28 Dec 2011

How to use Twitter for Press Releases

By Lauren Dugan at Media Bistro:
Twitter is changing the PR world, offering a new, direct line of communication between businesses and consumers. And while the low-cost, low-risk aspect of Twitter as a PR and marketing vehicle is appealing, you’ve got to know how to use Twitter for press releases if you want to stay ahead of the curve. We’ve got some dos (and some do nots) for you to help you get exposure for your press releases on the microblogging service.

Synthesizing Twitter releases with traditional press releases

It isn’t enough to write 140-characters announcing your latest company news or product and hope that followers “get it”. In most cases, you’ve got to attack from several angles.

While some say the press release is dead, it appears to be transforming, not dying. It needs new life in the form of complimentary tweets to boost its circulation.

If you want to use Twitter for your press release, write the actual release like you usually do. Then, use Twitter as a complimentary channel for distribution.

An anatomy of a press release tweet

So, you’re ready to start using Twitter for press releases? There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your tweeted press release is a success.

You are working with only 140-characters on Twitter, while your traditional press release clocks in at 500 words or more. You’ve got to distill this information into bite-sized chunks in order to get your Twitter audience interested in your press release, without misleading them as to its content.

A good idea is to take 4 or 5 core ideas from the press release and condense each into a single tweet, leaving room for a link to the press release itself. Consider using interesting statistics or facts that will make your followers want to learn more.

To make it clear that this is part of a press release, you can begin each tweet with something like “RELEASE:”. This will prepare your followers, so they aren’t taken aback when your link leads to a press release.

When creating press release tweets, remember that your followers aren’t necessarily as excited about this as you are: don’t inundate them with 10 tweets in a single blast. Rather, spread out each press release tweet by several hours or a full day, so your followers aren’t overwhelmed. Staggering your press release tweets will also increase the number of total Twitter followers who see them.

Press releases on Twitter: What not to do

There are some notorious no-nos when conducting PR and marketing on Twitter, many of which apply to press releases as well.

For instance, you shouldn’t release your press release only on Twitter. Sure, celebs are getting coverage right now for going to Twitter for their baby bumps before the entertainment media, but you’ve got to really consider your audience: are they all on Twitter? With Pew Research stats indicating that about 8% of adult internet users in the US are using Twitter, probably not. Use Twitter as a complimentary, not replacement, distribution platform.

Also, try not to give in to too much Twitter “slang” when releasing your press releases on the microblogging platform. Sure, you might have to condense a word or two, but you want your press release tweet to be intelligible to Twitter elites as well as novices.

And finally, don’t start tweeting press releases until you have a solid plan and analytics in place. You’ll want to measure just how many eyeballs convert from Twitter to the actual press release, so be sure to have some way of measuring how many users click on your link, at the very least.

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