The Haiku of Media Relations – Could Tweets be the New Press Release?
Is Twitter a replacement for the press release?
What if Twitter was not only a tool to distribute, seed and amplify messages and engage audiences, but also a tool to replace the press release?
From its early days, Twitter at its core was a communications tool used to spread messages. The possibility to embed short links (first through third parties such as bit.ly, then natively through the platform via t.co links) allowed Twitter to turn into the weapon of choice for distributing press releases to an audience online.
The rollout of the embed Tweet feature – announced in May 2010 – initially didn’t raise a lot of interest, but it meant media could not only relate back to a link, but embed someone’s voice and message in an article to list the source and quote people.
As a result, Twitter is now more and more used as a communication platform to push a message, and not only just a tool to share links. Politicians and celebrities learned to use Twitter to communicate directly with their audiences, and media learned to use these messages to augment their story, with the direct voice of the message’s author.
Twitter cards (that allows embeddin media straight in the timeline rolled out in May 2012) also offers great opportunity to share pictures, videos, Slideshare decks, etc.
Need to say something? You don’t need to plan a press conference or write up a press release; just say it on Twitter. Media follow Twitter actively and can embed your quote in their stories.
So, what’s left for the press release?
Press releases can still be an amazing tool. You can package a lot of content: there isn’t a 140-character limit, so you have room to provide details about the message you’re trying to say. If you’re clever enough, you can even embed additional content (videos, audios, pictures) and package information to facilitate the distribution of your story. It also has plenty of SEO benefits that should certainly not be underestimated.
But on the other hand, press releases are often too long, cumbersome, and inauthentic in their tone (let’s face it – the vast majority are). Therefore, the possibility to have the message reduced to its essence (in 140 characters) makes it a very appealing platform in a world where we have so many messages, emails, texts, and everything else competing for our attention.
They are also easy to embed in an article, are connected to community of followers, are part of a platform of millions of users, can be read pretty much everywhere, and above all – they are part of a conversation. They are connected to the audience and provide direct access to the author and contextual conversation.
A conclusion in 140 characters (or so)
Is the press release dead? Not yet, and probably not so fast. But depending on the context, Twitter should definitely be considered more than ever as a channel for communication for your messages. That is, as long as it’s part of a conversation and manages to catch the attention of your audience, 140 characters at a time…