Lessons Learned

Thursday, May 25, 2006 | comments

I am leaving for a quick vacation tomorrow --- without laptop, without Treo --- but couldn't say "good-bye" for the long weekend without a quick post on some of the "lessons learned" via this week's excitement about the debut of the "Social Media Press Release."

The PR blogosphere is very generous. The wisdom and enthusiasm, good wishes and constructive criticisms were amazing.

Most people could care less about "the press release." What they all truly hate is "bad storytelling." I agree. Part of the "Big Idea" is to get rid of some of the PRspeak that has come to take the place of good storytelling, by stripping the news to its core facts. Having said that, I do want to clarify, again: the "Social Media Press Release" was never intended to replace a narrative pitch, nor is it intended to replace a journalist's responsibility to do their own research and write their own version of the news.

The "Social Media Press Release" is more about making the media's job easier than it is about "being social." It makes their job easier by:
  • providing multimedia content that they can view (for education) or post (to generate more reader enthusiasm).
  • putting the basic facts on display, without extraneous hoo-ha.
  • enabling them to keep tabs on related news updates (via RSS).
  • putting all speakers' contact info front¢er.
  • putting lots of relevant content, in context, and with helpful notes, all in one place (del.icio.us).
I am particularly keen on the ability to use a del.icio.us page to "guide" journalists through a narrative trail. "Click this link to learn more about latest industry happenings... Click this link to see GartnerGroup's 'magic quadrant' about this space... Click this link to listen to a podcast by our CEO... Click this link if you want to check out our customer list and case studies... etc." Just as the Social Media Press Release provides remixable content, the del.icio.us page provides remixable research as well as access to on-going reaction.

It's (not necessarily) too soon for the "Social Media Press Release." Yes, it is bleeding edge; maybe too much so, for many folks in the media, among clients and in the PR world. Yet, as I noted in my last post, bits & pieces of this concept are already working their way into the PR world. I was contacted numerous times this week by corporate marketers and PR agency pros who are keen to try this. It won't happen tomorrow, but it will happen.

No matter how often I tell folks it's spelled "SHIFT," all caps, they'll still use "Shift." Oh well.

It's been an exciting ride. Thanks to everyone at SHIFT and in the PR/marketing arena who helped out with this effort. Time to take a li'l time off to re-connect with the wife & kids.

After a week like this, there's only one place to go. Can you guess?
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