Joe Vecsi, manager of corporate communications at CNW Group, said they spent about a year consulting with the social media community, and then about six months in the product development phase.
“We didn't want to jump into the market with an untried product, so we aligned ourselves with some thought leaders in this area on the kind of social media release that they would like to see,” he said. Those thought leaders included Brian Solis, principal of FutureWorks, as well as Dave Fleet, a senior consultant at Thornley Fallis Communications. CNW also consulted with members of Third Tuesday, a free monthly meet-up for PR and marketing types interested in social media that has chapters in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and New Brunswick.
On CNW's Canada Newswire, companies can now add to their release hi-resolution photos, audio, and video (which can be uploaded on video-sharing sites like YouTube). The new format also includes a strong community component, by allowing people to easily imbed the release and its multimedia components onto other sites and social networks. Companies that have so far issued a CNW social media news release include Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Tourism and Sony of Canada.
Vecsi said one of the things that make CNW's social media release different from Marketwire's is a two-way comment box on the release itself, as opposed to being posted on a different page.
But Bernadette Lee, VP, products and partners at the Toronto office of Marketwire, said “CNW is [still] a follower in this regard.” She added that “We're proud to have the first mover advantage in this critical space, and welcome our peers in Canada to the discussion.”
She said that since the launch of its social media release in the US six months ago, and in Canada three months ago, more than 400 companies have used it.