Social Media News Release: Unsolved problems

This week Edelman announced a new CMS called StoryCrafter, a tool „for helping companies produce and deploy social media news releases“ (Edelman). Robert French at Auburn University had the possibility to test it together with his students. Wolfgang Lünenbürger-Reidenbach (responsible for online conversations at Edelman Germany) made a similar offer to my students and me. We are looking forward to learn more about it. It sounds great to have a ready to use system helping you to incorporate features like trackbacks, social bookmarking, multimedia and so on.

What I didn’t understand yet: How should a new CMS behave to the CMS which is alive at companies yet? In my eyes it would be very helpful to build up newsrooms on existing corporate websites with all the features of a SMNR (also regarding SEO for the company’s website this would be reasonable). So I hope the devolopers of established CMS will adress this problem.

On the other hand I still see some general problems with the SMNR. Most of them have been adressed by Robert today:

„First, and foremost, the problems with releases today has little, if anything, to do with how they are delivered, nor how they are formatted. Period. The problem with releases today is, first of all, the writing of said releases. Next, the problem with releases is that way too many are being released. They don’t contain actual news. „

These aren’t any questions concerning a technical tool like a CMS, these are problems in the education of many PR practitioners. A third problem: We don’t know anything about the acceptance of a bullet pointed news release amongst bloggers and other citizens of the Socialweb. As far as I know there hasn’t been any research on this question yet.

Personally I like the idea of deconstucting a news release into some bullet points and some quotes. Without any flowery phrases. This makes it transparent to everyone if you really have news to tell. But to me it seems uncertain if bloggers like releases like these. And it is also uncertain if US-bloggers have different preferences like German or French have. So, for the moment I would suggest to work always with a typical press release and a deconstructed news release for social media at the same time like Spiralfrog does. This could help to collect some more experience with both models. And we should start research on these questions. Until then it seems to be quite early to set up a business model on SMNRs.

>> Das Textdepot: Social Media News Release: SAP’s First Step

13 Kommentare

  1. I subscribe to „Next, the problem with releases is that way too many are being released. They don’t contain actual news.“. Nowaday press releases are still regarded as a push channel to inform anyone anytime of anything. Thomas Knüwer (Indiskretion Ehrensache, Handelsblatt) once stated that only a small part of PRs he received (i.e. as fax) really interested him (maybe because of a personal point of view), and only a very, very small part of all PRs really had relevance for his work as journalist.

    Companys should learn to channel (target) news and press releases to specific audiences that really want the news. They should therefore concentrate on creating focused news / PRs that are pulled by people who are interested in the according topics.

    Web 2.0 / social media tools could help identify those focused topics (by sender and receiver – anyway: Every sender is a receiver and vice versa)….

    As I’m workin with a CMS and I’m observing this area I’m really curios about how traditional commercial CMS will incorporate web 2.0 / social media :-)

    BTW: Jonathan Schwartz wants ad-hocs / Reg FDs being published in the internet:
    http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/one_small_step_for_the

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  2. They funny thing is that we are discussing on problems PR ever had: Agencies working only with one large distribution list (trying to impress customers with 400 journalists on them) and with releases written by folks without journalistic background (or a forgotten one).

    Concerning CMS: I’m not a specialist in this field but for the moment especially the open source software Joomla seems to meet the requirements of social media. Do you agree with that or do you prefer others?

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  3. Joomla is widely used and has a widespread community. But another open source seems to outrun it: Drupal has a lot of social media moduls build-in and for download: forums, blog, wiki, polls, an almost overwhelming taxonomy-system etc.

    I prefer Drupal so I use it for my private homepage just because I liked it for edititing my 3 pages :-)) (my blog is driven by LifeType which I had previously to my Drupal installation).

    There is a (german) article released today describing drupal:

    http://www.webkrauts.de/2006/12/11/content-management-und-webstandards-drupal/

    There are a lot of commercial CMSs like Stellent, IBM ContentManger, Pirobase, CoreMedia, RedDot … but none of them – so far – has social media components out-of-the-box. This could be a chance for open source CMSs to be recognized as serious competitors to those commercial CMSs.

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  4. Thank you so much for this overview. It’s very helpful for the education of our students since we’d like to move away from our „traditional“ mix out of Typo 3, WordPress and pmWiki within the next time.

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  5. Very exciting example. But I think B.L. Ochman is not abolutely right: It might be a great idea to adress bloggers via Youtube. But I guess many journalists won’t even have an idea about it. So we need several channels and formats to adress different publics.

    creative (a company producing MP3-Players and so on) produced a video release some weeks ago. They adressed especially journalists with it. AFIK the journalists have been invited via e-mail to watch it: http://www.creative-zencast.de/. This looks very creative in the very first moment but in my opinion there should also be readable information on the site.

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  6. I agree. That’s because I said „another way of press release“. Just as it would be wrong to only fax a traditional press release it would also be wrong to only upload a video to YouTube.

    I guess companies should thoroughly analyze their target audiences and then compose an appropriate mix of communication channels. I also would recommend that people should have the possibility to compose their own personal channel mix (i.e. email, videos).

    Eventually some journalists or analysts would prefer to even receive instant messages via Skype, AOL, Yahoo! … when specific companies release an ad-hoc notification…

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  7. You said:
    “ I guess companies should thoroughly analyze their target audiences
    and then compose an appropriate mix of communication channels.“

    Absolutely. And this will lead to the question: When does it make sense to use a SMNR? In other words: What are the topics bloggers are interested in? I’m convinced there are a lot of companies out there without any need to think about it today.

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