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Kate Finley

Why Newswire Services Don’t Work (and When They Do)

By: Kate Finley | November 27, 2013 | 
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Why Newswire Services Don't Work (and When They Do)

By Kate Finley

I have a confession to make. It’s hard to say this in front of everyone and I’m hoping you won’t judge me harshly but it has to be said: I don’t use newswire distribution services.

I also don’t think “putting a news release on the wire” is earned media (aka organic PR.)

Instead, I think it’s advertising (aka paid media).

Yikes.

There. I said it. Please don’t hate me.

I’m not trying to ruffle feathers needlessly. I promise.

I’m legitimately stating I don’t think newswire services should be considered within media relations reporting metrics.

They’re just not good, old-fashioned, roll up your sleeves and dig in PR. They don’t drive significant site traffic in the majority of cases (unless you’re Home Depot or another big brand).

I’m not saying they have no value at all because I do think there are one or two reasons to use a news release distribution service, which I’ll explain.

What is the True Value of Newswire Services?

Let me be clear: I have friends working for leading newswire services and I am by no means saying their area of expertise is lackluster. I do, however, want to take this opportunity to explore the topic of “putting a release on the wire” and discuss how exactly it should fit within PR tactics – if at all.

It’s a question I’ve been debating with colleagues and discussing with clients for quite some time now. And honestly, I’m not sure you’ll agree with me on my current stance.

So instead, I want to tackle some questions I’ve been getting and gain your feedback.

Back in the Day: Impressions, Advertising Equivalencies, and Wire Services

If you’ve been in the PR industry for even the last five years, you know things have changed considerably. We’re in a new era and we’re in the process of ditching many of the old tools, processes, and perspectives that previously were commonplace.

We’re concerned about analytics, lead generation, and driving public relations efforts back to sales. We’re trying. We’re improving and we’re growing. Yes, there are still some who are stuck in the PR dark ages but for them we say a prayer and continue onward and upward.

So, we’re placing a lot less value on media impressions and advertising equivalencies, and, in my experience, newswire services are falling into this “less used” category. Why? Because …

Newswires are Not Earned Media

Recently, I had to explain to a client the reasoning behind why we choose not to use newswire services for our clients. I explained we choose not to invest their retainer in that area because it creates little to no affect on SEO, and – in our experience – journalists do not see the wire release, nor do they follow-up for interviews.

They quickly agreed the use of a newswire wasn’t an option they wanted to pursue for that particular announcement.

When Should You Use a News Release Distribution Service?

OK, OK I’m not totally knocking newswire services here. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I DO think there is some value to using a wire service … it just depends on what your goals are.

For example:

  • Are your clients or their investors looking for vanity measurement? If so, they may just want to see their name within top media and don’t care as much about how it got there.
  • Is your brand a ‘top dog’ in its respective industry? I do think Fortune 500 brands have a better chance of securing a follow-up story with a reporter due to a wire release. It still doesn’t happen often. I’d be interested to hear feedback from you all as to whether you’ve seen this happen.
  • Are you managing a PR crisis? In this case, I do think putting a news release on the wire can be valuable because it can be executed quicker than reaching out to editors organically, and you control the message.

In all of the above instances, putting your news release on the wire could be a valuable option. Still, always consider organic PR outreach first.

Conclusion: Open to Debate

Now here comes the fun part: What do YOU think?

Do you use newswire distribution services? Why or why not?

Do you completely disagree with me?

We have an abundance of smart and savvy PR professionals that will advocate either side of this issue. So, why should or shouldn’t we use a news release distribution service? Are the best suited for certain situations over others? I’m all ears…

About Kate Finley


Kate Finley is the CEO of Belle Communications, an integrated marketing firm based in Columbus, Ohio, where she helps CPG brands and startups with PR, social media, and content marketing. She is a media relations expert, leading teams in executing more than 1800 media opportunities for industry leading clients, with coverage in NBC News, TODAY, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and other top media influencers. She’s a Paleo-eater, half-marathoner, and recently acquired a taste for CrossFit.

