|By Newt Barrett||
|May 28, 2009 11:00 PM EDT||
Jump Start Your Online Public Relations for Free
They call it public relations for a reason. Although PR methodology has focused primarily on getting the traditional media to write about your company or your client’s company, the goal has always been to influence ‘the public’, that is those members of the population that you want to impact positively.
Thanks to the infinite reach of the Internet, you have the capability to extend that influence dramatically. But, you need to change your approach and your toolkit as part of a 21st century PR strategy.
If your primary public relations strategy still amounts to sending press releases to a finite number of media contacts, you fail to take advantage of the Internet. You are not reaching the new influencers, to use Paul Gillen’s term.
You need to do do more than reach those influencers. You need to take advantage of the emerging power of social media by creating a new kind of release to reach a much broader audience. We have written previously about Shift Communications’ template that offers a useful template on which to create your news content: Social Media Release Template Makes It Easier to Get Social.
Now, another powerful tool has emerged: PitchEngine, which lets you create and share social media releases for free.
As they describe it:
With PitchEngine, users can easily create and share Social Media Releases (SMRs). Unlike the rigid, printed press release of old, SMRs offer both creator and reader far more flexibility. Users can incorporate embedded video, images, powerpoints and more into a hosted “microsite” or SMR, that can easily be shared via the social web using apps like Facebook, Twitter and more. A dynamic blend of traditional PR and a more progressive, conversational method, the SMR opens doors and engages readers. Those readers include not just media, but investors and consumers (friends, fans and followers) alike.
If you think this social media stuff and tools like PitchEngine are a passing fad, here are some impressive stats on their social media release tool:
- More than 3500 brands have created thousands of releases since October 2008.
- There were more than 100,000 visits (70,000 unique visitors) to PitchEngine in February 2009
- Of nearly 5,000 users on PitchEngine, 67% have returned to create more than one SMR
- From the largest PR agencies in the world to the best boutique and smaller firms, PitchEngine is used by a diverse mix of in-house PR pros, agency reps and other communications professionals.
- What brands are benefiting from PitchEngine? Here are a few of the more recognizable companies: American Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch, Albertson’s, Bailey’s, Carl’s Jr., Dell, Dove, Harley-Davidson, Matchbox, Mattel, MySpace, Overstock.com, Puma, Shure, Xerox, Zappos.com
New Tools are Great, But You Still Need to Make Your Content Really Findable
Even if you are sending your news release to a wider audience by using a great online PR tools such as PitchEngine, you are still making a mistake if you don’t optimize your release for the search engines. Be sure to keep these essential content marketing elements in mind as you craft your social media release—and your broader strategy:
- Use a pithy descriptive headline with important keywords and repeat those keywords in your lead. And don’t use jargon!
- Link keywords to relevant landing pages on your site–that is where many of those keywords will be found.
- Don’t think of your release is a “media relations tool.” Think of it as a mini web page that covers the news item or topic about which you are writing.
- You release should act as a portal to more information on the topic.
- If you have audio or video content be sure to include them with your release.
In the end, social media is still all about content that is relevant and compelling. Bells and whistles don’t substitute for substance. Don’t let the social media tail wag the content marketing dog. But, do put leading edge tools like PitchEngine to work in becoming a social media PR powerhouse.
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