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15th September 2010

Social Media Newsroom – Intel Ahead of the Pack

Intel debuted their social media newsroom last month after eight months of development. It has all the features one would expect in a social news hub:

  • commenting
  • rating
  • discussion areas
  • special access areas
  • Web video
  • blogs
  • Facebook and Twitter plug-ins
  • SMR (social media releases)
  • SEO friendly attributes

“The development project took roughly 8 months—but in actuality it was more of a culmination of several years of experimentation using the previous Intel Press Room website as a sandbox for much of what went into the new site,” said Patrick Darling, online media relations manager for Intel in an interview with Bulldog Reporter.

“One of the biggest and most unexpected changes was the one that took place in my own perspective about the purpose of a news website itself,” says Darling.

What does he mean by that?  He explained that instead of focusing only on the front end of a news portal, today you have to be aware of what’s needed behind the scenes to make it easy for people, bloggers journalists and search engines  to find, use and share your news content.

Darling shared these tips in the interview:

  • Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. I don’t believe in failure, so go, do, learn, adjust, succeed… and have fun!
  • Always keep the primary purpose in mind. It’s still about getting compelling content to your intended audience. Widgets, gadgets and gizmos are great, but don’t lose sight of the purpose behind it all.
  • Learn to use web analytics. Block off time in your calendar and dig in, have fun with them—you’ll learn to find some great nuggets in unexpected places!
  • Portability—using RSS and other means to make all content mobile from a point of origin out to many online destinations (subscribers, readers, aggregators, etc.).
  • Shareability—making content easy for your audience to quickly grab and share on Twitter, Facebook, etc. by using share widgets, offering short pre-made tweet samples w/short URLs, etc.
  • SEO—making sure content is optimized in every possible way to rank at the top of search engines is increasingly going to be a critical piece of any online PR strategy

Excellent advice, and if you need help with some of these points here are a few tools you might find useful:

  1. The PRESSfeed news optimization toolbar. This free toolbar has full instructions on how to optimize a news release for search.(SEO)  It also has many of the tools you need to do the steps in the instructions
  2. Google Analytics in 10 minutes – an excellent book to get you started
  3. RSS tutorial – Feeds are the bloodlines of the social web.  If you are not quite sure what an RSS Feed is and what it does, this is a great place to start
  4. How feeds filter your news content into the social web.  A short video that explains why a feed on news content is essential

At PRESSfeed we spent two years learning what various audiences want from a newshub on a company website today.  And we are constantly learning and adapting.  Patric Darling is quite right – it is a case of experiment, experiment, experiment.  Social media ia a moving target. Just when you think you have it all buttoned down a new idea or widget surfaces.

If you do not have the time, resources and patience to spend a year or so developing your social online newsroom, take a look at PRESSfeed – you could be up and running in 2 weeks!

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20th May 2010

Integrating Social Content with Your Website

Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group posted an excellent slide deck today that shows a roadmap for integrating social content with a corporate website.

View more presentations from Jeremiah Owyang.

The roadmap looks like this:

 In an analysis we did at the end of 2009 we found that while more than 50% of the companies in the Fortune 500 and the Inc 500 lists were active on social media, most of them are still at Step 1 on this roadmap.  Less than 20% had any links to their social content  (Step 2.)

We will be revisiting that list this month to see how these companies stack up against this roadmap.

We’re excited to note that adding a PRESSfeed social media newsroom immediately puts a website at Step 5.  And the features due to be added soon will put it at Step 7! 

It’s a quick and easy way to jump start your integration and keep your website relevant.

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10th May 2010

New Media PR Tips: Setting Up a Social Media Monitoring Dashboard

Now that social media has been acknowledged as “just another medium” and something that has to be part of every PR plan, mastering the skills of social media are top of the list for most PR folk.  And it is not a simple task. 

The young, tech-savvy folk know how to use the tools, but don’t always have the experience to put together a strategic PR plan.   The more seasoned PR veterans need help with the new technology.  And even those who use computers every day and are quite tech-savvy find aspects of social media a challenge.   So social media training and coaching can be very helpful. 

