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5 quick and easy ways to make your press releases more social

Social NetworkingAnyone who’s ever written a press release knows it’s all about the one-two punch:  You want people to read your release, and you want them to act on what they’ve read in some way.  Whether the goal is to solicit media attendance at the grand-opening of your new corporate headquarters, announce the launch of a new line of kids’ organic clothing to generate online sales, or notify the public of contaminated deli meats, the intent of any press release is the same.  Social media has become a driving force in the way we create and publish news, so making press releases more social media friendly is a smart communications tactic.  It’s not difficult, and it opens the door for having your content seen, shared and acted upon by more people.

Here are 5 quick and easy ways to make your press releases more social:

  1. Tweet, Facebook and blog your release.  Tweeting the headline of your press release is by far one of the easiest ways to socialize your content.  Twitter’s 140-character environment is tailor-made for headlines and if yours is well-written, then it’s just waiting to be tweeted and re-tweeted.  (Great example:  2012 Miss America Contestants Create Pre-Pageant Pancake Pandemonium in Las Vegas.)  Ditto for Facebook, but remember, don’t just copy-and-paste the entire contents of your release onto your Facebook page; post a few key points, a photo or a quote from the release.  You can always provide a link to the full text.  And don’t forget to re-purpose your release content into a blog post.  You’ve already done the heavy lifting to create a great communications piece, so be sure to take that content and blog it.   
  2. Use multimedia posted to YouTube, Flickr, and other sharing sites. For years, marketers have known the power of photos, video and other multimedia assets to help tell a story and support the body copy of their press releases.  Executive interviews, high-resolution product shots, customer testimonials and other multimedia used in your releases help provide context to your content, and give your readers a chance to interact with more than just words.  When you post video and photos to a social sharing site like YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr, you give your audience the chance to comment on your content and share it with others.  Of course, not every video turns out to be viral, but posting content to these sites and linking to it from your press release creates great social opportunities. 
  3. Post to your social newsroom.  More and more organizations are building an online newsroom into their website as a multi-purpose hub for posting news coverage, FAQs, corporate backgrounders and press releases.  Equipped with RSS feeds, links to the organizations’ Twitter, Facebook and other social channels, these newsrooms do more than just display one-dimensional news — they let readers interact with the content that’s posted, subscribe to news alerts and other updates, and keep engaged with the company.  Be sure not to overlook posting your press releases to your newsroom.  (TIP:  If you want to take more control of your company’s newsroom by creating a ‘content destination’ for your customers and the media, Marketwire’s EasySuite 2.0 is your answer.)

  4. Take your readers somewhere.  A hyperlink is a powerful thing in a press release.  Not only is it important to your SEO and keyword strategies, but it’s an incredibly effective way to give your readers something or take them somewhere with a simple click.  You can incorporate links in your release that drive traffic to a specific marketing campaign landing page or online product demo.  You can drive them to your social media channels, too.   Here’s a great example of a press release from KFC that directs readers to their Facebook page and gives them a coupon for a free sandwich: KFC Offers Canada a “Zinger” of a Deal.  (Tip:  Remember…all of this activity is measureable.  Marketers rejoice!) 
  5. Make use of the “share” functionality with your distributed press release.   When you use a professional distribution service for your press release, you often have the option to embed your release with sharing functionality so that people who read your release online can share it with others in their social networks immediately and directly from the release.

The explosion of digital content and social media has certainly turned the communications world on its head and redefined media relations, but it’s also given rise to new opportunities for audience engagement and new ways for PR and marketing folks to use press releases.  

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