Oct 12, 2010, 13:36 ET from Canada NewsWire Ltd.

TORONTO, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ - There's little doubt about it: the Social Media Release is here to stay, and its rapid growth and popularity is transforming an industry.

See the social media release here:

The public relations community has embraced the Social Media Release as the natural evolution from plain text to the multimedia platforms of the Internet. PR agencies, whose clients span such diverse industries as health care, banking, entertainment, telecommunications, sports and automotive, are the most frequent users of Social Media Releases, according to an internal analysis by CNW (Canada Newswire).

Since launching in 2008, CNW's Social Media Release has seen staggering growth - 257% year-over-year. In September 2010 alone, CNW produced as many Social Media Releases as it did in the entire first year it offered the service (August 2008 to August 2009). This rapid growth reflects clients' response to the media's demands for multimedia content to satisfy a growing web and social media audience, and is a clear indicator of the future direction of CNW.

"We're encouraged to see clients embracing multimedia and distributing their news through the Social Media Release platform," commented Carolyn McGill-Davidson, President and CEO, CNW Group. "This trend is validation of our push to evolve the newswire service beyond plain text; to deliver ever richer and more engaging content for newsrooms and online consumers everywhere."

The process of news making has changed dramatically in the past several years as both traditional news outlets working on the Web and new media publications such as blogs seek to publish multimedia content. A natural evolution of the traditional, text-only news release, the Social Media Release takes advantage of Web technology to package all the components of a complete story into a format designed to serve the changing needs of traditional reporters, bloggers and direct news consumers. CNW's Social Media Release platform allows organizations to publish text, audio, photography and video content in a single online package and gives visitors access to a host of social sharing features.

CNW Social Media Releases have been used by many of Canada's biggest companies, including half of those ranked among Canada's Most Valuable Brands in 2009. Besides the PR agency community, Social Media Releases are also used by individual organizations within public and private sectors, associations, governments and non-profits. They are used for many different purposes - from product launches and campaign kick-offs to grand openings and public service announcements.

As an example, on Oct 4, 2010, CNW produced a successful Social Media Release for the Ontario Science Centre, promoting the centre's upcoming Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids exhibit. The playful announcement of a rumoured unicorn sighting in Toronto's Don Valley drew more than 11,000 page views within 24 hours, with visitors coming from all over the world. Included video footage of the alleged unicorn aired on television news programs, was embedded on traditional media websites and blogs, and was shared on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, far and wide.

"CNW Social Media Releases are attracting a high level of online traffic and engagement, demonstrating that the media, news consumers and consumers are seeking out this type of rich multimedia content," said Nicole Guillot, Vice President, Operations and Product Management.

The main CNW Social Media Release site is currently tracking around 50,000 visitors per month. Almost 40% of the traffic to Social Media Releases is organic, arriving through Google searches, indicating the value of the format in attracting relevant online audiences for news. The moderated comments feature is optional, but in 93% of cases, clients choose to power it up and engage with their audience. More than 3,783 readers' comments have been received by Social Media Release clients since launch.

In today's new media environment, the ability to reach newsrooms with multimedia assets such as photos, videos and audio clips has become crucial for public relations and communications professionals everywhere. However, a traditional text wire release still plays an important role in the communications process. In a recent article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Doug Lacombe of, described the benefits of what he termed the compromise of using Social Media Releases and traditional wire.

"I like this compromise. It takes advantage of the efficiency of web delivery and the distribution power of the wire. I think PR and marketing folks can do the same -- build all the Pitchengine or other SMRs, web pages, landing pages, etc. that you want, but for heaven's sake take advantage of the so-called 'Google juice' that comes with the traditional wire," urged the Calgary-based social media guru. 

"If there are multimedia assets associated with a message, a Social Media Release is definitely something to consider," stressed Guillot.  "These days, communicators would be wise to ensure their content can serve an online audience as successfully as any other."  

"It's about knowing your audience," concluded Guillot.

About CNW
CNW is Canada's newswire company, connecting organizations to relevant news and information consumers across the country and around the world. CNW is committed to providing integrated, intelligent communications and disclosure services that help clients work more efficiently and meet their objectives. In addition to newswire distribution, CNW offers webcast, video, photography, social media releases, translation, regulatory filing services and MediaVantage, a web-based solution offering real-time media monitoring, communications workflow solutions and campaign measurement capability.

Established in 1960, CNW is celebrating its 50th year as an industry leader.   href="">

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this social media release are also available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Canada NewsWire Ltd.