In the public relations world, people wonder, “What is the best way to distribute a press release?” Many PR professionals recognize the necessity of press releases but the return on investment (ROI) of using a wire service such as Business Wire or PR Newswire is less certain. Once considered the most effective way to get news in front of the largest audience, now wire services are just one of many ways to reach the targeted audience. As a result, many companies chose less expensive methods, such as emailing news directly to editors or sharing news via social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
Why are press releases important?
- The media asks for press releases. Editors use press releases when writing news stories. The press release presents “who, what, when, where, and why” clearly and succinctly.
- Press releases get your foot in the door. A press release paired with an individually targeted pitch to the right editors remains one of the most effective ways to get noticed and generate press coverage.
- Press releases build credibility. A press release makes a small startup look like a big company that is worth covering.
- Google considers press releases to be news. Press releases posted on a news website, even self-contributor sites, appear in Google’s “In the News” section alongside other media coverage. Press releases are presented as news coverage, and continue to rank in Google search results, even after they become old news and fall off the news site.
Should I use a wire service?
Once you’ve decided that a press release is the best strategy for sharing your news, the next question is, “How should I distribute this press release?” Traditionally, most companies used wire services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, PRWeb, and Globe Newswire. These services promote press releases to their subscribers—journalists, news agencies, and terminal and database systems. Most wire services provide options that let you target global, national, regional, and local distribution circuits. They also offer lists targeted to vertical markets.
Three reasons to use a wire service:
- A wire service adds credibility to your press release. Distributing the release “over the wire” makes your news—and your company—appear more official. This is especially valuable for start-up companies and small companies trying to make a name for themselves. Editors perceive information from a wire service as vetted and verified—in other words, more trustworthy.
- Wire services reach a larger audience than most other websites. Although you may have your own press list, an over-the-wire release can reach more journalists, editors, podcasters, and bloggers than you or your agency alone. People self-subscribe to topics of interest to them, so your news could end up in the inbox of a journalist who you would not have found on your own.
- Press releases distributed on wire services appear in search results. Wire services are authoritative sites that get higher ranking than many other companies. In addition, your website can get more backlinks—links from news sites to your website—which improves your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). A backlink from an authoritative site like Yahoo News can move your web page higher on a search engine results page (SERP).
Three reasons to skip wire services:
- Wire services miss niche contacts. If you market a niche product that is only of interest to a small number of journalists, you’ll pay to reach the others who skip over your news or who post it on a general news site not read by your target audience.
- Wire services are expensive. Depending on the circuit selected and the word count of your press release, you may pay from several hundred to several thousand dollars to distribute your news over a wire service and receive no guarantee that it will be picked up by your target publications.
- Wire service coverage reports can be misleading. The coverage report sent by the wire service usually includes posts and views of the release from random websites that don’t attract the readers you want.
At HCI Marketing and Communications, we continue to recommend wire service distribution, but only for some of our clients. And when we do, we always pair it with social media posts and targeted, individualized outreach to key editors. These pitches get our clients better coverage—and well-placed articles that offer SEO benefits—than a wire service alone.
Would you like guidance on how to get more results and a better ROI for your public relations program? Reach out to us. HCI Marketing and Communications is passionate about public relations. We stand by our brand promise: HCI helps grow clients’ businesses by (com)passionately and powerfully connecting them with influencers and buyers to deliver results. We look forward to speaking with you.