Study Shows Social Media Releases Are Less Effective Than Traditional Press Releases

    by Rebecca Corliss

    Date

    May 20, 2009 at 6:33 AM

    Today, many industries are working hard to adapt their business practices to the changing Web. One prime example is the public relations industry's effort to develop the social media news release (SMNR).

    Conceptually, I think SMNR s are fantastic. They host all the resources a journalist might need in a beautiful package. But should they be used for every release? Do they really help spread your message? Do they help your website get links?

    Recently, I conducted a study comparing the results of social media releases and traditional releases by publishing them across five newswires. (I'll be discussing more details of the study in a webinar this afternoon .)

    I hoped to learn which format would be syndicated on "portal websites" most often, and which would be best for link building. (Note: A syndication is an instance when a press release is published in-full with links by another website, called a portal; syndications are *not* editorial coverage.)

    What I learned may surprise you. As you can see in the graph below, the traditional release format performed much better. 


    So what can you learn from this experiment? How can you make sure your releases are syndicated as much as possible?

    1) Don't use formatting. Many portal sites don't accept it. (For the technical folks, we're talking about XHTML.) Ditch the bullets, the itallics and bold type. It complicates the code and makes it more difficult for your release to be syndicated. 

    2) Don't use multimedia. Many portal sites can't handle it well. To take it a step further, I'd say *most* won't post it, (unless the portal site is hosted or controlled by the newswire that launched the release). Instead of posting multimedia in your release, link to a place where it's hosted on your website. 

    3) Use anchor text and full URLs. Not all portal sites are compatible with anchor text. This means that your anchor text could be lost on some portal sites. In order to increase your chance of keeping your most important links in your release, use this structure: HubSpot Blog ( http://blog.hubspot.com ) . Normally, we would not recommend redundant links. But this way, if anchor text is lost, the full URL is likely to remain. 

    4) Use basic language. Many portal sites decide to publish a release by scanning for relevant keywords in the release body and headline. The portal then automatically posts anything that contains the right keywords to fit their formulas. To be syndicated by more relevant portals, use straight-forward text that the portal's crawlers will pick up.

    Some of this may be surprising, but portal sites haven't caught up yet. If you keep things simple for them, you'll increase your chances of getting syndicated, building links and getting found.

    The takeaway? Use social media and multimedia elements in your PR strategy , not your press releases.

    Watch the Webinar: New Research on Creating News Releases That Work

    press release webinar Want more data like this? Learn what happens behind-the-scenes after you submit a press release.

    Miss the live webinar? Catch the archive here to learn how to best optimize your press releases to get more links.


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