Whether we like it or not, social media is changing how we do business. In my field – public relations – it certainly has an impact. Social media is not just for bloggers and geeks anymore; it’s taking over the world of journalism as well.
With newspapers losing circulation as more and more people get their news online, journalism is shifting to the Web. As a public relations professional, it’s my job to make journalists’ job easier no matter what they’re writing (as long as they say good things about us, of course). A lot of aspects of social media do just that.
I came to the conclusion a couple of months ago that this is something we must get more involved in, as it’s where the field of journalism (and therefore public relations) is moving – and fast. I wasn’t an expert, but dove right into it and got to work on creating our very first social media release, which we issued just recently.
Originally intended for bloggers, this variation of a traditional news release gives readers all they need for a story in one place – a news release, news highlights, quotes, downloadable photos and charts, multimedia, links to related sites, background information, and pretty much anything else that is relevant.
We modeled it after the original creator of the social media news release – Shift Communications (Download PDF here) – and then customized the parts to fit our specific needs. We’re still missing a few parts (are Technorati tags that important, and what the heck are they anyway? Should we use Swicki?), but we’ll add features as we determine their usefulness.
We’re in the trial and error stage of development when it comes to these types of news releases, but so far so good. We’re planning to do more of them in the future to complement our media outreach and we’re learning as we go.