Social Media Release Template, version 1.5

SMR 1.5I didn’t think I would ever do this; the original Social Media Release (SMR) template took on a life of its own and I assumed that beyond evangelizing for the format, my “creative” work was done. 

But, as I’ve been awestruck by the adoption of the first template by some Big Brands, gratified by the response of the wire services, and energized by the many debates surrounding the SMR, I’ve learned some lessons that could inspire a fresh look at the original version.

Version 1.5 of the Social Media Release (download it here) has several purposes:

To further atomize the content: note that each of the substantive chunks of content (e.g., the core news, the different multimedia elements) are now shareable on an individual basis, empowering people to borrow liberally from its diverse content, for their own purposes.  You like the SMR’s embedded video; you want to embed it on your own blog, but feel no compunction to link to the SMR as the original source?  You want to cite the “core news” without the multimedia sizzle?  Now you can.  Slice & dice, splice & remix.  The newsmaker’s content becomes yours to play with however you like. 

To highlight the importance of engagement:  note that Version 1.5 includes a permalink to the newsmaker’s online newsroom, which should be powered by a blogging engine to enable moderated comments and trackbacks.  While a handful of wire services either already enable comments (or plan to), honestly the best place for folks to discuss the news is at the newsmaker’s own site, which is not only an “official” spot for conversation but also serves to aggregate any directly-related posts via the trackbacks/pingbacks (a.k.a. “blogs that link to this news”).

To emphasize flexibility:  perhaps the biggest complaint about Version 1.0 of the SMR was the suggested use of bulleted text, versus the traditional narrative format of traditional releases … while I still prefer bullets, it’s totally fine to stick with the narrative approach if you can incorporate the much-more-important components of interaction and shareable media.  Remember, this is merely a template: discard any elements that don’t work for you!

To account for technology changes:  the universal “Share This” widget (many variations exist) are great ways to allow end-users to post/share information in their preferred format.  In addition, since the publication of Version 1.0, we’ve seen services like Twitter and Facebook make a big impact on the social networking scene.  While such socnet stars are only beginning to achieve true mainstream adoption, it’s cool to envision a day when we could not only read an executive spokesperson’s official quote, but also have the option of following them via their twitterstream or personal blog. 

Additionally, the inclusion of an OPML feed allows the reader to instantly subscribe to all of a company’s official blogs.  (Per the Blog Council: “What do you do when hundreds or thousands of your employees have personal blogs?” – at least one answer is: make it easy to find & track them all!)

To provide greater context:  it’s one thing to offer trackbacks, since those links clearly are relevant to the news release.  But to provide even more value to the reader – especially to writers who may want to draft a big article or blog post – why not offer a “Sphere It” link?  Sphere offers readers a chance to look at related news from the blogosphere and mainstream news sources.

To tighten things up:  another challenge for Version 1.0 was seeing some companies overdo it in terms of “relevant links” … Thus, in part in homage to the scalpel-sharp editing enforced by services like Twitter, I’m suggesting the optional inclusion of “3 Links That Matter” to give readers more info, context, etc.  If you only get 3 links, you’ll be forced to make ‘em good links, eh?

Note that part of the concept here is to show how a SMR might be displayed within a corporate newsroom.  But it’s a 1–page template, folks: for example, I am not suggesting that moderated comments scroll alongside the right-hand nav-bar: items like Comments and Trackbacks likely ought to be tucked under the main SMR content. 

As always, this template is offered for free to the community.  No copyright b.s.  “Hat-tips” are nice but not necessary.  Make it your own.

Hope ya’ll like Version 1.5 of the SMR.  I am submitting it to the IABC working group for their consideration.  Meanwhile, you can contact me directly, or via the comments below, with your feedback!  Or, grab me at NewComm Forum next week to discuss.  Meanwhile I’ll do my best to track any reactions on our page.

Learning something?  Like this post?  Great!  Are you subscribed?  Are you sharing, using that li’l universal widget below?  Thanks!!

Posted on: April 18, 2008 at 1:58 pm By Todd Defren
33 Responses to “Social Media Release Template, version 1.5”


  • markmedia says:

    Twitter Comment by @markmedia (Mark Comerford)

    @Sarah_Hartley SMR example [link to post] #dontpanic

    – Posted using Chat Catcher (

  • Hemchandra Shetty says:

    Dear Todd,

    Your work on social media is really informative,insightful and genuinely useful,Thanks for sharing this with us.

    We are working on broadening our base in the social media field, I am from India and I work for a PR agency. With the winning of Mr Barack Obama and the effectiveness of the social media, we are looking forward in implementing the same to our clients who come from the category of Coporates, Banks, Financial Instituitions , Mid-Segments and other.

    Not only will these provides us the broader perspective about the decision , habits and the mindsets of influencer but it goes in long way of giving the brand recall and over a period of time , this recall will help all of our clients understand the need for rich content, RSS and intensive pre-planning … thanks again for showing the path in using it in a better way.

