Social Media Press Release: The Next Step (an HTML template)
If you’ve been following the PR world of late, you know that the social media press release (SMPR) has gotten a lot of attention. This update of the stodgy old press release tries to blend social networking, rich media and text into a single, self-updating landing page for the media.
It’s a compelling idea. One place where the media and your customers could stay up to date regarding a key story.
A Great Idea, But No HTML Template?
Todd announced a template for it last year. My only complaint about it is the fact that the template is in PDF, leaving us all to write our own HTML [you can download it here].
You can use a service like PRX to generate and publish your SMPR. But then the final product isn’t on your site – it’s on someone else’s. But that’s not always the best solution (see Shannon’s correction below, in comments).
What we need is an open HTML template – a starting point for all of our SMPR projects. And one that’s portable, so that we can use it on our own sites.
An HTML Social Media PR Template
I just finished my first stab at an HTML template (it’s actually in XHTML). You can download the whole thing as a ZIP file here [download], or get a look at it here [preview].
It’s a basic framework, with CSS, the RSS feed and the like all included.
The template is wide-open: Do with it what you will. All I ask is that you send me any refinements, so we can continue improving it.
Creating Your SMPR
Using the template is pretty straightforward:
- Write out your headline, and the core news facts. A good headline still matters most!
- Collect any images relating to the story. These might include product shots, pictures of people or places involved or other relevant imagery.
- Upload the images to Flickr. You’ll need to create a free account.
- Tag all of the photos using a single, unique tag.
- Collect any video or audio files, as well.
- Upload the videos to YouTube or another video sharing service.
- Upload the audio to the server of your choice.
- Download the social media press release template here.
- Insert your headline and core news facts.
- On Flickr, create a badge to display all of your images. You can create a badge that pulls images of a single tag, or in a single collection. You can also control the look and feel.
- Insert your videos.
- Set up a bookmark page on del.icio.us. Bookmark any related news, other press releases you’ve put out about this subject or any other relevant information. Then replace the link that reads “Or visit the del.icio.us feed” with yours.
- Add quotes and any related links, as well as your company boilerplate.
- Update the other links on the page to point at your site, and to any legal or privacy statements. Also update the contact information at the top.
- Finally, if you’re up for it, use storyfeed.rss as a guide to create an RSS feed for the press release.
- Upload everything to your web site.
Get the Word Out
Here’s how you can get the word out, once you’ve uploaded the press release.
- Link to it from your home page. This one’s obvious, but worth a reminder. Feature your new press release on your home page.
- Send out a standard press release. You can send out a standard release using wire services, and link to the social media press release. That’ll get the press involved.
- Do some blogger outreach. Use Google Blog Search to find related blogs. Write an e-mail to each blogger letting them know about the story. Bloggers want news. If you notify them once and don’t pester, they’ll give it a look.
- Stumble it. Be sure to ‘stumble’ the press release using StumbleUpon.
- Announce the social media release in any other online communities you frequent.
- Use pay per click. If your story warrants it, buy a few pay per click ads on services like Google Adwords. If, for example, your press release deals with a new product, a PPC ad could bring prospective customers and reporters.
- Ping. Your press release has an RSS feed, remember? Be sure to ping the major RSS search tools and services, such as Technorati and Feedburner.
- Update. A social media press release isn’t supposed to be static. Add new links, upload new photos, add bookmarks to del.icio.us and update the RSS feed, pinging services with each update.
A Work In Progress
The social media press release is a very new concept. I can’t even say if it’s going to become a standard. But it’s a great way to aggregate many different kinds of information in one place.
If you want inspiration, here are a few examples. They vary a lot, and provide a nice range of ideas:
2008 Ford Focus
Coke Virtual Thirst
Cisco Social Media Release
If you have improvements, or changes, post them here. I’ll update the template as often as possible.