52 comments
digitalbase
digitalbase

Just wanted to dig up this article. 


Check the chart below. Last week (Panda update) PRWeb, PRNewswire and others lost about 80% of their traffic. That proves your point.




MosherMullen
MosherMullen

Agree, agree, agree. When I have clients who love putting things out "over the wire," I always give myself a 3-4 weeks before the "launch date" to pitch the story creatively to reporters who I think will be interested - by the time the release goes out widely, we've usually already secured some great, third party articles to give the info we put out over the wire credibility. 

susancellura
susancellura

During my most recent job, I found that not using the wire service paid off. I was able to build relationships with the editors and then find more placement opportunities with smaller newsworthy items. 

Thank you for this very insightful post @KateFinley! And, the comments are wonderful!

SarahSkerik
SarahSkerik

Do newswires work? Yes, and in a variety of ways.  Are they the sole tool in the PR toolbox? Of course not.    

I've pulled some data and penned a blog post on response to this one.  Here's the link: http://blog.prnewswire.com/2013/12/02/do-newswire-services-work-pr-newswire-does/ 

In a nutshell, there are reasons why thousands of media outlets and tens of thousands of journalists and bloggers subscribe to services like PR Newswire (my employer.)  We're efficient, we do some of the legwork in authenticating stories. and we vet the copy. 

But the audience is bigger than just the media, and online distribution of content has value. I did a little experiment in November, issuing press releases to promote blog posts, and burying the link to the blog post in the second or third graf of the copy.  The results? Almost 1,000 click-throughs on those embedded links.  Considering the hoops people had to get through to get to those links - find the release, read the release, click on the link in the release - by the time they took action, they had demonstrated some real interest in the messages.  That is some truly valuable attention.  

I agree (and am copiously on record) that boring, self-serving messaging, whether in a press release or other message, doesn't work.  But the data we have here at PR Newswire tells a different story than the author's experiences. 

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

Thanks for this post, Kate, and for the great comments it encouraged. Very helpful. I've not used newswire services, mainly because building relationships with local media contacts has been the most beneficial, and I prefer it. But it's always good to consider something anew, and your post helped provide some good information.

JoeSloanSays
JoeSloanSays

Glad to hear your perspective on newswire services. I am relatively new to the field and while I have heard a bit about some of the competing services, I have very little experience with them. However, as a young and (relatively) tech-savvy PR pro my initial snap-judgment of these services is that they seem to be simply online news release mass-mailer companies for PR which seems a bit lacking. But as you said, there is definitely something to be said for the value that they can provide in specific circumstances. Thanks for the info!

All in all my opinion is that while newswire services definitely have a useful place within PR (for now), if one begins to rely on them as a matter of course, the proof will surely be in the PR pudding.

cmor21
cmor21

Great post Kate. Safe to say that the wire model is broken and should only be used in very specific cases.  I never thought of it as paid media, but completely agree with that view.  I think it can be generally associated with the spray and pray model, which we all know isn't what successful PR campaigns are about. 

Bernadette Lee
Bernadette Lee

It's important that the companies using wire services understand that the resulting value begins with a solid communications strategy.  News release distribution has to help you reach your PR and MarCom program goals.  We find that the organizations who use our wire service seek an efficient means to share their company’s message with targeted media, investors, consumers, bloggers, etc, both quickly and reliably. There are times that companies need to cast a wider net and instances when they want to be more targeted in their approach. However, there is no magical silver bullet and hasn't been for a while now. News releases are a tactic; a powerful arrow in the PR/MarCom/IR quiver.  To distribute or not to distribute is a healthy debate. However, for those companies that have set clear goals and objectives and are strategic about outreach, the use of a wire service can be a reliable and cost effective option.

SavvyCopywriter
SavvyCopywriter

Great insight - I 100% agree with you on this! For PR agencies, there's a struggle here. So many people still think newswire services are the end all be all way to reach clients. It's crucial that clients have realistic expectations up front. If all a client wants is to be able to show investors that their name got printed somewhere on the Wall Street Journal website, then fine, click send and use all of the reprints of your press release to your advantage in that way but DON'T expect much ROI from it in terms of traffic or sales. That comes from the more modern forms of PR. 

