Thursday, July 23, 2009

Twitter-Sized Press Releases- The Future of PR on Twitter?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

This Mashable article by Jennifer Van Grove is about an interesting new feature connecting journalists, PR professionals, Twitter and the infamous press release.

“Are Media and PR Pros Ready to Embrace the Twitter-Sized Press Release” is about the Web site, Muck Rack which is a type of ‘tweet aggregator’ designed specifically for journalistic tweets. A tweet aggregator seems to be much like a blog aggregator such as Bloglines that I have written about in past posts. An aggregator provides a place where you can subscribe to many different journalists and follow them from one Web site.

PR partner, PepsiCo and Muck Rack just announced they are going to offer one line press releases “up to 130 characters long that can include links to other media and press kits, at a rate of $1 per character with a $50 minimum.”

The advantages? As far as Van Grove and I can see, there are very few. Right now, if you or your company has many followers through your Twitter account, then it may not pay to use Muck Rack but instead use your own account to relay news and information. Also, my colleague Katie Noonan pointed out that if you can use sites like Bit.ly and TinyURL.com to create shortened URLs to link to full press releases on Twitter, then why would you want to limit yourself by using a 130-character release on Muck Rack? At least until the site has the traffic, and then maybe as a supplement to Twitter, but not as a substitute.

I do think this is an interesting concept however. A site for all journalists using Twitter seems like a good idea for one stop news sharing. But I reviewed some of the article comments and one user, “fourzerotwo” or Robert Bowling, Director of Communications / Community Manager for the video game development studio, Infinity Ward made an interesting point by saying PR practitioners should be encouraged to make more personal connections, not just put out information in yet another form. Another user “Population” said that right now Muck Rack doesn’t seem to have enough followers to offer any clout for PR professionals, but was tempted to follow Muck Rack just from the article.

With time, if more journalists sign on and follow Muck Rack however, it could become extremely useful. Also if PR practitioners only release specific news through the site, there could be a significant rise of people paying to send out small press releases.

I’ll be standing by and following Muck Rack myself to see where things lead!

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