IABC To Take Leadership Role with Social Media Releases

Iabc-logoToday it was announced that the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) will take a leadership role in furthering the development and adoption of Social Media Releases.

The existing Social Media Release Working Group was a loose collection of SMR advocates, each of whom found their good intentions stymied by the enormity of the task of furthering the SMR’s evolution (i.e., they have day jobs).  But the IABC is a network of communication professionals with more than 15,000 members in 70 countries and 100 chapters worldwide.  Which means that they just may have the clout, commitment and connections to truly “move the ball downfield.” 

According to my buddy Brian Solis:

“The SMR is a catalyst for not only providing a new tool to share news, information and content, but also creating a forum to discuss how to improve press releases in general.

“The whole point of this working group and aligning with the IABC is to create an official standard and process that the entire industry can understand and support, from creation to distribution to building stories.” 

And that’s a good thing.  There have been tons of examples of Big Corporations and wire services adopting the SMR, along with genuine adoption by some of the PR industry’s biggest names … but that hasn’t stilled the debate about whether SMRs are worth doing in the first place. 

However, the IABC’s active advocacy of an SMR standard implies that there will BE a standard; there will BE a future.  The SMR concept clearly has legs.

What does this mean to me, personally, in terms of my previously announced plans to unveil a “version 2.0” of our original template?

First off, I already have a “1.5” template that advances the current SHIFT template, but, personally I am not happy with incrementalism.  I am hoping to spiff it up even more, and debut a true “2.0” version sometime this Spring.  (If you are a total SMR geek and want to see the “1.5” template that now languishes on my hard drive, lemme know.)

As a part of the IABC Working Group, I will proffer these efforts to the IABC team, for consideration as part of the standard-making process.  Some of the ideas will make the cut, some won’t - but given the high caliber of my fellow Working Group members (many of whom are listed in IABC’s announcement), I am cool with that.

Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, I just want to throw out a huge round of THANK YOU’s to Brian, for being one of the SMR’s most active and articulate defenders; to Chris Heuer, for keeping the fire lit; to Shel Holtz, for his wisdom and support throughout; to Shannon Whitley, for his indefatiguable good humor and technical prowess; and to Tom Foremski, for lighting a fire under our collective butts to stop doing the same ol’ thing.  There are plenty of other folks that deserve thanks, but I can see a huge hook coming my way…

I know other bloggers are planning to write about this news.  I’ll update this post periodically to highlight their efforts.

UPDATE:  Shel Holtz has a thoughtful, candid post up.  As do Brian Solis, Dave Fleet, and Bob GellerTom Foremski reflects on the ride so far.

Posted on: March 5, 2008 at 11:13 am By Todd Defren
7 Responses to “IABC To Take Leadership Role with Social Media Releases”


  • keith childs says:

    Hi Todd,
    Congratulations! Great that the IABC are now behind it. Agree with Phil Gomes about the word social- for many people social just means blogs and Facebook. Maybe on the next template we can lose or replace the word.

  • What can I do to help?

  • Phil Gomes says:

    Like I said before… Worst thing that could’ve been done is calling it the “social media press release”.

    Even “new media release” works better.

    But the PCvMac energy around this is silly.

  • Todd,

    Many, many months after first downloading your template, I’ve finally actually executed on a SMR for a client this week. I’m not yet sure “how it went” or, frankly, how to go about answering that question. But the client totally grooved to the idea when we mocked one up for them and they were really excited to try it. (In fact, it was the mock up that really won us the biz in the first place, so thanks!)

    Anyway, I hope the IABC leadership helps move the initiative along. Thanks again for staying at the forefront and dragging us laggards along with you!

    And I would love to see version 1.5 of your template.

  • Lloyd Gofton says:

    Hi Todd

    My first reaction to this news was one of trepidation, why do we need leadership of what should essentially be an open platform to evolve and build using input from the masses? Will ‘leadership’ mean ‘ownership’ and lead to a single locked format, which is slow to evolve and quick to fall into the ‘good idea but couldn’t deliver’ file.

    However, my trepidation quickly turned to hope when i realised the calibre of people that were behind this leadership movement. This changed the situation for me. If i’m honest i think the SMR movement does need focus and coordination, perhaps leadership wasn’t the best choice of term, but the sentiment behind the message is correct. If the working group helps to educate the masses, build an inclusive platform and drive home the potential of the SMR, it certainly has my support.

  • Mallory Dash says:

    Excellent! Can’t wait to see whats next!

  • I think this really signifies a huge success for you, Todd. Congratulations!

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