SMRs Taking Over

It’s obvious that social media is booming and not going to relax anytime soon, and now it is being integrated ever-so-deeply into our professions. While this can be a great innovation, we must consider there is a time and place for everything.

Social media news releases are some of the newest entities in the world of public relations. In his post “Kent State interns turn classroom lesson into social-media initiative,” Bill Sledzik says that “SMRs are versatile tools, especially for reaching consumer audiences.” This new tool allows public relations practitioners to juice-up their news releases with audio, video, photos, sound and make them more interactive. Sounds great right? You would think all people are more willing to look at a release if they are more appealing to the eye, but is it reasonable to think that SMRs should completely replace the old news releases?

Associate professor in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University, Bill Sledzik gave an example of the Kent State interns who used archived pictures, videos and more to spruce up a social media news release for a campaign that aimed at boosting employee pride in an old company.  The overall effect of the SMR helped the story by making it richer in content, it gave it a sense of realness that people could relate to.

This is a great example for when to use SMRs. They wanted to make an impact on attitudes and by having the visual components people could relate much easier and really feel with the company. Another great way to use SMRs would be for sales- why not post pictures and videos of your new product for the consumer to see first-hand?

So, the SMR can help with behavioral and attitudinal objectives-does that mean they can always be used? Should every news release we send out now contain multiple components of a SMR? Is it worth our time and money to make SMRs? It’s a great new tool, but should we be afraid of over-using it?

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13 Responses to SMRs Taking Over

  1. cgharai says:

    Social media news releases (SMR’s) are a mistake to use to begin with, in my opinion. The value in social media, is relative to the platform being used and the hopeful hundreds of people that will participate, adding value to the SMR itself. Sending SMR’s over the Internet in my opinion lessens the value of the actual credibility of the news release, and it’s importance. The value in social media, discussions and comments is to have some level unmonitorable of critical mass aggregated. Using the Internet, there is o aggregation of critical mass. People are intended to interact online, but what is the point of one person commenting on a news relates on a site. Great discussions online are conducted when tons of messages/ comments are left simultaneously about a given topic, in this case a news release. Having a 300 people comment on 300 different websites is invaluable, and unable to be monitored.

  2. mkuhl says:

    I think it is safe to say that social media is here to stay, and is making an impact. The real question is exactly how much of an impact is it making and is this a good or bad thing? As for me, I see both sides. I think social media is a great things for a lot of different areas in public relations, however if using a social media outlet such as Twitter, the amount of space and words you can use is limited.

    In regards to social media releases, I think they can sometimes be used and be acceptable, while others the traditional press release is the better option. We can not ignore social media and social media releases, but I think as a PR professional, it is essential to develop the skill to know when to use what medium.

  3. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Claudia, I have to confess that I have no idea what your comment means.

  4. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks for the spotlight today. I’m always flattered to pick up new readers.

    As for the SMR, I’m as skeptical as the next guy. We teach them at Kent State because we want our students to be competent with the latest tools. We don’t promote SMRs as the holy grail of media relations, but just another tool.

    Will the SMR replace the traditional news release? I doubt it. The SMR is valuable in reaching directly to consumer audiences and bypassing traditional media. If you include links, readers may even come to your website and buy something! The marketing folks will love you for that!

    What I like most about SMRs: They are YOUR messages, not stories filtered through 3rd-party media. You can also post a wide range of SMRs, catering to a wide range of audiences who may be interested in a wide range of topics. You don’t need a compelling news hook each time, as you do with traditional releases.

    One caution: You really can’t serve traditional mainstream media with the same information you post for fans and enthusiasts. Traditional media have a different standard of news value, and you have to respect those needs.I recommend using SMRs as primarily a consumer channel.

  5. bgansar says:

    cgharai- I am not sure how you can say that SMRs are a mistake when they have the potential to add so much to a story/news release. I am also not so sure you understand what the SMR is, you should take a look at the website I linked that has the sample one to give you a better idea!

    mkuhl-I agree that as PR professionals we definitely do need to learn when it would be best to use SMRs and when not to. I don’t think that every situation is a good one for the use of a SMR. I guess we just have to use our best judgment.

    Dawn Gilpin- I have suggested Claudia look at the SMR link that I posted so she has a better idea of what they are and can offer. This should help her understand it all a little more.

  6. bgansar says:

    Bill Sledzik- I have just learned about the SMR in my PR Campaigns class at Arizona State University, however we did not practice making them. They were introduced as another tool here as well.
    I agree that it will not replace the traditional news release, it takes too much time and just isn’t suitable for every situation.
    The suggestion to use SMRs through consumer channeling makes a lot of sense. You can really show the consumer what you are selling, giving, etc.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for writing about interesting topics!

  7. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Brittany, did you not work on SMRs in 415? I think this is definitely something we need to make sure is included. Those of you who are developing campaigns where they would be appropriate should definitely plan to incorporate SMRs as part of your ancillary documents, but I do believe all of our graduates should have at least some classroom experience putting them together.

  8. bgansar says:

    Dgiplin- No my class did not go over them in 415, I mean we wrote news releases and had pictures on them, but nothing else. I think it would be important for that to be taught, but not sure the professors would know how to go about it if they do not know how to input videos, etc.

  9. ncano says:

    It’s hard to say if SMRs will replace the old news release,but if they do, they won’t be doing it any time soon. I think it takes a while for a company to adapt something like an SMR. In fact, they should research releasing an old press release and see how many views they receive with that compared to the SMRs. People don’t always like change, so that’s what is so hard for a new company to understand. However, a successful company will slowly incorporate an SMR when it’s necessary to. I like your idea about releasing one when it comes to releasing a new product. It’s smart and shows first hand our a product can work.

    I read Dr. Gilpin’s comment about doing SMR in 415 and I have to agree with you, we just did new releases and even for me, we only put our companies logo on them. It would be important to teach this in 310, 415 and even have it be developed into 417. Just some food for thought.

  10. bgansar says:

    ncano- Yes, I believe my group will be working a SMR into our campaign, if not for the proposal then just for fun and practice! Some older companies may never integrate them into their practices, but they can be very useful, so change can be good.

  11. kinoshita says:

    I like how you distinguish it’s more about impact on attitudes and behavior with SMRs. When I looked at the Goodyear SMR it felt more like a journalistic piece meant to influence my attitude and behavior.

    At the same time, it was fairly intense because it was both busy and content heavy. It will take more time and attention for sure. I think that SMRs have the potential to change attitudes and behaviors from the get-go because of their visual and audio power unlike traditional releases.

    With that said, I don’t think that it is appropriate for every circumstance. Not every news release needs to contain the various SMR elements. You run the risk of turning off the people you are trying to reach if the SMR is not appropriate for that audience. They might dismiss your release before reading it. Know your audience.

    I think it is worth our time and money to make SMRs when it’s appropriate for the market we are reaching out to, the people we are targeting or pitching. SMRs could be overused just like anything else. There’s a good possibility it will become boring and mundane like the traditional release but will take more time and effort on both sides.

  12. bgansar says:

    kinoshita-I agree that SMRs are only appropriate for specific circumstances, so I feel it is important that these be discussed in our classes so that we can decipher when it is best to use them. It is also important to know how to use them and not over-flow the information so that people are not overwhelmed with the amount of content. I love that they can offer more, but we need to be weary!

  13. edean says:

    I also agree that SMRs (at this point anyways) can only be used in certain situations where the audience is in tune with social media. As far as traditional media goes, let’s face it, it’s called traditional media for a reason. PR professionals should always realize different mediums have different values of news. I also agree with Bill when he stated that SMRs would be of most value when used as a consumer channel.

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