There’s always a tremendous amount of discussion around the Social Media Release (SMR). I still have executives asking me about its value, whether is it necessary to use, if it the SMR should replace a traditional release and the list goes on. I remember in 2007 when I first interviewed Phil Gomes, SVP of Edelman Digital, in my book PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences , he knew that the SMR was a useful tool for all companies, not just technology firms. I agree with Phil and have been using the SMR with great results.
Of course, you have to know when to use an SMR or whether or not another form of news release best suits your story. Brian and I talked a lot about the various types of releases in our book Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR. Chapter 8 in the book was devoted to the SMR and other types of releases leading up to this new shiny object. We touched on traditional releases, customer focused releases, SEO releases and of course SMRs.
I believe that the SMR is one of the greatest breakthroughs in PR because it really helps professionals to craft a better and more customized story for the people they we want to reach. The SMR complements the traditional or SEO release by combining many the newsworthy facts with digital assets that are interactive and viral in a social community. Of course, SMRs are not going to fix a poorly written story and they are definitely not about presenting hype, spin or BS in a new, cleverly developed template.
One personal example of SMR success was the launch of mine and Brian’s book. By using this powerful communications tool, we could see the results instantaneously. We were very pleased with how the SMR facilitated direct conversations through the many sharing tools offered in the template.
For the book launch, we developed the SMR through PitchEngine. We also had a traditional announcement that was released by Pearson Education announcing that Putting the Public Back in Public Relations had hit the major bookstore shelves. The SMR complemented that release and within minutes of posting it to PitchEngine’s PitchFeed, we could see the results; heavy traffic to the PFS Marketwyse website, a huge spike and direct book sales through my PR 2.0 Strategies blog.
Here are a few of the results. Based on the average site traffic 30 days prior to posting the SMR our site, traffic increased dramatically on the PFS Marketwyse site, with a 433% spike in traffic on the day of the announcement and 1100% the day after. You can click here to see the full case study results on PitchEngine.
With respect to sharing, we tracked the day we shared the announcement up to a week afterward on our book’s Facebook fan site and on Twitter. We had 86% of our traffic coming from those social networks. Only about 10% of the site traffic was from the traditional PR distribution methods.
The SMR is a great sharing tool to ignite conversations and to build one-on-one relationships. Many of our initial conversations that stemmed from the launch release led to great opportunities including blog interviews, book reviews, radio interviews and numerous webinars, teleseminars and speaking engagements booked in 2009.
Of course this is only one example of the success of an SMR. What are your experiences with the SMR and has the use of this communications tool been successful in your PR efforts?