I often get asked if a press release should be put over a wire service, and if you should use a free or paid service. The answer depends on your goal, and doesn’t necessarily have any hard and fast rules.
So what is the value of using a wire service like Business Wire, PR Newswire or MarketWired?
- It will NOT make reporters or editors reach out to you.
- It will be picked up by all of the news feeds that automatically pick up all wire releases.
- It will be picked up by relevant news feeds in your industry, as long as you include the right key words.
- It will help your SEO efforts if you build in the right keywords
- It will help build credibility for your company.
- It will NOT be useful on a hyper-local level.
Need a little more detail? Let me hit on a few key points related to these bullets.
It WILL NOT make reporters or editors reach out to you. In past years, when PR was limited to agencies or the few “in the know,” using a wire service would get you the attention of reporters because it was the primary method used to identify potential stories. Now reporters are bombarded by emails, tweets, posts and voice mail. Information surrounds them. Plus, as more people tackle PR without experience to back it up and write biased press releases that not newsworthy, the usefulness of press releases have dramatically dropped (from a media perspective).
While you may get one or two reporters reaching out to you (typically trade reporters), and quite a few advertising reps calling, obtaining story placements is no longer where the value of wire service lies. You’ll only get pick-ups of the release – not fresh stories written as a result of a reporter getting your press release and deciding to write about you. The odds of that happening is fairly rare for a wire release; it’s more likely to happen by emailing the release to a targeted list of specific reporters – the subject of another post.
It WILL be picked by all of the news feeds that automatically pick up all wire releases. There are thousands of online news feeds, aggregated sites and blogs that automatically run press releases. Most of them accept any press release that contains specific keywords. For example, a press release on weight loss will be automatically picked up by health/wellness sites, obesity sites and weight loss sites that follow those keywords. It is extremely useful to do a Google keyword search, and include major search terms in your press release.
It will also be picked up by an assortment of general news sites, like Yahoo News, Google News, etc. It will also be picked up by Twitter pages set up to feed news based on specific keywords.
There is a caveat to be aware of. A paid wire service will pick these up – free wire services will pick up a few of them, but mostly obscure news feed sites that people rarely read. If your news is important – it is worth paying for wire service. Typically state-wide distribution is sufficient over national (which is triple the cost). Free wire services should only be used if you don’t have budget for paid wire service and you do not have high expectations.
These news sites are very useful for fast ranking of specific keywords and for enhancing credibility. After all, a business that puts out a steady flow of press is obviously successful, right?
UPDATE: The SEO landscape is rapidly changing and because Google now does not index press releases in the same way, the SEO value of a press release has drastically diminished. If SEO is the only reason a company is putting the release on the wire, they are bound to be disappointed.
It WILL NOT be useful on a hyper-local level. Wire service is great for national news, and some local news. It is NOT useful for hyper-local news, such as grand openings and events. You will be better off to email your news to local beat reporters and manually post them on the local event calendars than wasting money on a wire release. Your news will end up on news feeds that are searched/read by a fraction of the audience you are targeting.
Questions? Post a comment and I’ll be glad to jump into conversation with you.