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Aug 6, The follow up to Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Share This is a practical handbook to the changes taking place.
Table of contents

We interviewed 14 PR pros on the future of public relations and how they see social media changing the industry.

ISBN 13: 9781118676936

We collected their thoughts on how social media will affect the future of the press release, the evolution of social platforms, current limitations and solutions for those impediments, connecting with other PR pros, cost savings, and building relationships. The first press release was created during the fall of by Ivy Lee , known by some as the founder of modern public relations.

For much of its proceeding history, the press release was unchanged from its original form. It wasn't until the '90s when online newswire services like BusinessWire's Smart News Release and PRNewswire's MultiVu multimedia release MMR service began to appear, decreasing reliance on fax machines and e-mail for disseminating news releases. During the past few years, we've witnessed a shift towards what some are calling the " social media release. We asked our PR experts about the future of the traditional long form press release, and we received quite a bit of feedback that showed that while it is here to stay, it will continue to be influenced by the brevity and accessibility of social media.

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Amanda Miller Littlejohn , founder of Mopwater Social Public Relations , commented on the importance of the social media release and how it enables readers to share and interact with it:. If a release doesn't have a social element — that is, a way for viewers to comment or share to their social networks — it doesn't have legs. The format of the press release isn't the only factor in its evolution. What we see now is new methods of distributing the info, driven by social media.

Rather than e-mailing a press release, PR people are sending journalists to custom landing pages created just for that specific announcement, contacting them via Twitter with a BUDurl link to the release, or even directing them to a YouTube video with a message from the CEO making the announcement. PR professionals are now experimenting with these new distribution channels.

Likewise, many are finding that the form of the press release isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every channel. Vistaprint 's Public Relations Manager Jeff Esposito believes that the press release will continue to evolve into multiple iterations for various audiences, channels, and situations:. The second iteration will be a further evolution of the social press release that is being used today, except more brief and more focused. The final is similar to what we see now with company boiler plates, stock quotes and additional information.

In the end, the press release's future may simply depend on media consumption trends, according to David McCulloch , director of public relations at Cisco Systems :. Practically speaking assuming the SEC keeps pace with media evolutions , that means the press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources. Kelly McAlearney , an account supervisor at Edelman Digital, agrees that based on natural progression, the press release will continue to get shorter, for concision's sake:.

Often, we find that our most effective pitches are our most succinct. And interactions have naturally become more concise as many brands are in constant, direct contact with consumer audiences and media via online channels.

He said that the backlinks generated by press releases are reason enough to continue syndicating them, even if the contained information is of little use to the audience. He speculates that if search engines were able to point out and devalue republished news releases and their included backlinks, companies would find better ways of dispersing news:. If this happened, we would see the volume of news releases significantly decline.

The social media platforms with the most value must be used by a client's target audience and be a meaningful place for brands to connect with consumers and journalists. Our PR experts said that mass social platforms, like Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn , will continue to be important on some level, but niche, industry-specific networks will be of greater value in the future. Social media is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Social media platforms will continue to evolve, but "A PR person's job remains the same," said Heather Whaling , founder and president of Geben Communication.

Once the industry settles in to a standard for finding the right platforms for each of its clients, the next step is measuring success. Miller Littlejohn pointed out that the PR industry is moving from placing importance on broadcasting to highly valuing monitoring and measurement:.

But in five years, the most important tools will be the monitoring and measurement tools — the tools that can tell you what happened to your message once it got out there. Right now, there are a few ways to measure mentions of your brands for free, but they are extremely limited in how much and what you can measure at one time.

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You can pay thousands of dollars per month for a nice platform to measure your brand on the social web, but most smaller brands and small businesses can't afford that. I think if someone develops a more sophisticated social media and PR measurement and monitoring dashboard and offers it for free, that will be a rock star tool. There is also a growing demand for social platforms that make it easier for journalists and PR reps to contact one another. Rather than having PR reps make the first moves all the time, now members of the media can put out requests for pitches from particular types of experts.

While PR pros are experiencing lots of successes with social media as is it today, our experts pointed out quite a few limitations with the current offering of social platforms that will need to be worked out for continued adoption, understanding and success across the industry.

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Broadcasting vs. Listening: Our experts pointed out that a vast majority of the PR people out there are using social media as a broadcasting tool for sending out press releases and recent client news. The next gen PR pros will use social media as a listening and communicating tool. Scott Bauman , vice president of Greenough Communications , elaborates:.

This begins to build trust, which is highly valuable and highly perishable. This means continued growth in listening platforms such as Radian6 , but less for reporting just showing share of voice, for example Finding the Right Audience: Many of our experts agreed that while the mass social platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, are useful, the niche, industry-specific communities provide just as much, and sometimes more, value for clients.

The current issue, though, is that finding these communities is quite tough and involves a lot of scattered research across the web. In the future, directories with the ability to search for target demographics across a broad range of social networks would make the process of finding the best platforms with the right audiences much easier. Imperfect Data: With measurement becoming one of the most important features of social networks for marketers and PR pros, data is the key to enlightenment.

Tanowitz gave the example of the mayor of his home city of Newton, Massachusetts.

Share This Too - More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals

Mayor Setti Warren has just over followers on Twitter, which wouldn't put him into the "influencer" category on most social measurement tools. However, in real life, he's quite influential. Want to know what you can expect to read in Share This? Currently on my ever-growing! What books are you currently reading? You can comment below or Tweet me AllthingsIC.

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