Business PR in the Time of Social

Posted on: July 3, 2014

It is standard for all companies and businesses to create press releases as part of their information and marketing campaigns. With the advent of social networking sites and the type of marketing specifically targeted to social media users, it is important for businesses to know how to adapt their press releases to this new technology.



I offer basic guidelines for business PRs in the time of social.


Aim for virality

One of the main benefits of going social is to be able to reach as many people as possible with content. In fact, researchers have found that business-related content is more effective when recommended by people who the target customers personally know. This is true for press releases as well.

When making a press release for any social media, one must think whether it is easy to share, or if it has the potential to go viral, reaching a wide variety of audiences. Viral content is usually concise, witty, entertaining, or controversial, appealing to a vast number of people.

Go visual

Pictures are worth a thousand words. This is true for press releases, and even more so in the time of social media. Pictures and graphics always catch the attention of people better. They are more memorable.

I like the 20 percent rule for social media graphics. That means text, if any, only takes up 20 percent of the entire area of the photo. Even better, press releases best take the form of a photo about an event or a product with a brief caption to provide important details. Colourful visuals are also a good way to catch the attention of social media users. If it is necessary that the press release be in the form of a text, this should always be accompanied by one or two interesting photos, captioned accordingly.

Less is more

Everything that is shared on social media sites must come in simple, concise chunks because people on social media only scroll through and usually do not have time to linger over any one piece content.

This means that photos and graphics must be as uncluttered as possible (see 20 percent rule above). Story press releases must be kept short and simple, with the most important details on the first three paragraphs.

Stuffy is out

Get creative. Social media is young and playful, so its users embrace creative content. Thus, press releases for social media should not be too formal. Its tone should be conversational, as though it is confiding in a close friend.

Stuffy, stiff press releases in social media will do no good for any business, because they will just be ignored or even derided by social media users. Avoid press releases that seem too businesslike because they will not win any goodwill among your followers, and worse, it can drive away some of your followers, doing more damage than good.

Always remember, business PR for social should still follow the basics of good writing, but it is modified to ensure that it can be effective in being seen and appreciated by social media users.