We’ll be posting PR tips twice a week on the PRESSfeed blog

The first one is how to setup a NetVibes dashboard to monitor and tap into online conversations. 

If you are not yet using an RSS reader to collect data about your company and your industry, that would be the place to start. 

Here are two short videos that will help you set up a dashboard in NetVibes that you can use to find and collect mentions of your compnay/brand/industry/keywords online.


New Media PR Tips is brought to you by PRESSfeed – the social media newsroom. 

If you know other PR people who would find our blog and Twitter feed useful, please tell them about us.

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3rd May 2010

Twitter is a News Medium

Twitter is the new CNN, writes Lance Ulanoff in PCMag.com today. He’s referring to the study What is Twitter, a Social Network or a News Media? released at the International World Wide Web (WWW) Conference in Raleigh NC last week.

The researchers cite the definition of media as a means of communication that reaches or influences people widely.

In the summary of their findings the researchers point out that:

  • following is not mutual on Twitter
  • a few users can reach a large audience directly
  • most users can reach a large audience by word of mouth quickly
  • users talk about timely topics
  • the majority of topics are headlines

Adding your Twitter feed to your online newsroom makes a lot of sense

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27th April 2010

Media Releases and Online Newsrooms Evolving

Ian Capstick posted an excellent piece about news releases and online newsrooms in the PR column of the PBS MediaShift blog yesterday.  (And of course we were delighted that he chose a release about the Social Media Roadmap webinar series I did with Marketwire as his example.)

News Releases

Looking back at the history of the press release one can see that the way we format a release to reach the media has changed as the media has changed.  Back in 1906 press releases came into being.  They were specifically formatted as a way to get information to newspapers.  They were crafted for that medium  The releases were written in the news story format of an inverted triangle and the need to fit pieces of news into the layout of the paper was taken into account. 

Then came radio. PR agencies started to add recorded interviews and sound bites to releases sent to radio stations because that was what the medium demanded.  If you wanted radio coverage you figured out what radio journalists and editors wanted and you supplied your news in that format.  Nobody thought this was weird or that the press release had died.   It’s just smart PR.

Along came TV and the Video News Release was born.  Another smart move on the part of forward thinking PR people who stayed abreast of technology and the need to evolve with a new medium. Sending a TV newsroom a video news release in the exact format that made it easy for a news editor to use often got you the coverage you wanted. Companies sprang up to service this need and PR people had to learn a new skill – video news.

So why is the Internet and social media any different?  Why is a social media news release a strange and foreign idea?  It’s not a case of killing the press release.  It’s just presenting your news in the format that gets the best results.

As long as there are newspapers a press release will exist.  Radio stations still like audio releases and sound bites.  But now there are so many online opportunities for exposure  and most of them require content in multimedia format with embed codes. It just makes good PR sense to use a social media release.

Journalists today are under pressure.  Newspapers and magazines all have websites.  A website has a voracious appetite for content.  As an example, most stories in the Wall Street Journal say ‘More on wsj.com’. Print publications are extending their coverage online.  They have podcasts and video on their websites. Tthey have blogs Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. And that means they need more content and they need it in new ways.

Online journalists, editors and bloggers want access to news in a way that makes it easy for them to use it. PR people need to acknowledge the shift and learn to present their news in the format that best suits this new medium.

It’s not rocket science.  It’s just good PR.


The same evolution has applied to how we supply access to all our news content.  It started with printed press kits we painstakingly compiled and sent off to the media.  Then we had Electronic Press Kits in digital form, often on a CD.  Once websites became mainstream this moved to an online newsroom. That’s been the PR standard for at least six years now. 

But once again we’ve seen a big shift in technology. It’s time to move up a notch and make your newsroom a social media newsroom

  • Offer links to all your social content. (A recent analysis of  Fortune 100, INC 500 and Entrepreneur Hot 100 sites shows that less than 20 percent of the companies that are active in social media have links to this content on their websites.)
  • Publish all news releases in social media format on your own website 
  • Add all multimedia assets to your newsroom
  • Add these to your press releases
  • Optimize your news content for search so it can be found
  • Syndicate all news content in RSS feeds
  • Provide embed codes with images and video so bloggers or journalists can easily use your content

Take a look at the Society for New Communication Research social media newsroom

It’s not rocket science – it’s just good PR

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24th January 2010

Travelers Turn to Social Media

2010 is going to be a much better year for travel industry, says Travel Insights 100.  They’re an interesting group: a panel of 100 travel experts that includes activists, traditional media, independent travelers, and airline and hotel experts who have banded together to monitor travel insights and trends.

