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Social Media & Traditional Press Releases From the Edge

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My presentation at IABC’s international conference in June is on “edge” content. While most of you probably are familiar with the notion, it’s an alien concept to most people I talk to.

I use several examples when I talk about content on the edge and how it applies to the work of organizational communicators. One example is the classified advertising service EdgeIO. Under the old model, you sent your classified ad to a newspaper because the newspaper’s reach exceeded that which you could achieve with a 3×5-inch index card tacked to a community bulletin board in a supermarket.

Along comes the web and the process stays exactly the same. Whether you use eBay or Craig’s List, you still send your content for publishing in a central location. EdgeIO changes that model by letting you publish to your venue—your blog. With so many people publishing on their own, the content exists on the edge. By adding an EdgeIO tag to your used car, your vacation rental, or your casting call for that great video podcast you’re going to produce, EdgeIO finds your listing and adds it. You don’t have to send them anything.

Microformats work the same way. When Neville Hobson, Joseph Jaffe, and I had our geek dinner in New York last June, I created a listing using microformat tags and it appeared automatically in a calendar of upcoming events over at the Technorati Kitchen.

Still, these examples are a bit confounding for the typical communicator. Now there’s an example that will be easy to explain. Shannon Whitley, the guy behind PRX Builder (a site that lets you use a wizard to build a social media press release) has introduced FetchWire. I think Shannon pitched me about it; I’ve had a note to self on my desk for a while reminding me to blog about FetchWire. So I went and took a look this afternoon and thought, “Edge content for press releases.”

That’s the idea. FetchWire touts its value proposition this way: “Post a news release to your blog. We’ll fetch it and display it.”

so you have a blog. You want to distribute a press release. Post the release to your blog (presumably a social media press release, of course), adding the appropriate tags. The tags can link to your blog post or your RSS (or Atom) feed. The folks at FetchWire insist that people are subscribing to the service’s feed through the use of keywords; they provide a TagBuilder tool to make sure you add the keywords to your post that people are using in their subscriptions.

The Discussion Tracker lets you see who has posted a blog item about the press release you “distributed” through FetchWire. This clearly is an opportunity to get spammed via blogs: Nearly all the tracker items listed under one press release were links to online pharmacies.

Still, the interface is clean, the categories make sense,

I have no idea how many people actually subscribe or whether FetchWire stands a chance of turning the wire service model on its head. But it’s a simple example of edge content I can use in my presentation. And, I believe it’s further evidence that there’s a future in edge content that offers communicators a real advantage.

I sense a “10 list” on the horizon: “10 uses of edge content for communicators.” Watch for it.

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Social Media & Traditional Press Releases From the Edge
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