Social Media News Releases achieve three times the pickup

In the summer of 2009 we did some analysis looking at whether Social Media News Releases (SMNR) achieved more coverage than “traditional” press releases. The analysis of almost one thousand releases showed that SMNRs distributed by RealWire generated twice the editorial coverage and almost four times the blog coverage.

A few weeks ago whilst discussing the timing of a FIR interview with me on the value of press releases (which is now published here by the way) Shel Holtz asked me if I had any plans to update the research. As it had been over 18 months this seemed a good idea so I booted up Excel and here are the results

Social-Media-News-Release-Coverage-Analysis-Results-2011

1,044 releases were analysed from those distributed in the 6 months from September 2010 to March 2011
Coverage is data is based on RealWire’s Proveit coverage tracking and evaluation service
79 were Social Media News Releases (releases related to 62 different companies, across 21 different industry sectors)
965 were “Traditional” Releases (releases related to 339 different companies, across 28 different industry sectors)

So overall the sample of SMNRs achieved over three times as much editorial/blog coverage on average (15.7 pieces v 5.0 pieces) as the “traditional” releases.

Some examples from different sectors of high performing SMNRs include releases by Panasonic, Alterian, 3M, Warner Bros, Rolls Royce and Aviva.

As with the previous analysis I think one of the primary reasons for the difference in performance is that the additional investment that can often be required to produce an SMNR – multimedia assets, links to background research etc – means that they are used for stories that the sender perceives are potentially high impact and therefore likely to be of interest to a wide audience.

Another reason could be the lower proportion of B2B releases in the SMNR sample. However I am not necessarily convinced this is the case as there are plenty of examples of B2B releases in the traditional sample that performed to a similar level as the best performing B2C SMNRs.

As I indicated in my interview with Shel I think it is more likely that a higher proportion of traditional releases are more informative in nature e.g. new appointment, new customer, financial results, tradeshow attendance etc. These stories are of potential value to relevant publications, but it is likely that the number of such publications will be lower than where the release is around a broader topic of conversation e.g. research, market changes, new products etc. If people would find this of interest then let me know in the comments as further study of the nature of the releases themselves might shed some more light.

In the meantime on a short promotional note it is good to see that our overall pickup stat of 80%+ of releases gaining editorial/blog coverage still compares very favourably with our competition :-)

Online PR is all about Community

Well the silly season is pretty much over and at RealWire we have been using this quiet time to go on holidays, get married (congratulations Hollie!) and put the finishing touches to our new animation.

The video is called “Online PR is all about Community” and tries to provide a simple analogy for people to bear in mind when approaching online PR. Here it is:

Online PR is all about Community from RealWire on Vimeo.

There are lots of white papers, reports, posts, articles etc giving instructions, guidance, facts and knowledge around this subject of course. Commoncraft for instance do a brilliant job with their videos, but these focus more on the specifics of the elements of the online world themselves – e.g. RSS, Twitter, Social Bookmarking etc.

We hadn’t really seen someone attempt to produce something that tried to distil things into a simple story that gets at the fundamentals and then produce it in a (hopefully) entertaining way. The analogy we use in the video isn’t new, in fact its as old as the hills, but perhaps it will help to serve as a reminder of what sits at the heart of good “people” relations.

So far we have had a great response from people all over the world with the video already clocking up almost 4,000 views in its first week and over 100 tweets. Thank you to everyone who has watched the video to date and been kind enough to take the time to provide their feedback either directly or indirectly. We really appreciate it.

The production of the video, and in particular the script development, focussed our minds on confirming that the way that we at RealWire do things fits this approach.  We have given an overview of how we think our approach to distribution strives to be consistent with the principles outlined here. We aren’t resting on our laurels though, we will make mistakes sometimes, but we will always be open to feedback and suggestions of how we can improve, so that we can play a valuable role in the online community.

Finally a big, big thank you to Owen and the team at Thumb Digital our partners in crime when it comes to making these videos. And a special thank you to Steve, the designer who has produced both of our videos, and has to put up with me in particular being very picky! :-)

Why Online PR is like a dinner party

The recent popularity of shows such as Come Dine with Me, along with the recessionary drive to save money, has lead to a renaissance in the art of the dinner party. With my tongue only slightly in cheek it has often struck me that Online Public Relations is a lot like a dinner party. At RealWire we think good PR is governed by four main principles – permission, relevance, content and influence. So how do these apply to the art of the dinner party?

Permission  

First of all you have to either be invited to someone else’s party or host one of your own. In practice this means knowing who is going to be interested in you, who you have things in common with and then finding and getting to know these people. Until you have done this you aren’t likely to get many invites and if you invite people to your own party they aren’t likely to turn up!

Relevance  

If you have decided to host a party you must ensure that the dishes you create for your guests take account of their culinary preferences e.g. vegetarians, nut allergies and religious factors. No matter how good the food, if it isn’t relevant to them they aren’t going to eat it and causing serious harm to your guests health or sensibilities isn’t likely to mean they will respond positively to your next invite.

The other key area where you need to consider relevance is in the conversations you have. Before you dive in with your latest achievement or talking all about your work or your kids find out about the person you are talking to. What are they interested in? Then you might find that there is something about you or something that you know about that they might value and so an interesting, and relevant, conversation ensues.

Content  

Whether you are hosting your own, or attending someone else’s party, the food you serve, and the conversations you have, need to also be both of sufficient quality, and interest, to provoke a positive reaction on the part of the guests. This means planning and creating fabulous dishes and/or coming prepared with stories that will engage the other guests’ attention. It’s no good inviting all these people on the promise of a gastronomic extravaganza and then serving cheese on toast.

Influence

If you have done all of the above then guests at parties you host should not only want to come to your next one, but are likely to tell all their friends about how great the evening was. And in the case of parties you attend the other guests will not only tell their friends how interesting you were, but they are also likely to attend any party you might host.

So follow these four principles, and not only will you be a great dinner party host and guest, but you might also find your PR improves :-)

(This post also appeared today in my Fresh Business Thinking Online PR newsletter)

RealWire “Releasing influence” – our new animation goes live

Following on from our Online Media animation from the start of this year we have just finished the second part of our “trilogy” – “Releasing Influence“. *Please note this animation is more self promotional in nature*.

The first part of the film follows on from “The Online Media” and describes how news releases have the potential to achieve influence in this world. The second describes how RealWire can help senders of news to do just that and also how our service helps them to understand the impact they have had.

The last of the three should be ready in a few weeks time and will deal with the importance of delivering relevance to recipients of news.

But for now here is the video. Would love to get people’s feedback.

3i Online Media Presentation video

Last November I presented at 3i‘s offices in London to a group of their portfolio companies. Others who spoke that day included Deborah Saw of Citigate and Philip Stafford of the FT - so I was definitely not top of the bill :-) .

The video below is an extract from my session giving an overview of the online media world. It’s sort of an extended remix of our recent animation. Not as pretty, clearly, with me in it and longer at 15 minutes. For those online experts out there I doubt there will be much that is new, but for anyone else it might be worth putting the kettle on and settling down with a cup of tea/coffee – after all you can always pause me after 30 seconds :-)


Online Media Presentation from RealWire on Vimeo.

Corrections: For anyone that watches I have subsequently established that Earth Times doesn’t only publish articles regarding environmental topics. Not sure if this is a change in recent months or whether I imagined it and Facebook did exist at the 2004 presidential election but didn’t have quite as many members!