Mark Glaser has a post up at the PBS Media Shift blog about the “social media press release” and how it is still a work in progress. He has a good recap of how it started a couple of years ago, how some forward-thinking PR practitioners and agencies came up with the idea of an SMPR — and he also describes how some firms still either don’t use them or consider a single HTML link to be the equivalent of a social-media press release. And I thought the traditional media business was slow to change.
Let’s forget all the blather about “social media,” shall we? If you are in any way trying to reach an online audience of journalists and/or customers and your press release has no links in it, then you = FAIL. If you have a single link to your PR agency’s website, or a single link to the company’s website, then you = FAIL. Links are the lifeblood of the Web — if you do not have them, and lots of them, then your press release is dead on arrival. At best, you force the person reading it to cut and paste terms into search engines and wander around looking for things. If you want some more reasons why your press releases fail, there are some good ones here.
This is not rocket surgery. Put links to relevant information in there; add multimedia content if you have it, with either embedded images or links to them. Better still, create a blog post that has all of these things in it and is tagged properly, and people will find it. Whether you follow the structure here or not is up to you (some people believe starting with the facts and not the spin or “hook” is the wrong way to go, but that’s debatable). Just put some damn links in there, and quit hoping that a boatload of overused adjectives will somehow sell the thing for you.