A New Era for Public Relations

A press release is a key component of a public relations toolbox and is created for the purpose of disseminating information to the public and generating awareness. Here are a few examples of the types of activities that would warrant a press release:

  • When a company wants to announce a new or upcoming product
  • When a company wants to advise the public of a new merger or partnership
  • When a company wants to state its views on a certain issue

While press releases are still well suited for traditional media outlets, the advent of social media has cast doubt onto whether this tool has relevance on electronic platforms. Large blocks of text are difficult to read on a computer screen and, hence, rather unappealing to potential audiences. Moreover, because the conventional press release format packs so much information into one document, trying to pick out key points becomes an arduous task and deters web users from sharing the information with others.

To take advantage of the breakneck speeds at which Internet communications take place, companies and PR professionals need to repackage and tailor their messaging so that it is readable and sharable.

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. recently put out a press release in celebration of its recent fundraising event for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. To illustrate my points above, I have adapted this piece into a social media release:


A&W’s Cruisin’ for a Cause Day Raises Record $1.25 Million

  • A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is proud to announce that its fourth annual Cruisin’ for a Cause Day raised $1.25 million in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and its mission to be a leader in finding a cure for MS and enabling the lives of those touched by the disease.
  • A&W restaurants across Canada helped raise funds through the sale of cut-outs, customer contributions and donations of $1 from every Teen Burger® sold on August 23. Cruisin’ for a Cause (or le Rendez-vous A&W pour stopper la SP as it is known in Quebec) raised both funds and awareness of multiple sclerosis through a variety of events including classic car gatherings, retro music, car hop service and car hop relay races, and Great A&W Root Bear® visits.
  • In total, Cruisin’ for a Cause Day has raised more than $3.3 million over the past four years to help end MS in communities across the country.

4th Annual Cruisin' for a Cause Day: On Thursday, August 23, A&W's Cruisin' for a Cause Day raised over $1.25 million for the MS Society of Canada. On this day, $1 from every Teen Burger® sold across the country was donated to help end MS. Pictured here: Paul Hollands (left), President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada, and Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada, were joined by the Great A&W Root Bear® during the kick-off for Cruisin' for a Cause Day at Bayers Lake A&W in Halifax, N.S. (CNW Group/A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.)"

“The ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to this very important cause has been outstanding. On behalf of A&W, I would like to thank and congratulate all of our customers, staff, franchisees, car clubs, the MS Society and other supporters across Canada who helped us reach this significant goal.” – Paul Hollands, President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada

“When our partnership with A&W began four years ago, we had no idea how much Cruisin’ for a Cause would grow, or how much impact it would have in communities across the country. This year, over 750 A&W restaurants teamed up with us to make this day a success, and help us raise awareness and funds on behalf of Canadians living with multiple sclerosis. Thank you to the entire A&W family for their commitment to further MS research and to help support those touched by MS.” – Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada

For more information:

Claudette Villena
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
claudette.villena@mssociety.ca
T: 416.922.6600×3177
C: 416.996.0400
Brenda Jones
Hoggan & Associates
bjones@hoggan.com
T: 604.739.7500
C: 604.312.1070

Do social media releases carry the same amount of professionalism and authority as their conventional cousins? And as a general rule of thumb, should all press releases be created in both traditional and social media friendly formats? In which instances would one format be preferable over the other?

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1 Comment

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One response to “A New Era for Public Relations

  1. After reading your post, I think depending on your industry and what kind of audiences you are trying to reach, the question of traditional vs social media press release will vary. For example in the TV industry the use of social media releases are a great way to engage audiences with multimedia content (ie images, videos, and promos) and reach a larger audience. In addition, social media releases seem to be more functional, more focused and have the ability for faster distribution.

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