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Industry Opinion: Has Twitter Become The Press Release For Executives? [Repost]

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Originally posted on our sister publication PR In Canada.
Last week we posed the question, “Has Twitter Become The Press Release For Executives?” Wait, did you read the article? If not go read it now, we’ll wait…. (and start the planning for our 4th Annual Summer Social and Top 40 Under 40 Reception).
After we wrote the article it only made sense to get the opinion and observations from a few seasoned practitioners, below is their responses:
Courtney (MacNeil) KhimjiJennifer BrownKirk Allen
Courtney Khimji, Founder & CEO, Chimera Collective (Marketplace Listing)
Jennifer Brown, Founder, jbmarketing (Marketplace Listing)
Kirk Allen, Co-Founder, Reshift Media (Marketplace Listing)

 

PR In Canada – We are seeing executives turn to their social media (Facebook, Twitter) profiles to report company news. Why is this happening?

CK – It’s the most agile way to communicate. When it’s breaking news, social is the most efficient way to get the story out and particularly in larger companies, it can save having to go through time-consuming approvals.
JB – I’ve seen all my clients move away from established wire services for press releases and announcements. Clients have ‘branded’ social and email distribution, so they aren’t interested in the $12,500 package (10 releases/year) with the leading wire service. If they do use a wire, it is chosen purely on cost, because Google aggregates everything anyway. Often, they only distribute through social and email but do use the Facebook/Instagram boosting feature because it reaches a few thousand eyeballs for a fraction of the cost (i.e. $50 video boost will reach 3,000+).   Recently, a Co-CEO I work with has been adding content to his personal LinkedIn account, because it gets a lot of client interaction and he’s amassed a few thousand followers. As PR professionals, we have to serve up the content (i.e. releases and announcements) in a format ready for social channels with perfectly sized images (i.e. LinkedIn 600 x 322 pixels for an article).
KA – It’s a great way to communicate with your customers without the somewhat stilted, formal structure of a typical press release. More and more, people want to feel a connection to the brands that they support, and social is a great way to put a face to the company, humanize executives, and make them seem more approachable. Plus, social media allows executives to expand beyond just the facts of the press release. They can reveal why the news is important to them personally, the process for how the team worked to get to that point, etc. It allows for more of a storytelling element, which works as a nice companion piece to a traditional release.

PR In Canada – Have you turned to social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) to post company news?

CK– Yes, I do it regularly. My agency shares all of our news on our Instagram (@chimeracollective) and Twitter (@chimera_co) pages in real-time, often as a complement to a press release or sometimes even as a substitution for it. It’s more visual and interactive, and can prompt personal conversations with media and influencers that help build strong relationships.
KA – Absolutely! Whenever we have announcements we tend to post them on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook before turning to more traditional press release distribution. The people who follow our social media handles are most likely to be interested in our latest releases and news, so it makes sense to approach that audience first.

PR In Canada –  What does it mean for the public relations industry?

CK – The pace keeps getting faster and faster, which is a good but challenging thing. There’s more news, more content, and more platforms…but less outlets and less resources, which means that PR pros need to step up their game.
JB – As long as you keep your skills up to be channel-agnostic, your role as a PR professional will not diminish and may grow with new services for distribution.
KA – Executives who communicate directly on social media aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, I think we’ll see more and more people in leadership roles embrace social as a new way to interact with their customers. People look to social media (especially Twitter) for breaking news; if there’s a story developing about your company’s latest announcement, why wouldn’t you want to be the one to deliver it, instead of waiting for a traditional outlet to grab onto your press release and put their own spin on it?

PR In Canada –  Is there a way that public relations people (brand or agency) embrace and work with these “digital” executives?

CK – Of course. We all need to be thinking digital-first and pitching stories that work across all channels.
JB – As long as you keep your skills up to be channel-agnostic, your role as a PR professional will not diminish and may grow with new services for distribution.
KA –  Possibly, we are not a public relations agency, so now out core area of strength.


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