The Rise of Social Media Press Releases

77104_509809602408423_435631508_n

The Rise of the Social Media Press Release

Yesterday I visited a Facebook group in which I’m a member. I was somewhat taken aback when I read a post that started –

“Social media has forever changed how nonprofits and journalists distribute and consume news stories, yet the format of press releases has not evolved at all. Almost every communication medium out there has been impacted by the rise of social and mobile media, but not press releases.” (11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable)

Well, I know I’ve been creating and posting social media releases (SMR) and releases that are Search Engine Optimized (SEO) since 2009 when I managed The Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore.

And, I’m far from the first!

Then I remembered the post The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases by Brian Solis, written February 11, 2008.

The blog covers a lot of information about the creation of SMR and the evolution of press release wires and includes a description of what an SMR should include:

  • Headline
  • Intro paragraph, rich with key words, relevance and context (summary)
  • Supporting facts
  • Quote
  • Embeddable Video (The new VNR)
  • Embeddable Audio
  • Embeddable Images
  • RSS for the organization’s news
  • RSS for product/services info
  • Post in “insert social network of choice”
  • Blog this (links to blogging platforms)
  • Share on Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
  • Bookmarks
  • Relevant links
  • Digg, Reddit, and other relevant news aggregators and communities
  • Comments – Maybe also include a link to a hosted network on Ning or even a discussion forum
  • Contact: hcard, vcard, Linked, Facebook

I use a national or local release distribution service, depending on the scope of the release. All have templates in which you input your press release and include ways to ensure that they are SEO and SMR.

I love using the Atlanta Daybook for local news releases. They have direct reach into the newsrooms, corporate headquarters and nonprofits in my target market.

Once the release is posted I encourage members of the organization to share with their organizational partners and personal networks.

I also send my releases pasted to the face of a personalized email. When I do this I:

  • Keep everything flush left, including the header, sub-head, organization’s logo and contact information
  • Follow the classic pyramid with the most relevant information in the 1st paragraph
  • Ensure that the subject line has all the relevant information & piques interest in the release
  • Use keywords in the header and subhead
  • Hyperlink the name of the organization, project and/or event to the organization’s website in the 1st paragraph
  • Use a relevant quote in the third paragraph
  • Link details of relevant information back to the organization’s website
  • Provide a link to usable JPEG files housed in the website press room
  • Add a link to the website in the boilerplate
  • Add contact info to the bottom of the release
  • Post the release in the organization’s press room, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feed, blog and whatever social media platforms they use.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Read through the suggestions in 11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable and see which suggestions will work with your organization. Also checkout Marketwire’s Tips for Entering Your Nonprofit into the Social Media Environment and PRWeb’s Nonprofit News Release Services. You’ll find good information and some excellent examples of nonprofit social media releases.

Remember, no matter how social and shareable your release is, be sure that the information is relevant and worthy of distribution and creating positive conversations between your organization and your target markets. And, don’t forget that to have ‘real’ people follow up and respond to queries from the media and bloggers.

Any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you!

Increasing Attendance with Social Media

Your special event is planned. Now, the critical question is – how do you  increase your attendance?

Everyone points to the benefits of social media to drive your attendance. Social media is a vehicleyou use to enact your strategy. You can increase the value of your special event by integrating social media into your marketing strategy.

But, before you develop your strategy, ask yourself these questions developed by Stacey Ruth, a marketing consultant with Atlanta-based Actio Marketing :

  1. Are your attendees active in any of the social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or blogs/forums)?
  2. Do you have an awareness problem, and are you trying to reach large number of attendees quickly (and perhaps inexpensively)?
  3. Do you have someone on your team with enough time on their hands to populate a social media site effectively? (That means building content that can be pushed out every day in most cases.)
  4. Do you have knowledge (or access to someone with knowledge) of best practices for the social media platform you want to apply? Social media is not an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. There is a definite approach to each social network that is uniquely effective — and any number of approaches that are equally ineffective!
  5. Would you like to build an extended life to your event and create a community around it? 

If you answered yes to more than one of the above questions, social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, is worth integrating into your event marketing strategy. However, don’t overlook the value of tried-and-true ‘social media’ platforms including Word Of Mouth marketing or WOMM.

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), is an unpaid form of oral or written promotion—in which satisfied “customers” or your organization’s ambassadors tell other people how much they like your nonprofit and invite them to participate in your event. Word-of-mouth is one of the most credible forms of advertising because people who don’t stand to gain personally by promoting something put their reputations on the line every time they make a recommendation, according to Entrepreneur.

Bottom line – know your audiences before you invest the time and energy as part of your event marketing strategy. Use your social media strategy as a way to involve your board and volunteers.

Any questions about specific social media vehicles to use for your event? Be sure and contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.

The Rule of One – Planning Al Gore Event

A Full House at the Eizenstat Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore. Photo Credit Chris Savas

A Full House at the Ahavath Achim Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore. Photo Credit Chris Savas

The key to a successful event is planning. One of the first steps is goal-setting.

Goals establish the scope of an event and help the event team set priorities and stay focused. They are the basis for benchmarking progress along the way.

Remember the Rule of One – You can only have one top priority. You need to be specific about what your number one priority is and what goals go along with that. You can have secondary or auxiliary goals as well, but only one main focus.” – Jeff Shuck, Event 360, Inc.

Non-profit events focus on raising money or awareness. Once you establish your primary goal, be sure it is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Metrics help you measure your outcomes. And, each goal has its own set. Possible money metrics include, total funds raised, ROI, or an increase in revenue from the last special event.

Raising awareness metrics include the number of new participants and/or volunteers, media impressions or increased name recognition.

Once the goal is set it should guide your budget, timeline, promotions and sponsorships.

The focus of  the Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore was to increase awareness.

Was the event successful? Absolutely!

“This year’s Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture raised the bar even higher for future AA events. We plan to reach those heights and beyond.”  – Ahavath Achim Synagogue President

I hope this post helps guide your focus and leads to success in your next special event.

Lessons from Al Gore

“If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go!”

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

What sage advise from the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

There is an old African proverb that says, “if you want to go quickly go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

We have to go far, quickly. – Al Gore

My next post describes the planning and execution of the 21st Annual Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring The Honorable Al Gore. More than 3000 people joined us for this extraordinary evening.

The success was the result of planning, planning & more planning to figure out which way we were going.

So, please join me so we can figure out how to go far, quickly — together.