Not only does it take two to tango, but this sensual dance also requires the two partners to accept proximity and let each other lead continuously. Now picture public relations holding social media very tightly and let the music begin. This analogy may make you smile but these two entities complement each other perfectly and form a powerful and impactful duo to reach your audience.
I would say that for media releases, public relations have found in social media its perfect match. Before social media, I was distributing our media announcements by email to a large group of outlets, hoping it would get picked up and bring us fresh new visitors to our site. These were conventional times by which relevancy and frequency of our communications were critical to get the attention of targeted editors. Positioning all our product releases as interesting and newsworthy announcements allowed me to win the lottery of journalism, as the Associated Press journalist kindly put it. “We received your latest announcement and would like to do a live report on your company,” she said over the phone. Her crew was coming to Montreal in the next 48 hours but you can be sure we had everything they requested in place for them to create their news report. From this amazing experience, I kept two take-aways with me:
- You never know who is paying attention to your news and has your company on their radar;
- Even if the announcement is about the most insignificant product release, make it interesting and larger than it actually is.
One key element of the report was to interview different profiles of customers about our technology. Giving them a voice was essential to give the content context and credibility. This requirement stills holds true in social media times, even more so knowing that customers can echo your message and help you carry it even further.
I believe social media has brought public relations to a completely new level, serving as an amplifier of unprecedented magnitude.
A recent ING study reveals that 81% of PR Professionals believe that PR can no longer operate without social media while 68% of journalists believe the same for journalism. As communicators, we need to position ourselves as a reliable source of information and develop personal relationships with key influencers in our industry to ensure our message gets shared and viewed as much as possible. Then, our role is to fully maximize social media to spread the word on our product announcements and accomplishments.
The Social Media Examiner goes as far as creating public relations metrics, highlighting how social media can even decrease the cost of public relations. As an example, social media helps increase the reach of our message, hence the more eyeballs, the lesser the cost per impression. It also helps to grow the number of backlinks that are so important for SEO. The article concludes on the necessity to build a cross-channel dashboard to calculate and compare how social media contributes positively to public relations.
Media releases in social media times are not only a great vehicle to publish an official announcement but also open the door to feedback and engagement from our community, making the announcement even more newsworthy. Can you now picture social media graciously complementing public relations, just like a twirling couple dancing tango on the digital dance floor?