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How Press Releases are Going Social
By: Christine Geraci
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Here's a great article from Jonathon Rick that appeared in Mashable's business section over the weekend, all about reexamining the traditional practices of putting together a press release. 
Among many other aspects of how we communicate, social media has essentially rendered the press release — in its tried-and-true, two-dimensional form — all but obsolete. But as the Mashable article points out, social tools do not destroy the press release. Rather, they challenge us to make press releases more personal and interesting.
You may have heard of "social media press releases," or might even currently use them. They've been around for at least the past five years, but seem to be much more mainstream today as an official information vehicle in a PR practitioner's arsenal. The Mashable article is a great resource, whether you're a seasoned pro or a bit more green when it comes to using social press releases.
By our observations, here's how social tools have transformed press releases from flat pieces of paper into dynamic vehicles for information:
They say bye-bye to paper. Social-savvy press releases are completely digital. In fact, "social media press releases" aren't usually labeled as such: They're also otherwise known as "blog posts" or "web pages." 
They talk with you instead of at you. Because social tools require your content to be conversational and, well, human, the tone of the press release changes. No more vanilla-flavored ledes with basic facts. Instead, they feature real-world examples, from real people. They seek to help members of the public make a visceral connection to the subject matter.
They feature other dynamic forms of media. Since making a visceral connection is so key, social press releases feature other forms of media — videos, photos, slideshows, etc. — to help relay their key points. Those dynamic forms of media help to increase the chances their messages will be consumed and subsequently shared. 
They allow the sharing of its parts as well as the whole. Attaching social sharing buttons to the top of a press release is a minimum requirement. Ideally, each component — the text, the video, the photos, the supplemental documents, etc. — will be attached to its own set of social sharing buttons to allow media outlets and blogs to cherry-pick what they want to share. 
If you regularly develop social media press releases, what else do you make sure they include?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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