Imagine having just one place to send the media, prospective clients, book reviewers, or anyone who wants to know all about you, your business, or your book—a place where they can: * View all your major media coverage. * See all of your past and present press releases. * Look up all of your past and future events. * Read and link to all of your book reviews. * Download multimedia material like photos, company logos, podcasts, vidcasts, etc. * View bios on each key person in the company, along with links to their social or business networking profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, Second Life, etc.
* Check out your own purpose-built del.icio.us page linking to other sites relevant to your business. * Subscribe through RSS feeds to any portion of information on the site.
* Share any content of the site with their friends or colleagues, via email or by posting to social bookmarking indexes like del.icio.us or Digg with one click. * Send you an instant message using AIM, Yahoo Messaging, MSN, Skype, etc.
* Link directly to your latest blog posts. * Search the site or the entire Web using either Google or Technorati. * Link to other blogs or Web sites that are relevant to your message. * See all Technorati tags related to your content. * Comment directly on your media coverage, press releases, and events. That place is a Social Media Newsroom (SMNR).
Similar to a traditional online newsroom, it lists media coverage, news releases, events, media contact information, and so forth, but also includes social media and Web 2.0 elements that allow visitors to share and interact with its content. The SMNR fulfills this traditional purpose while taking advantage of the tremendous indexing opportunities social bookmarking and RSS feed services like Technorati, del.icio.us, Digg, and Feedburner provide. Imagine that every entry made in your newsroom (all of your media coverage, press releases, bios, photos, vidcasts, podcasts, events, etc.
) was not only indexed in Google and all of the other search engines, but also in popular bookmarking and RSS feed services—accessible by millions of bloggers and Web surfers. This is the true power of the SMNR for entrepreneurs, small businesses, authors, and small presses—exposure. This fantastic exposure is a byproduct of the original reason the SMNR was created, but it has grown beyond a mere electronic repository. It has become the blueprint for the new media—a media that understands multimedia and wants a one-stop shop for every bit of material they will need for their coverage.
This new media wants something that is fully downloadable and print ready, easily shared with their colleagues, with links and searches that will lead them directly to more relevant information. Most important, though, they want a place that welcomes their comments and invites interactivity. If you already have a Web site with most of these features, you might wonder why you need a newsroom. First, a newsroom tells the members of the media and prospective clients that you are making a serious effort to make their jobs easier. A social media newsroom is akin to a press release, in that standardization is essential to allow for easy navigation and content extraction by the media. Second, as mentioned earlier, a social media newsroom (if built using a platform such as WordPress) means that each entry in your newsroom, from a press release to a simple image, can be automatically indexed in search engines, RSS feed indexes, and social bookmarking services, since each entry is itself a separate page of sorts.
This means someone can find your site by running into your company logo image, by searching for a blog on the subject of your business expertise, by looking up relevant sites tagged in Technorati or del.icio.us, or by searching for RSS feeds.
Think of it this way: You can have one lottery ticket in the pot or one hundred—you figure the odds. But, a social media newsroom should not replace your existing Web site. You still want a place for blogging and to have a more traditional place to present other information. You will also do all of your "selling" on your Web site. Your SMNR is not a sales tool! Your newsroom is meant to be a neutral place to present all of your media materials—just like a mega-press release. Many small businesses or entrepreneurs may not have enough media coverage yet to justify a complete newsroom, but that does not mean they can't take advantage of social media optimization.
These businesses and individuals should consider building their Web sites using a blogging platform like WordPress to power their sites. This provides all of the benefits of social bookmarking, RSS feeds, etc. and is a very easy way to build and maintain a feature-rich Web site.
Of course, the perfect scenario would be to have both!.
Deltina Hay is the principle of the companies Dalton Publishing and Social Media Power. She has worked in programming and Web development for 25 years. Ms. Hay's graduate education includes computer science, applied mathematics, and psychology.