Laura Click

Customized Content for Each Social Media Channel

By: Laura Click | August 8, 2013 | 

customized content

By Laura Click

I recently read an article on Marketo’s blog about the need to modernize the traditional news release.

The article talks about whether traditional news releases are dead, and suggests marketers and PR pros should look at them through the lens of social media.

For instance, will the release headline stand out in the Facebook stream?

Can you distill the information down to a tweet that makes someone want to read more?

Personally, I think this post misses the point.

Instead of thinking about how to cater a news release to social media, we should focus on creating compelling customized content for each distribution channel.

News releases still hold a ton of value for communicating information to journalists and news outlets. However, the news release format will thud like a ton of bricks on your blog or social media channels. Likewise, writing the news release to cater to your social media audience might not give reporters the information they need to write a story.

That’s why it’s far more important to cater the content to each audience and channel.

Sharing Company News on Social Media

While you should still have the news release available in your online newsroom (complete with photos and videos), that content should be customized and shared differently on your social networks.

Let’s consider a fairly standard announcement a company might distribute through a news release – hiring a new executive – and how that information might be shared on each social media channel:

  • Blog: Instead of simply posting the news release on your blog, showcase a Q&A with the executive, including both business and personal questions. Or, you could have the new executive write the post to introduce herself to the community. Both options give readers the chance to get to know the new executive in a more personal way.
  • YouTube/Vine: Think about how you can integrate video into your content to make the announcement more interesting. For instance, you could offer a video introduction of the executive – either talking to the camera or in an interview format. This video could also be shared on the blog and through other social media channels.
  • Google+: What if you hosted a Google Hangout to allow customers, investors, reporters, and other interested parties to meet the new executive and ask questions? Consider this the modern day news conference or meet and greet!
  • Facebook/Instagram: Instead of showcasing the standard headshot, think like a photojournalist and show the executive doing something interesting. For instance, you could show him greeting employees, working in his new office, spending time with family, or enjoying his favorite hobby. Not only does this type of photo make the executive more human to your audience, it also makes for more compelling visual content.
  • Twitter: Certainly, you can share links to your blog post or news release. But, you could also take it one step further to allow your audience to get to know the new executive. What if you hosted a Twitter chat to allow people to ask the executive questions? Or, how about giving the executive the keys to the Twitter account for a day so she can share behind-the-scenes info about what it’s like to work in her new job?

Customized Content is Key

Whenever you create content about company news, think about the audience for each distribution channel. News releases work great for journalists, but sharing the information in another way may work better for your social media audience.

What do you think? How do you customize news release content for social media? Have you seen good examples of this?

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based marketing firm that builds and implements marketing strategies for B2B and service-based businesses. You can connect with Laura on Twitter or by checking out her blog.

  • Laura Click!!! You rocked that!!

    • faybiz TODD!!! It’s been awhile! How are you? And, thanks for the kind words. Really appreciate it. 🙂

      • lauraclick faybiz always good… nice of you to do something for Gert…

  • I LOVE these ideas Laura! Definitely going to pitch these to clients – great way to grow a community and let people get to know who is behind the brand.

    • yvettepistoriois Soulati | Hybrid PRallowed to say hullabaloo legally here?

      • Howie Goldfarb yvettepistorio Soulati | Hybrid PR I vote yes. There is always room for hullabaloo. 🙂

    • yvettepistorio Thanks, Yvette! So glad you found it valuable. You’ll have to let me know what your clients think about these ideas! Report back, okay?

  • I love all the recent hullabaloo about the news release. It’s important we keep it alive and share the truth!! Thanks for adding me to the mix up there, Laura. 
    I have no clue how someone could even consider “lensing a news release.”

    • Soulati | Hybrid PR News releases, FTW! 🙂 I certainly don’t think they are dead. But, it’s even more important than ever that we think about how we deliver the information in a relevant way. After all, we don’t always need journalists to tell the story for us – we can go direct to our audience now. 
      Thanks for stopping by, Jayme!

  • For 2 years I was trying to win movie business for a start up college marketing service. And I spent some time trying to understand the big budget marketing plan needed. Big budget so they have extra money floating around to hopefully use my service as one part of their efforts.
    They use TV, Radio, Print, Digital, Billboards, Sponsorships/Cross promotions, TV talk show release date tours, Social Media, media relations.. And every channel they use differently based on what the channel can do for them. And often their success hinges more on good marketing than a good movie. 
    I mean all those people saw Titanic. Possibly ranking with Gigli for worst movie. And it really was the marketing that separate the two. ginidietrich will agree.
    So yes I agree Laura we now have to be a multi-trick pony to succeed.

    • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich I’m also including a separate “like” for your Titanic review. It deserves it’s own.

    • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich I would agree you have to be a multi-trick pony. You just can’t ignore that social is how a lot of people want to receive the information.
      As for Gigli, I never saw it. So, I can’t help you on that one! But, I don’t think Titanic is the worst movie, is it?! “I’ll never let go, Jack….I’ll never let go!” 😉

  • Thank you, Laura. I remember somebody (was it Mitch Joel? not sure) recently said that he would never look at a news release again. He said that if it’s worth knowing about it’ll show up in his Twitter feed. Which is kind of scary news for PR people.
    So this was a nice breakdown of some different approaches.