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

Really interesting discussion here. The press release, when used properly and with defined expectations still works; it also still works if you use the wire service strategically. Firstly, I'll never let a client put out a news release 'just because.' We've all seen too many useless  and 'news-less' press releases. Secondly, the wire service can still give you great distribution - and if you're representing a credible organization - reporters still ask me if they can get the release 'on the wire.'  As for SEO - you're likely right, not so much.

Also, some wire services have evolved into the b-roll distribution business.  I can ensure a great story makes it on every network, both nationally and provincially, by distributing good b-roll. Let's face it, newsrooms are smaller and if I can help them assemble a story without engaging a camera, I'll do it.  

Randy Milanovic
Randy Milanovic

Bang on Gini! In my experience, reporter follow-up to news releases has been like a lottery - one in a million (realistically, 1 in a couple thousand). The part that catches me the most is the measurements the news wires have provided, as in "4000 have gone out". To me that's not a useful measurement at all.

Tinu
Tinu

I've never used press releases traditionally. I use them as a vehicle to help get a message in front of a certain audience in a timely fashion when other methods aren't appropriate or available. The illusion that a press release would get a journalist to write about something never occurred to me. But I matured in the age of the internet.

I agree with you that they are paid media, and are NOT the same tools they were, say 40 years ago. It's wiser to form mutually beneficial relationships who have access to the audience you want - journalists or not. Or to hire firms that already possess it - such as a PR agency. 

martinwaxman
martinwaxman

From reading today's Spin Sucks post by @KateFinley,  it's seems like the two of us talked beforehand. Or just share a similar POV.

First, a confession - I still write releases (grudgingly) and use the wire when clients want it. But I generally counsel them to try a different route and because the news bureau themselves.

And with apologies and the greatest respect to my friends and colleagues who work at newswires, I think the traditional wire release just doesn't have the same traction it used to - and especially in the pre- or earlyish Internet days.

And without trying to sound like a repeating decimal, I think the release in its present form needs to be put to rest too. I know a lot of people like them - but I think we should differentiate the story from the vehicle we're using to tell it.

Thanks for your perspective, Kate. You can find me firmly entrenched on the agree side...

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

I agree with everything you say, except for not using a service. To this I say we need to think differently about a release.  A release over a wire is a formal statement by a company and still holds credibility.  Sure, it's popular to bash press releases, but a well written release can still earn attention.  To that end, I'm a huge fan of using paid media to drive earned media. Google may be beat up on links, but press releases are STILL search able and find-able.  I still get reports that tell me how many people read a release -- and when 6,000 people read it -- that's a pretty good value in my mind. I have yet to see a corporate blog post get 6,000 reads in 24 hours. It is another vehicle to reach people -- and reach them directly -- which is the macro-change our industry (on the whole) is still coming to terms with.

JRHalloran
JRHalloran

I agree with you completely, Katie! From working at a savvy internet company the past couple months, I learned news wire services do almost nothing for SEO. The reason is because it's considered "duplicate content," and such content doesn't rank in the search engines (especially Google). That's why you can't count it as "earned media."

However, if you need a quick filler for content, news wire services are the way to go.

Anthony_Rodriguez
Anthony_Rodriguez

I agree wholeheartedly with your post Kate. The value of news wires is dwindling and rapidly. Reporters are more and more likely to ask to be on the do-not-send list so unless you do even more work, it's hard to really know if you release made it to a reporter's inbox or went directly to their spam folder. At the end of the day, we need to do he research and make personalized contact and build a relationship with reporters and bloggers. The one-size-fits-all approach of a wire service just isn't going to give the results for the dollar amount put in to it.

lauraclick
lauraclick

OK - I'll bite. I actually agree with you for the most part. The Forbes article you linked to is excellent and highlights my example.

