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Aug 7
Examining The Social Media Press Release -- Part III: How Could The Healthcare Industry Use It?
This article is third in a three-part series focusing on SHIFT Communications’ introduction of the social media press release.

In part one, I focused on my experiences with the template and speculated about what will be required to make it ready for prime time. 

Part two featured exclusive commentary from SHIFT Communications, PRWeb and PR Newswire.

In part three, I will focus on whether and how the new format will be useful for the healthcare industry’s public relations activities. 

See below for the rest of this article.
In part two of this series, I asked Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications which industries he thinks the social media press release is best suited for.  He said that he thinks technology companies will get the most use from it.  I am guessing that he said this because tech outfits are most likely to fully understand and leverage the social media tools (e.g., del.icio.us) featured in the template.

Given my focus on the healthcare, I’ve put some thought into what companies/organizations would be most inclined use the new format.  As we have seen with blogs, podcasts, RSS and wikis, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt new technologies.  However, the social media press release may be different -- mainly because it it is very clear and enables media to quickly get to the meat of a story. 

Following are my initial guesses on how some players in the healthcare industry may use the new format for their public relations efforts. 

Healthcare Information Technology (IT) Companies:  Healthcare IT firms have traditionally been some of the most forward thinking in the industry.  I anticipate that these may be some of the first companies to adopt the new format.  They may find it useful for press announcements about products, services and other offerings. 

Communications Firms:  Communications companies may decide to try out the release for certain clients or use it to announce products, services and initiatives they are conducting.  This is because the format of the social media release helps reporters quickly hone in on communicators' key messages and report on a story accurately. 

Healthcare Non-profits: Robert French is currently helping Camp ASCCA, an Easter Seals camp for disabled youths based in Alabama, leverage social media technologies.  The American Cancer Society has employed blogs and the virtual reality program Second Life to help raise awareness of fundraising activities and new initiatives.  Given this, I wouldn’t be surprised if technology savvy healthcare nonprofits use the new format to communicate with their constituents.

Pharmaceutical/Biotech Companies:  While pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms have been slow to adopt Web 2.0 technologies, the social media press release may be different.  These companies must regularly churn out releases on clinical trial results, FDA approvals and other “bread and butter” press announcements.  I could see companies using the new format – especially the multimedia components – to provide investors and others with additional information without burying the news of the day.  They could include everything from relevant sections of their annual reports to quotes from local physicians involved in major studies. 

Closing Thoughts

Overall, while I believe that the social media press release is not yet ready for prime time, it does have great promise.  It is good that so many communications firms are working to improve the template and that the major newswires are supporting the new format.  However, it will be important to quickly develop a standard template to avoid mass confusion.  I look forward to seeing how the social media press release evolves in the coming months.

5 Comments/Trackbacks




This has been an interesting series. The new format seems like the next logical step for forward-looking organizations.

Nedra:

I'm glad you found the series useful. We'll see what happens in healthcare, especially as competing formats are eliminated and everyone agrees on a specific template.

The new template must be decided because of the confusion that might appear and although there are a lot of possible templates one will be selected. After all the competition is the best and it would lead to the best result. Anyway the series was interesting to watch. Keep up the good work.

The social media ad market is slow to take off, however, this report does not appear to account for the oodles of money that's flowing into MySpace programs. I don't buy a lot of these projections. Marketers can be fickle. If their competitors experiment and succeed with programs in these arenas, then the dollar flow can increase rapidly.

Greg:

Thanks for your comment. I'm a little confused though I'm talking about press releases and media/blogger relations, not advertising spend. Can you clarify your comment?

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