    • RobBiesenbach Oh! I think you might be right that Mitch Joel said that. I’d have to go look. I don’t know that his point is right, but it certainly speaks to a shift in how people want to receive information. So, the bottom line is delivering it WHERE and HOW people want to receive it. 
      Thanks for the kind words, Rob! Really appreciate it!

  • I like your Q&A blog  showcase vs. just posting a release; it gives you the chance to make the information user focused and useful (asking questions that consumers want answered) and keeps the company from being insufferably self-referential

    • creativeoncall “Insufferably self-referential.” Wow. Well said.  I think a LOT of companies have problems with that. Thanks for the kind words, Chuck!

  • rdopping

    Sounds like a great way to build business for the PR and marketing peeps. 😉

    • rdopping Indeed, Ralph! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • susancellura

    I love this post!! News releases do still have a hold on journalists. I sent a social news release this week and several journalists responded. And I had fun on Twitter playing off the old “Bo Knows” Nike ad campaign as the product manager is named Bo. The company Twitter account received several retweets, so I’m hoping for even more engagement via leads coming in, requests for more information, etc.

    • susancellura Great idea, Susan! That’s proof that creativity and personality can really pay off!

    • susancellura I just want to say congratulations on a great week!  Fun, creative stuff there. That’s awesome.

      • susancellura

        DwayneAlicie Thank you!

  • alliteespring

    Awesome tips.  We’ve just moved all of our media efforts in-house after being extraordinarily dissatisfied with the generic messages that were getting out to our customers – no one wants to read the same headline or get the same content from a brand on all different platforms. Also never heard of a Twitter chat, think we’ll for sure have to initiative one as we use our twitter most often for customer service concerns.

    • alliteespring Thanks, Alli! So glad that you found this to be helpful. You’re right – the same boring headlines typically don’t work well on social media channels. If you can add an ounce of personality to what you share people will be far more likely to tune in. Good luck with your efforts!

    • alliteespring Hi! I don’t know what business you’re in but I can speak from the perspective of a frequent twitter chat participant – I love them! I suppose it depends on your goals as far as whether there’s a significant return on it for you but it’s definitely a way to get people who love your product talking … they’re big in the fitness community (for example #runchat every Sunday evening) and people are motivated to chat because (among other things) there are often fun prizes.

  • Love the Google hangout idea! I might have to try that one. 🙂 I also wholeheartedly agree that images on Facebook and Instagram need to be more compelling than just a headshot or logo. Make it interesting! Make me WANT to stay on the page or click the link to see more.

    • TaraGeissinger You’re right on about images, Tara. Images invite curiosity and interest. And, if nothing else, they stand out in the stream WAY more than a link does. If nothing else, images helps raise awareness about your piece of news even if people don’t engage or take action on it.

  • I am curious what your thoughts are on how to follow up on the different channels … once you have used different/unique methods of getting your word out on each. Especially it seems to me that Twitter calls for monitoring pretty closely to catch interactions that are generated by your tweets (but maybe that applies to all of these methods…..)

    • biggreenpen I suppose it depends on what you mean by following up. If you’re thinking about it in terms of pitching reporters, that’s one thing. If you’re thinking about it in terms of engaging your audience around the topic, that’s another. If you’re talking about the latter, yes, it calls for monitoring and responding to interactions and questions. Although the method for doing so might be a bit different for each, the concept is the same. Make sense? Does this answer your question?

      • lauraclick biggreenpen It does! Actually I think my question was more “thinking aloud” than a question. When businesses don’t interact on Twitter, it doesn’t matter what you say in the first place (customized or not). So yes you did manage to wade through my thoughts to get to the question and answer it. Thanks!

        • biggreenpen Oh good! Glad that helped. 🙂

  • These are some super-solid examples of ways to keep the audience in mind! And that is the most valuable thing we can do as communicators. I think people grow myopic and take shortcuts as soon as they are pressed for time (which is of course almost always.) But sometimes even just a few minutes of rethinking content for the different channels can make all the difference, and it’s worth almost any amount of effort to truly inspire the engagement … assuming we’re not talking about an eight-hour day for one item, of course. I’m blessed to have colleagues who do this really well, and it’s a pleasure to watch them in action.

    • DwayneAlicie You’re right, Dwayne. This doesn’t have to be rocket science. Giving a little thought to how the content can be catered to a particular audience or channel can go a long way. You make a good point about engagement too – if that’s the goal, then the way you approach the content will be very different than traditional means.

  • Great points, Laura! I’m often surprised at how businesses won’t adapt content to fit different platform requirements, let alone different audiences.
    I’ve also found that staggering releases of info across your different platforms can help generate some longer life out of events as well. Making sure your blog post is out at the same time or slightly before the release hits the wire can also help ensure that your company’s take on the event is at the top of search results.

    • dave_link Dave – great suggestions about how the timing of the information. That’s super important. I always like to post the announcement on the blog right before I send it out to reporters (or the wire) so those who receive it can also see that it’s on the website/blog. It helps validate the story and can also give another angle or quote that could be used. And of course, certainly all of this helps with the search aspect too.

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