Saturday, June 30, 2007

PR Redux

The onslaught continues! It seems no bastion of the traditional marketing world is safe from progressive thinking! The unassuming "press release", the workhorse of public relations since time immemorial, is the latest to fall victim to the influence of the subversive seduction of the two-dot-oh world. I was recently hit with the term Social Media Releases (SMRs) from Brian Solis' post 'Social Media Release - 'Everything you ever Wanted to (or Should) Know' . As far as I can tell, this meme was coined a year ago by Todd Defren of Shift Communications.

Basically it's press release and blog post mashup - it lies somewhere in the middle. SMRs provide a way to package a story so that other people (publishers and bloggers) can take it and make it their own. SMRs leverage social tools like digg, and Technorati and can allow comments like a blog post so readers can respond. Here's a great example of how HP is packaging their SMRs - you can also download a template from Shift Communications here.

This was interesting to me for a few reasons:

- First: It continues on the trend of pull content (vs. push). With SMRs you just put it out there and leave it up to your audience to find it and use it (rather than try to sell them or 'pitch' them the content).
- Second: As a marketer, I'm always looking for the medium to fit the message and this gives me a brand new option. With some focused testing, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out which messages are best for traditional PR and which can benefit most from SMR.
- Third: Used correctly, this is far more likely than your vanilla press release to create a viral effect. Giving people the power of taking your most timely 411 a-la-carte will make it easier for them to consume, process, and re-distribute.

I'm no expert in SMRs by any means but I am going to work with my PR team to make sure they start considering it for future announcements.


Bill Rolland said...

I understand the idea of allowing media to configure information to suit their needs (pull vs. push), but I think that overlooks the media's inherent laziness (not in the bad way, in the overworked and overwhelmed way).

Mostly, I find, they need to be led by a nose ring to the conclusion the marketer demands. Media do not want to have to research, analyze, compare, project, etc. They want to be told, get it over with, move on.

I could be wrong but I don't believe that I am.

jason said...

Is that really true of bloggers though? I think what you've said is spot on for traditional media but what about people looking for pieces of information to distribute to niche markets?

I think part of the value of this (from the information consumer's perspective) is that 90% of what marketers create doesn't have value for the person reading it. Now that blogging, forums, wikis, and feeds can provide more efficient distribution of information, doesn't it make sense to provide them with a modular or at least more dynamic set of data to begin with?