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Having written in the past more than my fair share of press releases and having wondered how effective they would be in the Web 2.0/social media era, I was delighted to discover some time ago the concept of the social media release. I wrote, back in March, about the social media release and how the concept had developed.

But delighted as I was, what I found when I started to apply the principles of a social media release was that it was, for me, a more challenging exercise than writing a traditional press release. It was hard work!

Then Pitch Engine came along. First, understandably, in beta. Now, happily, out of beta.

As the Pitch Engine blog explains, Pitch Engine is “a way to package all of your PR assets (like a press kit) in one concise, easy to share package – the social media release (SMR) – that you can edit and make changes to even after it’s been made live.”

In other words, Pitch Engine takes the worry out of creating a social media release.

And if, like me, you have ever been in the situation of thinking, “Well, I’d love to do a media release, but can I afford it?” the good news is that you can use Pitch Engine without having to pay any money!

Which is great news especially for small businesses. In fact, for any business in the current economic meltdown!

With the free version one catch, if you can reasonably call it that when the service is free, is that your release will expire after 30 days. And let’s ask ourselves, people, if we can’t get our message across in 30 days, how good is our message?

Long tail message? No problem. There are paid subscriptions that offer more than the basic free service. For a relatively modest payment you can archive your releases and even have your own online newsroom.

No more “Uh, oh!”

With a traditional press release, once it was done and broadcast, that was it: you lived or died by what was in it (or what you had omitted). One of the beauties of Pitch Engine is that you can edit your release, add to it, subtract, modify, as you choose, whenever you want while it is live.

Cool? Definitely.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).