They’ve  made some predictions about travel in 2010:

  • Travel will begin to recover driven in part by a pent-up demand from those who have put off traveling due to economic concerns.
  • These eager travelers will still be looking for discounts and promotional pricing.
  • The big change? Where they’ll be looking.  Social media will be the game-changer for travel in 2010.

“Social media (Twitter in particular) will continue to reshape how destinations are promoted and companies will increase their participation in and creative use of social media.”

If that’s the case many  hotels have their work cut out for them.  We recently did an analysis of the top 50 hotel chains’ websites and social media activity  – only 21% are currently on Twitter and a scant 16% are engaging with their community.

That does not take into account the smaller hotel groups, bed and breakfasts or tour operators.

If you are in the travel business  now would be the time to update your Travel PR strategy.

And once you get your content out into the social web, update your site with a social media newsroom.

Image credit:  Idle type

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13th January 2010

World’s Best Hotel Brands Not Engaging their Audiences

Social media is tipped to be the marketing trend of 2010 – and not just in the hospitality industry.  Coke and Unilever are shiftng their budgets to social media this year.

Nick Rich, Intercontinental Hotels director of consumer insights for Europe, the Middle East and Africa says that with consumer technology continuing to evolve at a rate of knots and the average person carrying £850 of gadgets every day, keeping in touch is key for travelers.

“As a business, we understand the power of social media,” says Rich. “In 2010, there won’t be a hotelier anywhere in the world who doesn’t appreciate the influence and power of TripAdvisor. We monitor review sites like TripAdvisor to understand what we’re doing right and where we can improve. We know that an unhappy guest can become a loyal guest if we address their issues properly, even if it’s after their stay.  Twitter offers hotels an opportunity to reach more guests. A number of our hotels tweet special offers at their restaurants and spas for the first people to respond to tweets.”

Yet our study of the top 50 hotel brands reveals some interesting results:

  • 26% have news feeds available
  • 21% are on Twitter
  • 43% are on Facebook
  • 45% are on LinkedIn
  • 98% have videos about their hotels on YouTube
  • 36% have their own YouTube channel
  • Only 16% are actively engaging with their community – the rest are using social media as a broadcast medium (New media – same old marketing techniques)

We are way past the stage of wondering whether or not you need a social media presence.  If you are not on these major platforms it should be high on your list of priorities for 2010.

Get the social media “starter package” up and running:

  • A blog that has interesting and valuable information about your venue and destination.  Encourage comments and start a conversation
  • Monitoring software to keep track of all mentions of the brand
  • A news feed for your press releases and articles
  • A Facebook Page
  • A custom designed and branded Twitter feed
  • A branded YouTube channel where you host short, interesting video clips about the venue and the destination
  • A Social Media Newsroom to house your social content and post social media news releases

And make sure you are actually participating in the conversations, not just sending out more corporate messaging.

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18th November 2009

Social Media Strategy the Trend for 2010

If 2008 was the year of dipping the toes in the water and 2009 was the social media checklist approach, companies need to move up to the next level and start to integrate social media into their overall PR and marketing plans. It’s time to move beyond a social media presence, get strategic and really engage with your community.

“Resembling any in-person exchange, socializing requires more than just being there — you have to interact with others, instigate discussions, and respond during conversations. Our study implies value in social engagement on top of social presence — it pays to actively and continually participate and invest in your networks.”  Engagementdb study.

We’ve put together a social media resource page for PR people interested in the latest research and successful case studies.

And once you have engagement happening on all your social media networks, be sure to publish your company news in this format too – and gather all your social content on your own site in a social media newsroom.

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1st November 2009

RSS Feeds Get Google’s Attention


If you’re interested in better Google ranking put your content into RSS feeds.

