Maggie Fox asks whether a site for social media sharing makes a good press release (here). The idea is that making images and video available for sharing enables traditional press and well as bloggers to spread the news – and that is after all the purpose of a press release.
Conceptually it’s a great idea.
What’s needed to make it successful is content that evokes sharing. While it’s possible that that includes traditional marketing materials – too often those tell us the product attributes but don’t engage an emotional reaction.
In the Focus’s case if the one of the attributes is the (optional I’m sure) voice recognition – shoot a custom video that highlights the feature in a way that’s funny or tragic but that tells a story that engages ones emotion – while highlighting the product. That’s more likely to be shared than an instructional video on the features use.
By way of example my friends at RaceDV have just done a series of in car videos for the North American launch of a performance car. The video speaks directly to the value proposition of the vehicle – performance – and more importantly puts the viewer in the driver’s seat. After watching the video I expect prospective buyers will be in a quandry – do they take the time to share the video – or just find a dealer.
Same goes for photos. It’s certainly less expensive to re-use the photos shot for the brochure on the web – but one of the things about images is that they tell stories. By the time that someone arrives at a dealership they shouldn’t be bored with the images– but see a fresh story about Fords respect for the car the dealer and the buyer.
Social media press releases have a much more diverse audience than traditional releases – and the motives for using the material are more diverse. Traditional press, and tier one auto bloggers are at some level interested in advertising – so discontinuities in visual style may not be wanted. The same cannot be said for the blog community below them which may be offering traditional reviews – but more likely is telling a story as they discuss the product.
The idea of making material available for sharing is a good one. Placing it in a site where one can track use and referrers is also good (that’s what Dove did with its Onslaught campaign).
In the end though sharing depends on the story that one can build around the content.