    I can be reached on,

  • John J says:

    I have been looking for a new way to write press releases to the social media instead of the standard one. Thanks; this is a big help for my marketing and my website branding.

  • Thanks for this – I’ve been following the evolution of the press release since Tom’s DIE PRESS RELEASE! DIE! DIE! DIE! article was first published.

    The problem I’m facing is that I’m not sure the newswire services really get it enough to support these initiatives. They’re jumping on the bandwagon, but do they really understand that this is a fundamental shift in philosophy? Not so sure …

    Have tried one of the two major newswire services here in Canada and spent a week trying to get them to fix the mistakes, coming to the realization that the mistakes made were an indication of lack of comprehension – hope the second one is the charm.

  • The Social Media Press Release: What Is It And Why You May Need It

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  • The Social Media Press Release: What Is It And Why You May Need It

    The Social Media Press Release is an evolved approach to preparing press releases characterized by a multimedial and facts-oriented approach. The typical social media press release integrates video clips, bookmarks, citations, blog posts, multiple link…

  • Peter Kao says:

    I first found out about your Social Media Release Template in an article by Hubspot. Thanks for sharing!

    I will be using this template for my interactive ad agency – Influenza Media (

    Peter Kao

  • I am so glad I found your website. I think everyone needs to consider using a Press Release to help them with their online success. It is the most easy and quick way to get on top of the search engines. I will be bookmarking your page. thanks.

  • Tom O'Brien says:


    Came here from Brian Solis’ article today – nice work – especially since I am working on one right now!

    Thanks – TO’B
    MotiveQuest LLC

  • Tom O'Brien says:


    Came here from Brian Solis’ article today – nice work – especially since I am working on one right now!

    Thanks – TO’B
    MotiveQuest LLC

  • Mike says:

    Am I stupid? I don’t get what it’s supposed to look like. Do you send images (boxes) that are hyperlinked or include full links (which can be very long – ie more than the width of the boxes)?

    What about PR wire services that dont’ allow, is this for sending only to your own contacts?

    Help! :)
    Mike the dummy

  • Chad says:

    I like the new version, but I have a few questions:

    Whats the benefit for using both rss and opml news syndication? I have a few more questions about this, but perhaps this would be better suited for a twitter converstaion so others may partake.

    Let me know what you think…my twitter user name is genYnot.

  • Mattias says:

    It’s always interesting to see the developments of the SM(N)R.

    In my mind the main improvements from template 1.0 are a stronger connection between the SM(N)R and the organisation’s online newsroom. Also for it to truly be a social media I believe a possibility for comments (initiating a two-way dialogue) must be present, which is the case in this version.

    Great job Todd!

  • Matt says:

    Does anyone know of any free PR submission sites that allow you to upload the html, like the template for the smpr?

  • Hi Todd,
    I caught your post on the Social Media Release and I blogged on it (in French Canada). Your template has caught the eye of many PR practitioners in Quebec. I wonder though if you have been succesful at convincing clients to adopt this form of release. How did you convince your client ? Please share.

  • nicole says:

    i love your blog posts because they always teach me so much…thanks for the link to sphere, i think it will be very helpful!

  • Michael Ihrig says:


    I’m really interested in the social media release but I believe it to be wishful thinking than a possibility in my line of work. I work in public relations for a small liberal arts college in Northeast Ohio. Don’t get me wrong, I think this would be a great tool but I’m concerned about the time and resources it would take to properly put together a social media release. We have a small operation with a tight budget. Not only are time and resources an issue, we have an older model of public relations in place that the higher ups are set on. It would be a difficult sell for me without adequate research. Has there been research done on the success of SMRs? I assume it is ongoing since the SMR is still a new concept to most. Do you have any recommendations for shops with limited resources? Thanks.

  • Excellent update, Todd. Hopefully PR Newswire and PRX Builder will quickly adopt this template! By the way, your comment rating widget is great!

  • Lou Veyret says:

    Hi Todd,

    This updated social media release template is fantastic!!

    It’d be great to have a list of companies that adopt this new version (like you did with the last one).


  • mario soma says:


    We are working on a project in Brazil mixing SMNR and PRXBuilder concepts. V1.5 will be very useful.

  • Stuart Bruce says:

    Good update. I especially like your comment about flexibility and bulleted text. That was always the element that just didn’t work for me. It’s what suits different individuals, but for me the bullets just make it slightly harder to quickly scan the story and a lot harder for ‘most’ people to edit it and use it how they want.

  • David Weiner, PR Newswire says:


    Not only will these changes move the discussion forward, they will help all of our clients understand the need for rich content, RSS and intensive pre-planning … thanks for keeping your eye on the ball.


  • Todd,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Like a previous commenter mentioned, this is just in time for the final assignment for one of my Public Relations classes.


  • Hooray! This is just in time for the podcast assignment my group is doing for Quigley’s class. We’re actually producing a vodcast about how to create a Social Media Release. Thanks, Todd!


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