Back in 2007, when we were launching the MyPRGenie public relations platform, a lot of smart people told us that the rise of social media signaled the end of the press release.  We didn’t believe them then – and time has proved us right.

In fact, social media has made the press release more powerful than ever. Today’s online press release strategies leverage social media tools and channels in ways that even true believers like us didn’t imagine a few years ago.  What kinds of social media tools?

  • Links, so marketers can take advantage of SEO benefits.
  • Videos, photos, and anchors to social bookmarking sites.
  • Online press release distribution sites with built-in social sharing buttons.

One of the key benefits of an online press release is that they can deliver long-term results – and you can make them look great on your website and in an online press room that’s SEO optimized for you on a cloud-based public relations platform like MyPRGenie.  Until recently, press releases weren’t meant to be very pretty, and they certainly weren’t meant to be around more than a few hours or days.

Sent via fax or snail mail, old fashioned press releases did just one thing effectively: deliver company news to a small audience of journalists who (it was hoped) would spread the word to their audience.  Now you can dress your press release up with all kinds of embellishments that will engage a much broader audience.

The truth is, we’re all publishers now. So what will you publish as part of your online press release?  How about:

  • An embedded YouTube video?
  • A link to a downloadable brochure, white paper, or presentation?
  • A link to a photo stream on Flickr for a look at your facilities, staff, and products?
  • A subscription option for your blog, Twitter, or Facebook?

Don’t go overboard. In general, one link per 100 words of copy is about right, although a premium account with MyPRGenie allows up to six links in a 400-word press release.

Expand Your Press Release with Content

It’s important to keep your online press release short, but when you have valuable content to share, it’s easy to expand your press release with content. White papers, video, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, fact sheets, and other documents are the way to provide your audience with more information than you can fit into a short press release.

Whenever you publish new content, write a press release to promote it. Link to that content within the release, and in social media that drives traffic back to the press release or the additional content.  Don’t let too many sign-up forms ruin your dual content and PR strategy. Instead use social media tools to track your audience.

The goal of this strategy is to make it easy for your fans and followers to enjoy and share your content. Focus on telling people about the benefit they get from reading your information, not simply using social media to restate what’s in your press release.

If you combine the benefits of a powerful public relations platform, the online press release, and modern social media tools, you’ll soon find that you’ll never look at a press release quite the same way again – and neither will the company accountant who’s tracking PR spending!