Using the media – online

I had a quick chat with Anna at Labour behind the Label whilst running a couple of workshops for them earlier in the month. I was running a session on using the media, she was running one on using new media. However neither of us planned to cover the relatively recent phenomenon of the social media press release. I promised to send Anna some links, which I thought I’d also share with you.

The social media press release differs from the traditional release in that the traditional media are only one of its targets. In fact it’s primarily aimed at getting your story picked up by bloggers and from there spreading through the full range of social media. Like so many other innovations, it’s being widely used by corporations but perhaps less so by campaigners and activists. So maybe time to change that?

So, to the links….

Articles: You could do worse than start with Muhammad Saleem’s How To Write a Social Media Press Release. For some arguments for the idea, and a bit more on technique read Brian Solis’ posts The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases and The Future of the Social Media Release is in Your Hands.

Template release: You can download a template releases from Shift Communications

There are also a number of services out there who will distribute your release for you. I can’t speak to their quality or their ethics so won’t name any here.

If you’ve had experience of using the social media press release in an activism context, please share it here.

If you know of open source, free, and/or community minded services that will distribute social media releases, let us know and we’ll spread the word.


Spreading the message

Photo: Labour Behind the Label

Saturday, London: Labour Behind the Label were holding a campaigners weekend and asked Rhizome to deliver some of the skills training.

To that end we ran short sessions on using the media and another on successful street campaigning. The latter’s one of my favourite workshops.

Photo: Labour Behind the Label

How difficult can handing out a leaflet be? For answers we looked at the participant’s own experience of on-the-street interactions, whether with leafleters, beggars, Big Issue vendors, or the notorious street fundraisers. Sadly people have a wealth of negative encounters to draw on. Then we practiced with a focus not just on what we say but tone of voice and body language. Then back into thinking mode for sharing strategies for dealing with ‘awkward’ people. Then back into roleplay mode with participants trying out some of those awkward roles and the strategies needed to deal with them effectively.

The weekend was evaluated at the end of Sunday. I’ll be speaking to LBL staff soon to get some feedback.