I (Dallas Foodie) recently received the slightly offensive email, below, from a publicist. This email is similar to others I’ve received from publicists whose goal is to get social media influencers to share their press releases. Instead of replying to this one PR agent, I am posting my response as a blog in hopes that other public relations agents will understand what they are asking and how they can write more effective PR emails for social media influencers.
Here is the basic format of the PR email I received today:
Is there any way you can post this event on your facebook?
[Publicist name and contact info]
[Press Release Title/Event Name]
[Press release attached as Word doc, PDF, or text copied into email body]
PR and social media marketing can work wonders together, but this approach doesn’t fulfill their potential. Key ideas are shown below in bold.
This sounds like a very nice event/promotion/charity/product, but let me share a social media marketing tip with you: when you directly ask a social media influencer to post something, it turns most people off. It’s like a stranger asking for a favor, a homeless person asking for spare change, or a spam email. Social media is about people’s organic willingness to post content that they and their audience find relevant, interesting, and sharable. As soon as you outright ask someone to make a post—even if it is a relevant, interesting, and sharable topic—the organic nature of that post is lost, and then we start to blur the line with sponsored/paid content. Feel free to send me press releases, just please don’t ask me to do anything with them.
Also, I understand that the content of your email was formatted for print media, but that isn’t very useful for social media. For example, your Word/PDF document can’t be inserted in a Facebook post or tweet. I’m not a news web site, so I won’t copy and paste your press release into my blog, and then write a Facebook post and tweet with a link pointing readers to my blog. Besides, this method drives all the traffic back to my blog instead of to your client’s web site. That’s not a great SEO strategy for your client.
A better way to write PR emails for social media influencers is to provide a link to your client’s web page/blog with the press release copy (text) visible on that page. An even better approach is to send a sample Facebook post and tweet that includes a bit.ly tracking link to your web page. Then it’d be easy for me to post your news, and you’d be able to see how many people clicked on your link.
In the case of your press release about an event, you should provide a link to an event details web page where people can buy tickets. Some events don’t sell tickets online, but when I found a ticket-selling page for your event and saw that you didn’t include that page in the links in your email, that is the moment when I decided that writing this response might have a more positive impact than writing a post for your event.
The slightly offensive part to me personally is that you specifically asked me to post this to my Facebook [Page], yet Dallas Foodie publishes content to seven social networks and a blog. Facebook isn’t even my biggest audience, so I assume you must not know me very well… yet you are asking me to do you a favor, plus a lot of extra work to make that favor a reality.
I hope you found this information helpful enough to share with your publicist friends. Sharing this info would make the world a happier place not just for you and me, but for your clients and all of the people who miss out on hearing your news because you email social media influencers with content formatted for print journalists.
Danielle Glick, A.K.A. “Dallas Foodie”