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Name the Press Release: Social Media or New Media?

At PitchEngine we're constantly trying to improve and implement social media tools into our PR efforts. One of the topics we're discussing is the new press release format - we'll call it "social media release" as that's been our working title to this point.

If you've been following this topic, you know a little about the social media release templates out there and what their purpose is. For the sake of naming this thing, I'll clarify what we're after.

The new press release or (social media release or new media release) is designed to be as Brian Solis puts it, "a new socially-rooted format that complements traditional and SEO press releases by combining news facts and social assets in one, easy to digest, and repurpose, tool."

Brian and creator Todd Defren refer to it as the Social Media Release, but there is also another angle to the naming convention. Does including "social media" in the name turn off journalists?

As I mentioned in a previous post "Why Social Media PR Gets a Bad Rap", In Deirdre Breakenridge's new book PR 2.0, she interviews Phil Gomes, VP of Edelman who offers up some good logic. He prefers the term "New Media Release" as opposed to "Social Media Release" and he may be on to something, since the "social" aspect is often misunderstood by journalists. Aside from technology bloggers and editors, most writers don't grasp the concept. Announcing that you're opening up a two-way conversation can be daunting, especially if it's with an unidentified PR hack eager to spam you. That said, the social aspect is vital to the future of interaction between media and brand - not to mention, brand and consumer.

I prefer the term Social Media Release as it describes the goal of the release more accurately. The downside of calling something "new" is that it won't always be "new". It also makes it seem like it's different or constantly changing.

What are your thoughts? New Media Release or Social Media Release?
Comment here, at PitchEngine or via Twitter @pitchengine and let us know!

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  • Liz Pullen

    Thanks for taking my criticism so well, Jason. To tell you the truth, I read Fast Company for Technology and Design news and sometimes forget that it is primarily a business magazine. I'm an idealist not a salesperson so I'm thinking of the human possibilities not a product/service's commercial potential.

  • Jason Kintzler

    Thanks Liz. I tend to agree, however take a look at it from this perspective. If you were going to offer PR pros an online product that allowed them to generate and share press materials that included interactive and social media content, what would you call the product? If you had to sell this product vs. another, how would the name differentiate it?

  • Liz Pullen

    I am very wary of this "social media", "2.0", "3.0" bandwagon. There seems to be a desperate aspect to it, as if marketers are afraid that they are missing out on some opportunity to communicate with potential customers. But the commercialization of social networking will be death of it, I think. It flourished (and I also think it has peaked) because the user had fun or was able to meet people with similar career, social, cultural interests which they could share. Or the user could use it to reconnect to people from their past. But putting pitches for products on these websites/services will be ignored by users or, at best, tolerated. It's like going to a playground and seeing toy advertisements on the slides and swingsets...there might be a commercial reason to do so but it just kills the experience. For most people, social media is not a shopping experience, it is about communicating with other people. JMHO.