By: Othón A. León
According to Lou Dubois (Inc. Magazine, Nov. 2010), the outcomes of a social media campaign rely on the networks and users themselves, however, even though new media implied new ways of communicating, the goal remains the same: to ensure that all targeted audiences correctly perceive the message(s) of the organisation. Of course, not every campaign shared on social media is successful, and many are the factors that determine the difference, but in practical terms it is the way the message is transmitted that equals the result.
Even if we consider the implications of the new media, a press release continues to be one of the most effective ways of announcing (to targeted publics), relevant information related to a company, an association, a non profit organisation, a government office, etc.
The fact of the matter is that while the spirit can be the same, a traditional press release is one thing and a social media press release is another… In principle, I do not believe either one substitutes the other, but they can complement each other goal. In fact it is about using diverse tactics to carry out the communications strategy, to achieve the organizational goal. The real difference is the way to engage, or put in another way: interactivity. In a traditional press release, you don’a have to expect a response, whilst in a social media one, you better do…
According to media blogger Brian Solis: “A social media release should contain everything necessary to share and discover a story in a way that is complementary to your original intent; but, the difference is, how they find it and the tools they use to share and broadcast. Social media is one big extension to the web, except it promotes voices, along with content, in a way that focuses on people and their social networks.”
Another characteristic is that the number of people that a new media’s press release can reach is exponentially bigger than the pre-existent one, so key-words, links, style, etc, become really relevant for all kinds of audiences, such as bloggers, consumers and media representatives. In fact, Jamie Turner, a chief content officer (and co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media”) affirms that: “the pivotal change is that the consumer owns as much of the message of your brand as any traditional vehicle”.
Traditional elements of a press release remain intact though (headline, overview, body, facts, etc), but new ones have appeared and achieved great importance: tags, multimedia links, digital contact information, etc).
Of course, efficiency to respond to feedback from all publics is the “new normal” standard and that is exactly where organisations must focus their efforts. Nobody wants to use the telephone anymore to get an answer, instead, now media (such as the social one), provides a “safety net” for anyone interacting with the message originator.