In response to The Social Media News Release explained in detail, Jonathan Rick asked me, “Isn’t this essentially the same thing that Pitch Engine offers?” Jason Kintzler then added, “Yes Jonathan, exactly! Did I mention you can do it all for free?!” (See Socialmedia.biz’s earlier writeup on PitchEngine: A social PR platform for the new era.)
Well, my response is the topic of this post today: “The article is only about the what and why of the Social Media News Release and not the how. Pitch Engine is a how!” I then added, “Pitch Engine doesn’t take away the work: writing/collecting compelling copy and assets. You do that work” and then “Our SMNR is just a platform and structure. 90% of one’s time should be spent writing amazing content” and then, finally, “Installing WordPress, an amazing platform, does not an amazing blog make; Pitch Engine is amazing but content is king.”
So, let me explain. Pitch Engine and WordPress are best-of-breed application platforms that make creating a Social Media Release and Blog seamless, removing the technology hurdle from the process. Those are good things, to be sure. However, after re-reading my SMNR post, I was reminded that it wasn’t about technology at all, it was about the collecting and presenting of relevant assets, copy, images, and videos; it was about organizing and branding an ease-of-use “steal all this content, blogger, and please post on your blog” microsite.
In fact, I made a point of showing how one doesn’t even need to spend all your time installing WordPress or some other database-backed website or web app — one can hack together a very valuable SMNR with just the most basic HTML, an inexpensive hosting plan, and a $12/year domain from a domain name registrar.
Why humanity trumps technology
It’s not about the technology, people! Hire and train people based on their ability to write and their ability to connect and engage people — who like people and care about personal, human, relationships. Signing up for Pitch Engine won’t write your SMNR for you, creating a profile on Twitter doesn’t make you an influencer, and installing WordPress doesn’t put you in the AdAge Power 150 or Technorati’s Top 100. These are all essential steps, but they’re no panacea.
If you’re spending more money on tech than talent, don’t. If you’re intimidated by technology, don’t be. If you think that Social Networking and Social Media is about apps and sites and smart phones and Twitter and Facebook and Google+, then you need to get past that and remember that it’s about people. Real fleash-and-blood folks who hunger to connect and relate. Yes, with each other, but also with you and your brand, products, and services.
Pitch Engine’s job is to make Social Media Release-making as easy-as-possible, tech-free, as possible. And they do an amazing job of it. The same goes for WordPress and Facebook and Twitter. If an app doesn’t make it easier for you to connect with other people, the app doesn’t work. At the end of the day, all these web applications are top-drawer, but they just make it easier — effortless — to do your job. They do not do your job for you and they often make folks lazier, more careless, and less concise. They tend to be enablers, enabling bad grammar, poor spelling, and just good enough editing. People should always write as though going to press and being printed on paper instead of just assuming you can always edit it later.
If you’re intimidated by technology, that’s OK. Social Media News Releases and Blogger Pitch Emails are more about the quality, simplicity, efficiency, and targeting of the writing, structure, and presentation of the page. Some of the most popular blogs online are Blogger and MySpace blogs, even though there are more sophisticated platforms. Why? Because what it is to be a blogger is to be a writer and not a technologist or programer. The same thing with digital PR and social media marketing. The most effective marketing campaigns combine the ability to write clear, compelling copy; understanding the target audience and their associated wants, needs, desires, and hunger; and knowing where the sweet spot in the market is — it is not about the technology. The tech is a necessary evil that must be transcended in order to ensure that the messaging is able to seamlessly reach the market without barrier.
Reporters don’t need to know how to run a printing press, news anchors don’t need to understand how a picture makes its way, as if my magic, to my LCD HDTV, and radio hosts surely don’t need to go out to get their Ham Radio License. And you don’t need to become an iOS developer, a web application developer, or a CSS guru, either.
Too many people in this space get stuck behind the technology barrier. They spend all their budgets on building the perfect web application, the best Facebook App, and on graphic design and architecture, leaving very little if anything on the best writers and the best marketers. Don’t get stuck in that trap.
Your social media presence, digital PR strategy, and social media marketing campaigns are only as good as your writers, marketers, PR professionals, community managers, designers, and creatives — the artisans — and not on the technologies — the tools. When I teach young college marketing and PR students in their communication schools, I remind them every day that all the things they’re learning in class, though possibly dated and old school, are still relevant because human nature is human nature and people are people and technological platforms are ephemeral and fleeting.
Learn the tools, surely, but don’t become obsessed with them. Shine the spotlight where it matters: people. Via Biznology.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.