she started using PRWeb releases to promote her products online. Shopping cart search engines and bloggers took note, and referred traffic to her products on Amazon. She made the top 10 list on Amazon for its “outdoor gear” category last year and soon Amazon approached her about buying wholesale.

What are your thoughts?  Agree or disagree?  News release, press release or social media release?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
The best day to send a PRWeb press release
5 Tips to Optimize Your News Release for New Media
News Flash! Press Releases Aren’t Just for the Media Anymore

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