6 Tips for Optimizing News Releases for Social Media

Sally Falkow

While the press release is not dead by any means, a plain-text version is quickly becoming an anachronism in the digital age. A well-written release packed with punchy quotes is still a fundamental way to tell your brand's story to the media, but it's when PR pros optimize their releases (and online media centers, too) for social media and search that they can really maximize their reach.

Sally Falkow, social media strategist at Meritus Media and a speaker at the upcoming Social Media Summit/Taste of Tech event on June 21-22 in New York City, says it’s essential to integrate social media within press releases. “You want to make sure that you have sharing buttons on every piece of your content—videos, infographics, press releases, articles.” It is all news content and should be treated as such. Below, Falkow provides six tips for optimizing a news release for social media. 

  1. Include Photos: "Adding images and video increases views on your news content by as much as 77%, according to a PR Newswire study," says Falkow. However, this might not be the place to insert your brand's latest Instagram photos. Opt for more professional, high-resolution and standard format (typically JPEG) photos. 

  2. Provide Options: "Add more than one image, so that there is a choice for bloggers and journalists," says Falkow. This allows them to choose an image that fits their take on the story. Supply source codes and URLs for all images. Also consider including charts, slide decks, PDFs and infographics. If you're including an executive's take in the release—especially if they're quotes that Steve Jobs would be proud of—include their photo and add links to their bios and social profiles.

  3. Keep Things Pinteresting: "Pin all images to a Pinterest board and link back to the press release in your newsroom," says Falkow. Pinterest is a great visual medium, an effective touch point for influencers, a valuable information aggregator and a perfect platform for sharing. (Not on Pinterest yet? Consider these 5 tips for kick-starting your efforts today.)

  4. Add a short video: "85% of all media Web sites now use video, and many of them are looking for completed videos from an outside source," says Falkow. Supply the embed code for the video so that they can immediately embed it on their Web site or blog, and pin the video to the Pinterest board. 

  5. Highlight Keywords: "Tag all the content with the keywords that will make it easy to find in search or social sites to boost your SEO efforts," says Falkow. "Use words you think a journalist might use to search for when writing story on a topic."

  6. Include Icons: Add icons that connect to all social content from the company and provide social sharing links so others can like your news on Facebook, tweet it right from your news release, post it to a host of other social sites or e-mail it to friendr. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg

PR News’ two-day Social Media Summit/Taste of Tech event June 21-22 in New York City and learn more from digital leaders like Sally Falkow.

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