CNW Group Social Media Release goes live

As most readers of this blog probably know, my firm and I have been working with CNW Group for some time now on a whole host of Social Media initiatives.

Over this time, we've been helping them study what the market wants, consulting with their clients, journalists, and partners - and tracking the evolution of the Social Media Release concept, from Todd Defren's outstanding pioneering work through to the adoption of the SMR standards initiative by the IABC earlier this year, and beyond.

One of the major initiatives we've been working insanely hard on for the past few months has now come to fruition, with CNW now ready to unveil their first true social media product and service offering.

The main product page, with an overview of the CNW Social Media Release, is here. You’ll see we included a short intro video put together by our friend Mark McKay, as well as some other materials - I love the way Mark explains the SMR concept:

Naturally, we're using a Social Media Release to announce the CNW SMR, which you’ll find here. One thing to note – this is the first and only fully bilingual social media product of its kind (as far as I know). All services offered are available in both national languages.

Tiresome flack that I am, I’m afraid I can't resist including a few more key messages (or, at least, the three things that really stood out for me in the way this came together):
  1. I’m proud that CNW's SMR product is truly social: with moderated inline commenting on every release, and a rich set of sharing and community features;
  2. I like that they're still positioning this as a complement to any communications initiative, not a replacement. To that end, they're including a simple, templated advisory that will be sent across the traditional wire (for free) with every SMR issued – plus encouraging clients to still consider issuing a full-text traditional release, where appropriate;
  3. They're offering meaningful and useful reporting and analysis with every SMR. We've simply hooked Google Analytics up to every release, and will be able to feed full, detailed usage stats to every client – all part of the service. Clients will be able to see where their audience is coming from, what search words they used to find the release, how long they spend on the page, what links they follow, etc.
This is one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever worked on, and I'm really thrilled with the way it all came together. Kudos to Parker, Nicole, Duane and the entire team at CNW Group, and also to Brett Tackaberry, Rob Villeneuve, Ben Watts and all of my confrères at 76design - I think they did an outstanding job on this. Yes, I know I'm massively biased here, but I can't help being excited about the work my team mates have done.

The concept of the Social Media Release is an absolute game-changer for professional communicators. There has been some excellent innovation in this area already, from service providers such as Marketwire, BusinessWire, PRNewswire, and PitchEngine. I'm really proud to be involved in this latest leap forward from CNW.