New Media Release: Not quite like herding cats…

In reviewing a few of the trackbacks and incoming links on the New Media Release Blog posts, I found a comparison of this process to herding cats, which I have heard elsewhere in my conversations about this.

That may or may not be fair. At any rate, I will point out that it is pretty impressive that PR professionals are actively organizing practitioners within the industry to create a standard template for the Social Media release to the benefit of the PR industry. Next step, herding cats!
Previously: Die Press Release Die (Which of course means “the Press Release, the”)
New York University PR forum: PR pros unite! Nerd Power!

Herding cats is too easy these days now that we have Cat Herder 2.0 (jk) 

I actually disagree with that sort of assesment at this point, but perhaps I am still naive and overly optimistic.  The reality is that everyone I have spoken with understands the need to do this as a community project, but we are still at a very high level of discussion, so we will see how things start to shake out once we get more specific.  There are some very valid concerns I have heard from Jeremy Pepper, Ronna Porter and others, but nothing that would suggest this is the wrong path to take despite some vehement objections to the idea of change itself.  In fact, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, especially in regards to the practicioners leading these efforts rather than the tool makers (though I remain hopeful that everyone with some interest here can become involved in the discussion).

I thnk the key is that we are really just dissecting a lot of standard practices and the contents of the press release within the context of modern multimedia communications channels.  There are not many ways for one person or one firm to gain a competitive advantage from the standard itself – the real advantages will come from those who understand how to adapt and leverage the new format for their unique client situations. How the standard is used by firms like PR Web, Businesswire, PR Newswire and other emerging entrants is where things get really interesting.

In a world where standards are open rather than proprietary, creativity, experience and business smarts will still win the day – so rather than providing a competitive advantage to one organization over another, this effort really will be good for everyone involved.  There are several practical and strategic benefits for defining and adopting a standard format for organizational communications. At its core though, a standard will make it easier for journalists and people who are passionate about an organization, product or topic to talk about it via traditional and social media channels.  That may be an oversimplification given the disruptive nature of the work and its inherent opportunities, but from my perspective, that is the key driver – to reduce the friction between an organization with a story to tell and a non-partisan story teller’s ability to tell the story of the “announcement/news” from their own perspective.

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  1. #1 by Adam Berkowitz - July 10th, 2006 at 16:40

    Dear Chris,
    I most certainly laud your efforts. I would assume creating a unified front and organization in the matter will most certainly be beneficial to future campaigns and the field as a whole. The only exposure I have to the field are through those who teach it (I’m a student) and they have struck as very capable but not entirely organized. Hence, my skepticism about it. Also, I’m a new yorker and we are skeptical about everything. It’s just how we roll. However, if the preliminary stages of the Social Media Club (i really like the design and the incorporation of flickr) are any indication I’m sure it’ll be successful.

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