We wrote a series of blog posts five years ago about our picks for PR media monitoring, databases and wire services which became a resource for clients and colleagues alike. This year, we’re updating that blog series to share our experience, hindsight and timeliest tips for your agency or in-house PR department to determine the optimal vendors for your distinct needs.
In the two previous posts in this updated series, we highlighted media monitoring tools, media databases and why those resources are so important to your public relations efforts. If you missed either of those posts, take a minute to check them out now.
Wire Distribution Services
When you have an exciting announcement, it can be difficult to determine the best way to effectively share your story in a manner that ensures key stakeholder eyeballs will see it.
Enter wire distribution services.
When it comes to making an announcement, writing a solid news release isn’t enough. Today, the value an organization receives from press release distribution is far from guaranteed. To survive the ever-evolving media landscape in the face of shrinking newsrooms and dwindling audience attention spans, it’s imperative you get your communication in front of the people who cover your industry and can share your message with their readers or followers. Wire distribution services are usually a paid tool to obtain media coverage and increase exposure for your announcement.
The most popular means of distributing press releases to news media and other outlets, there are numerous options for publishing a press release through a wire distribution service. Dependent upon your business sector, the release topic, the importance of a particular piece of news and your business objectives, there are myriad options and varying price points for news wire distribution services.
Let’s start with the services that syndicate your press releases to a network of media outlets for free.
- PRLog: One of the oldest and most reputable press release services with the widest network of free media outlets for syndication.
- Free Press Release: The service’s social sharing buttons are ideal for businesses with newsworthy events that tend to be socially viral.
- PR.com: A choice for businesses that want press release features that usually cost money, such as company logo, industry targeting, keyword listing and file upload capabilities.
While free distribution may get your message in front of some media outlets, bloggers and other influencers, getting it in front of the right people at the right time can be both costly and time-consuming. Let’s now turn our attention to some of the popular platforms that require you to pay to use them.
Paid Distribution Services
- PR Newswire: Acquired by Cision, PR Newswire is one of the largest providers of PR software and services. You have to be a member of PR Newswire in order to use their wire services, and they tend to be by far the most expensive wire service. According to its website, the service has the ability to reach 4,500 U.S. websites, including Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch and various Business Journals.
- BusinessWire: Typically more expensive than other platforms, BusinessWire offers a range of features that can be quite valuable if you can afford to leverage them. BusinessWire reports its releases are distributed to as many as 89,000-plus news outlets.
- Newswire: The service’s dedication to customer service and easy-to-use, feature-rich platform ensures clients have a variety of options to suit any budget. While the service only claims to reach 250-plus media outlets, Newswire says it extends to PR Newswire’s network of more than 4,500-plus news outlets.
- GlobeNewswire: Acquired by Nasdaq in 2016, Marketwired’s social media and analytics tools were integrated into GlobeNewswire, enhancing the service’s communication tools and intelligence to better serve clients. Its website says Globe reaches 3,500 news outlets, including AP Mobile, Associated Press (AP), Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Dow Jones, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Finance.
- iCrowdNewswire: In partnership with Google, iCrowdNewswire leverages new business models and technologies to provide distribution that drives views and clicks to your news. Combining geographic and demographic targeting, users can reach audiences by specific age groups, interests and industries. Even better, the cost of this distribution service includes ad spend for Facebook Ads and Google Ads, increasing the reach and visibility of the release and offering users a more targeted approach to traditional distribution.
While some of these paid wire services charge a flat fee, others set pricing based on word count (usually with a base of 400 words) and that price level goes up significantly with each additional 100 words. Additionally, some allow you to schedule your release in advance while others take time for approval and others even require 24-hour turnaround for next-day distribution.
Remember to ensure the service you select has a distribution option that works for your announcement. If you’re only targeting local audiences, save money by selecting a city- or state-specific wire. But just because your release has been distributed over a comprehensive wire, that doesn’t guarantee your target reporter will actually see it — remember to directly pitch your target contacts from your media list regardless of the wire you choose.
As is the case with any vendor service, you need to evaluate each wire service based on what your organization’s unique needs are. Some are moderately priced with high value and others are higher costing enterprise options. Some are great business-to-business options while others work better for reaching consumers.
While reaching your target audience with your message is absolutely critical, paying for distribution is a choice you should weigh carefully, and analyzing your return on investment is just as important. Ask about whether your release will actually live on the sites of the outlets they list or if they’ll be on a third-party site that looks like the outlet. Also, inquire about how long the releases will stay on these partner sites (it could be just days, weeks or more). Alternatively, posting an announcement to your company blog and paying for third-party advertising to spread the word may offer a better bang-for-your-buck than utilizing a traditional distribution service. Either way, it’s crucial that your distribution service is worth your money and matches your needs.
We all need help from time to time, and PR vendors can help us more efficiently achieve our goals. From searching for the ideal media contact or the distribution service that will spread your story to the audiences that matter to monitoring social and traditional media for mentions of your brand, competition or industry news, determining which of the myriad database, monitoring and distribution options available are the right fit to meet your organization’s business goals can be quite challenging.
Hopefully, this blog series shed a little light on how you can determine who the best PR vendors are for your organization. Let us know your favorite options or feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the vendors we covered in our updated series. We’re happy to help you get started or share our experience as you take your PR efforts to the next level!