We’ve been saying for a while that interesting, shareable content is at the heart of social media. Have you ever considered using press releases as a content source?
There’s no rule that says only journalists are privy to press releases, or that you have to squirrel them away in some tiny corner of your website. After all, it’s timely and (hopefully) newsworthy – your customers may be interested in them, too.
The challenge, though, is that a standard press release can be a bit of a snore for non-media folks, especially when you consider the typical online surfer who’s used to consuming quick bites of information with lots of “oh look, shiny!” distractions.
You can help maintain interest by adding more interactive, social media-friendly elements to your published press announcements. Here are three ways to “socialize” a press release:
1. Show, Don’t Tell
A study by PR Newswire last year found that multimedia releases – press releases that included photos, videos, infographics, logos, etc. – were shared 3.5 times more often than text-only releases. Additionally, they found that multimedia content had a longer “shelf life,” holding readers’ interest for more than twice as long as their text-only counterparts. And, if someone wants to cover your news, he or she instantly has creative assets for the article, too.
Don’t have a video or slideshow for every announcement? Don’t worry, many of us don’t. But even something as simple as your company logo or a couple of product photos can be a welcome visual addition to break up copy.
2. Sharing is Caring
One of the easiest things to implement is a “Share This” bar to each release. This has become so ubiquitous with written content that readers almost expect it, and your press announcements are no exception. Plus, you get analytics to see what news gets the most interest. We use a free tool called AddThis on this blog, as well as our website and press page.
3. Links are Your Friends
If you’re directing press and non-press people to your posted release, they might not immediately know how to navigate around your site if they want more information.
An easy way to solve this problem is to add a “For more information” section at the end of your press release, with links to relevant product pages and/or previous announcements. Say you’re a winery and just posted a press release about your latest chardonnay. You might want to link to previous press releases about your older chard vintages, as well as your chardonnay- or white wine-specific product page on your website. The idea is to create a pleasant user experience for your readers, wherever they happen to come from.
There’s no doubt that social media is changing the PR industry, and the biggest players are taking note. Press release distribution services like PR Newswire and PRWeb are placing more emphasis on online visibility and social media, putting more resources and technology toward online news distribution, multimedia libraries and search engine optimization (SEO). But it’s not just the big guys who are able to leverage the power of social; you can, too!
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