If there is a what if category in your reading, you might file this there. In the three key part of the news stories you usually don't get, Matt Thompson highlights how documenting and sharing the longstanding facts would create a desire for news. These longstanding facts provide the true foundation of journalism, he writes. He goes on to list the other two components we miss:
- how journalists know what they know - the story behind the story
- the things we don't know - why don't more journalists ask questions in their stories and open up to what is not known?
Read his post, it's filled with great links to stories on the current conversation about health reform. As I was reading, I thought about Web sites and the blending of user experience with the layers of community interaction, and content curating. Right now, many sites are trying to focus on the billboard approach - filled with calls to action.
Creating desire is equivalent to creating demand. If there is one lesson in new media and our life online, it is that time and time over we go back to the places where we find value, we refer them to our network, we are more likely to become involved with those spaces, the people in them, and the services and products they talk about.
Are we still not making good use of the depth, that third dimension of the Web that opens us through links? How about mapping the user experience? Do we connect the dots? What are the longstanding facts behind your product's story? How do you get to the product in the first place? We are fascinated by the exploration of the journey, aren't we? Is the community involvement ready for that part we don't know about?
In talking with an experienced technology product development professional recently, we were saying that no new technology product works perfectly on day one. The beta phase, the moment when the product is released, is when we start the real development.
Logically in this context, I do wonder, is there opportunity to rethink the role of public relations?
Think about the opportunities:
- documenting the longstanding facts behind your service or product story - especially when the business expanded because of real customer needs and demand
- what were those issues and opportunities, who was there, what collaboration engaged?
- what remains open? This part could become the exact opposite of controlling the message, yet in a counter intuitive move, it might become the biggest reality check
The structure of the social media release would then change to contextualize the news into the larger play within the business, thus helping design it through interactions. The structure of the social media release is:
- News headline
- Keyword-rich introductory paragraph that provides relevance and context - this helps with finding the release through search
- Supporting facts - data, stats, research
- Embeddable video, audio and images
- RSS for company news
- RSS for more product info
- Related links
- Comments - maybe also include a link to a discussion forum or Google Groups
- Share this - Twitter, FriendFeed, Tumblr, Posterous, GoogleReader, Delicious
- Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and other relevant news aggregators and communities
- Blog and email this link
- Post in - Facebook, Beebo, MySpace, or a relevant social network for sharing -
- Contact: hcard, vcard, LinkedIn, Facebook
If you're thinking it's hard enough to agree on a piece of news, never mind organizing all of these details, you might be right. However, I see the digital medium as the ideal place to engage with your intended publics - reporters, individual professionals who cover your space (you better be reading their blogs), channel partners, and the public at large. In some cases, for some organizations, this may mean their local communities. And here's where the context comes in.
Imagine if the official release also started to include voices from the community. Developers who have worked on an application built on your technology, partners who are white labeling it, or those who are wrapping services around it, how about users? The business ecosystem presented in a form easy to interact with so that it can grow and expand in new ways/opportunities.
What elements would you add to a press release to make it more valuable to you?