November 23, 2013

Mobile social media press release template released

Get the open-source template to make your press releases future-proof

Soon mobile screens will be the primary device people use to interact with content. The news release will have to follow suit to make sure that it can catch and keep the attention of influencers reading your content on mobile devices. Use this template to join the mobile revolution.

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Mobile will become the dominant screen as early as next year. If you’re planning and building a news experience right now, it’s highly likely that it will be visited primarily by mobile users over its life cycle.

Cory Bergman, Poynter Media Lab

The social media press release

There is a common conclusion amongst webdesign professionals that the most effective way to design mobile solutions is a 'mobile first' approach: starting the design for smaller mobile devices and enhancing it for larger screens. We revised the standard social media press release template that has gained traction in PR and propelled it into 2013 by making it 'mobile first'.

It's a classic by now. In 2006 Shift Communications created the widely popularised template for the social media press release. Last year the Shift team (finally) updated the template to a more modern 2.0 version.

We won't repeat all their tips here. Go over to Shift to read the full article. It's short. Their main advice is quite straightforward:

  • Use simple sharing buttons
  • Make everything shareable independently
  • Keep headlines less than 55 characters
  • Use social commenting solutions
  • Embed the release in a marketing automation system

The Shift template is a ready to use html page that you could take as a starting point to create social media press releases yourself. Unfortunately, while the reasoning behind it is good, the template felt like “work it progress”. For example it was impossible to download and use the template. Additionally it failed to take into account the mobile revolution.

Going mobile first

We started from the basic insights by Shift and optimized the classic press release template for mobile devices via the ‘mobile first’ principle. Many leading web designers argue that we should begin by building sites that work well on small-screen portable devices and then build up from there. This idea has radically changed the way professionals approach web design. Luke Wroblewski, the designer that literally wrote the book about Mobile first, tells us to keep things simple.

The screen size is very small. The network activity can go out at any time. Users tend to be in places where they don’t have a lot of ability to focus. As a result, we really have to simplify, prioritise, pick out the things that really matter – and that’s good for web design and good for business in general.

Luke Wroblewski, quoted in Netmagazine

That’s also very true for journalists and other influencers that get bombarded with messages fighting for their attention. These peoples’ time is precious so a release should be short and to the point. Especially a mobile one

The MOBILE social media press release

Here’s how we redesigned the traditional press release:

Responsive design

Open the template and resize your browser window. You’ll see the layout adapt at different browser widths. This isn’t a separate mobile template. It’s the same page that adapts itself based on the dimensions of the internet browser. This technique called responsive design has become the standard for webdesign partially because it’s easier to maintain. We can make updates to one press release and it will adapt on mobile phones, tablets and computers.

Start with the essence

Because mobile users’ time is precious we should get straight to the point and show what we have to offer.

The mobile template is easy to scan because the body text and boilerplate are initially hidden. A reader can see all the media assets and contact info faster. If she is interested she can click ‘Read more’ to reveal the complete body text with quotes.

Stimulate sharing

It’s called a social media press release because it’s intended to get shared online.

Sharing service AddThis has excellent sharing plugins that adapt to mobile devices. On smaller screens the call to action is always visible at the top or bottom of your screen. On larger resolutions they can be very prominent in fixed positions too, just like the sharing buttons here on the left of this page.

Direct telephone numbers

On mobile phones the telephone numbers and email adreses of contacts are highlighted to make it easier for journalists to reach out. They can just press the prominent telephone links and immediately call from their mobile phone.

Mobile embeds of social content platforms

Services like Instagram, Vine & Youtube can be embedded in a way that looks good on mobile devices. In the template these media assets resize along with the screen.

Mobile social commenting

The template uses social commenting service Disqus to make the press release interactive.

  • Realtime discussions & mobile commenting
  • Instant activity notifications to keep people engaged
  • Rich media support including images and video

Bootstrap makes it easy to customise the look and feel

The template is built on the most popular website framework Bootstrap. It’s easy to customise the default layout via a settings file that’s included.

Embedded in a markting automation platform

The mobile template are stand alone HTML/CSS files that you can update yourself to create press releases. You can save a lot of time and effort by using a marketing automation system to publish press releases online. My own service, Prezly, is a marketing automation system built specifically for PR teams. Prezly uses a mobile social media press release template to help PR pro’s distribute their stories.

Wrap up

If you’re redesigning your newsroom start with a mobile first approach. The time and attention of mobile people is precious. Make sure the content is short and to the point. Simplify and prioritize. Pick out the things that really matter.

Get a head start by using our mobile template.


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A Prezly mobile social media press release example