I’ve been paying a lot of attention recently to the potential power of social media news releases as an effective content marketing weapon. These releases appeal both to traditional news organizations and to the broader blogosphere.
Marketwire’s Social Media 2.0 Plus is a fascinating tool to enable small to medium-size companies to compete for attention with the big guys. But it will work only if compelling, customer centric headlines lead visitors to access the news release. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a significant percentage of the headlines really did the job.
Here’s how Marketwire describes Social Media 2.0 Plus:
Combine the firepower of social media with proven benefits of traditional wire distribution and extend your reach to millions of online influencers
Target mainstream media outlets while leveraging online news distribution like never before. Marketwire’s Social Media 2.0 Plus press release is a complete North American newsline that includes industry-leading social media tools and search engine optimization to add dimension and tactical intelligence to your communications while harnessing the power of the Internet.
In fact, Social Media 2.0 Plus looks like a terrific product that eliminates all the heavy lifting for individual companies when it comes to effective social media marketing. So far so good. For the most part, it gets better when you take a look at a sampling of press releases issued in the last two days via Marketwire.
A high percentage of the headlines on the Marketwire site–and they show only headlines– offer clear, obvious reasons that a reader or reporter should click through to get to the good stuff underneath. Interestingly, almost none of the headlines appears to attempt humor or cleverness. Some of them may be a bit dull, but they get the job done. The Brad Pitt headline is the exception proving the rule.
Here’s a fair sample of 5 good ones:
But there were some clunkers as well. Typically, these seem to fall into the category of “We know there is very little news value to this, but we had to send it out anyway.”
Here are five losers that illustrate what to avoid (snarky comments inside parentheses):
SDRL – Construction agreements for jack-up newbuilds amended (what does this mean?)
Canada Post Rings in the New Year With the Year of the Ox (must have been a very slow news day)
Automatic Defrag: The “Must-Have” Tool (but, why is it must have?)
Jon Barney Joins The Avascent Group (Who is he? Where does he come from? Why does it matter?)
Definitely take a look at what Marketwire is offering with its social media tool. Here’s a link to their news release presenting it. The release itself is effective because it contains absolutely every element that can be included with the product. This is a great example of content marketing in which a news release can illustrate product benefits in a visual and compelling way.
The bottom line: Social media news releases can be a powerful tool. But, without strong headlines they are like Sampson without his hair–powerless.