We’ve long suspected that Google pays attention to RSS Feeds and a recent post on  their Webmaster Central blog confirms they have a feature that uses feeds for the discovery of new webpages.

“Using feeds for discovery allows us to get these new pages into our index more quickly than traditional crawling methods. We may use many potential sources to access updates from feeds including Reader, notification services, or direct crawls of feeds.”

If you do not yet have your news content in RSS Feeds it should be top of your list of action items for 2010.  In fact, get them set up now and be ready for the new year.  

The blog post also has advice on how the feeds and the site are programmed: In order for us to use your RSS/Atom feeds for discovery, it’s important that crawling these files is not disallowed by your robots.txt. To find out if Googlebot can crawl your feeds and find your pages as fast as possible, test your feed URLs with the robots.txt tester in Google Webmaster Tools.

We’ve seen many a feed incorrectly programmed, so make sure your webmaster or IT department is up to speed on the latest RSS technology.  Not only should the feed be crawlable it should also be immediately visible to search engines and your site visitors.  If they don’t see the feed on your site it can’t be used to get you faster indexing.

All feed content should be optimized for search and the feed should automatically notify the major feed aggregators when new content is entered. (Notification services is one way Google finds your feeds.)

If you have audio and video content, the feed has to have specific tags added so that your multimedia content gets indexed not only by search engines, but also by sites like iTunes.

Need help with your feeds?  Give Ryan a call on 626 793 4911.



Image Credit:  Derek Kwa/Flickr

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23rd October 2009

Social Media Newsroom – nonsense or necessity?



Online newsrooms first made their debut about 5 or 6 years ago.  Only the very early adopters had one back then, but over the years we’ve seen a rapid increase in the number of journalists who say a newsroom on a company website is absolutely essential.

Three years ago the idea of a social media press release was first discussed at the inaugural meeting of Social Media Club in Palo Alto.  The handful of us who attended that meeting,  including Tom Foremski who wrote the blog post Die! Press Release Die! debated the need for a new format.

Soon after that meeting Todd Defren of Shift Communications created the first Social Media Release Template, which got tons of downloads.  And he got lots of calls asking how to use the template – How can I fill this in?  Most PR peple are not geeks – we don’t know how to code.

Smart wire services started to offer the format as an alternative. But there still remained the problem of how to get a social media press release onto your own website.  Unless you had programming skills this was not possible.

If you have programming skills, or your IT department has the time and the inclination, you can customize a blog platform like WordPress and make a nice social media newsroom.  But it can take several months, sometimes even more than a year,  to get it  done.

Or you can use one of the media room platforms on the market and get one up in a few weeks.

Many of them are now adding social media elements. The one feature that tops the wish-list is the ability to easily make a social media press release with multimedia elements that a journalist can take and use. 

Journalists are increasingly expected to supply multimedia elements with a story.  Bloggers always want images and video.

If your social media newsroom offers them content in this format, with images andvideo that have embed code that journalists and bloggers can just cut and paste, your chance of getting coverage is that much better. And it’s one thing to have it on the wire, but you need it on your website too.

Nine out of ten reporters use the Internet to search for information when they write a story.  And they say they find the information they need less than 75 percent of the time. 

Make your newsroom more user and search friendly – get your press releases out of those PDFs.  Google does not like them and neither do journalists and bloggers.

In a recent survey from Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR),70% of journalists said they use social networks to assist in reporting, compared to 41% in last year’s survey.

69 percent of respondents go to company websites to assist in their reporting, while 66 percent use blogs, 51 percent use Wikipedia, 48 percent go to online videos, and 47 percent use Twitter and other microblogging services.

A big part of this jump is the result of newsroom cuts. Journalists have to wera more hats, they have less help to do their jobs, and they’re required to produce more content across various formats in near real-time. Journalists have no choice but to use these tools to find information fast.

Why not offer them everything they could possibly need and want in one place on your own website. It may seem like nonsense to many died-in-the-wool PR people.  But a social media newsroom has become a necessity in this new world of real-time access to information and news and changing communication models.

And as the media landscape changes, the practice of PR has to change too.


 Image Credit: Rabbie Radio

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