Enough with the hashtags, you might say. This isn’t Twitter.
Right you are. Marketers have used and abused hashtags, deploying them unusually, inappropriately and obnoxiously. Fortunately, the overkill birthed some comic relief. But, annoying as they can sometimes be, hashtags represent an opportunity for PR pros.
Discussion of hashtags – and social media in general – dominated presentations during this year’s PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia. In one particularly interesting session, Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik) of PR Newswire (@prnewswire) laid the foundation of what she calls the “new-school” news release. Here’s the long and short of it:
Skerik insists the news release isn’t dead, as some have speculated, evolving. Coming from someone whose bread is buttered by organizations paying upwards of $1,000 for a wire distribution, this is not a surprising assertion. The viability of PR Newswire is married to the premise that news releases are still effective.
With that disclosure established, it’s important to note that others support Skerik’s conclusion: the news release is important, but it’s changing.
So what does today’s news release look like? Let’s examine its characteristics, according to Skerik’s checklist:
The release, and particularly the headline, should answer the question, “Why is this message important to the reader?”
Use bullet points and subheads to draw readers’ eyes deeper into the content.
Easy to Share
Sharing seeds future discovery, so ensure news pages render well when shared on the web.
Content that includes multimedia is proven to net better results.
Be sure you’re on the same page as your audience. Keyword research is a good place to start.
What’s the specific path you want readers to take when/after reading the release? Make it obvious and easy.
Monitor current events and trends to connect your news with a larger agenda.
Create visuals and segment the content into snippets, slides and tweets.
Seeded in Social Media
Find influencers among your target audience and engage them creatively. Incorporate hashtags and other tools to expand reach.
Your news and content doesn’t really exist until people know about it. Tell them!
The new PR reality, says Skerik: We’re competing for finite audience attention against an infinite ocean of content. That’s one truth and challenge we can all acknowledge.
One last thing… Why did I include a hashtag in my headline? I’m seeding this for social media. If you tweet the headline, it will appear in the #PR stream on Twitter.
To download Skerik’s free eBook, visit http://promotions.prnewswire.com/prsa_newschoolpr.