I did use a wire service for a startup I worked with a year ago. We used the wire to distribute a release about this startup getting significant funding. That announcement was actually picked up and used as part of a larger story that mentioned how this particular kind of company was gaining traction. It worked in that case, but it was a bit of a fluke and it falls within the recommendation to use the wire for financial news and announcements. 

Once upon a time, it was also good to use the wire for SEO, but that has changed now. I always think organic PR is best, but there are times where the wire makes sense. But, most of the time, rolling up your sleeves will win every time.

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

I've used them in the past, but I think it just depends on the situation. In my previous position I was tasked with building relationships with influencers. Yes, I had things to pitch them (as Gini can attest to) but that wasn't the time or place to use a newswire service. But other times like you mentioned above when you are a big brand or during a crisis, they can be a valuable tool. I think right now there is still a place for them, but who knows what's to come! Great post Kate - you bring up really good points :)

KateFinley
KateFinley

@SarahSkerik Alright :) I've had a chance to review. First, as the author of this post, my experiences are based on data across dozens of clients and eight years of experience with news release distribution organically and via wire services. 

Second, I have to say I kind of love your idea about sharing a timely blog post via a wire service. I'm thinking through how that could work so thanks for the idea.

A couple comments ... (more like a wish list and food for thought)

1. I'd love to see an unbiased study on how journalists actually use wire services. I think this would uncover valuable information when and how these services are used and allow us to use them better -- when and if we use them.

2. Would you consider your services PR or advertising? 

3. I like your point about newswire distribution as being bigger than just the media ... I saw your use of Twitter as an example. I'd love to see how much pickup a news release gets outside of traditional media and how this drives click thrus.

4. My biggest concern and follow up to your study is that of those 1000 how much of the traffic is credited to actual news sites like WSJ.com vs. PRnewswire.com ... the reason why this is setting off a red flag for me is that, in my experience and data from web traffic, when coverage is secured organically on leading sites like WSJ.com, CNNMoney.com, Today.com, etc. the traffic is exponential to that demonstrated in your survey. Shouldn't the numbers be more comparable when a wire release is shared on the same news site? Why the dramatic variance in traffic? 

Since I have web traffic and a case study handy, I'll use myself as an example:

I secured this article after reaching out to a reporter at CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/smallbusiness/2013/05/13/new-business/3.html

(I wrote about this early in the year along with another case study http://spinsucks.com/communication/traditional-media-relations-and-real-measurable-results/

On the first day it ran, it generated more than 900 click thurs.

Overall, this is proving educational as to what newswire services provide and how you are diversifying your offerings and measurement efforts. 

Thank you for joining in on the debate!

KateFinley
KateFinley

@SarahSkerik I love this! I'm so glad you chimed in and even replied via a rebuttal post! THIS is what I want to see. Show me WHY I should use your services. What is the real value? I'm reading / digging in now and will reply with comments / follow up in a minute ...

KateFinley
KateFinley

@Bernadette Lee Thanks so much for your comment! From your last sentence, it sounds like using a wire service can be beneficial in reaching a larger audience when you don't have the budget for a PR agency? I think this is an interesting point that hasn't been brought up yet. Thank you.  

Although, I would recommend that if budget is a restriction in organic PR outreach, instead of investing money within a wire service, perhaps having a knowledgeable, engaging team member reach out to journalists organically on a local level would be best? I've found that reporters respond quite well to sincere, organic outreach from a CEO of a company -- even on a national level if the timing is right! As long as it's not a sales pitch that is :)

KateFinley
KateFinley

@SavvyCopywriter Your point about realistic expectations is key and those expectations should be setup on the front end, before the release draft.

KateFinley
KateFinley

@ElissaFreeman Thanks for jumping in and commenting! I love hearing the different experiences and perspectives. 

I agree with you that the news release can still be quite useful, I'm just questioning the actual value of newswire distribution services.

When you say reporters ask for the release to be put on the wire ... how often does this sort of thing happen? And, in that scenario, are you reaching out to media organically and they are, in turn, letting you know they will only share the release if it's auto-populated to their news site through the wire? 

That's been my experience in the case of business journals at times. In those cases, I just go to a different outlet or go around that journalist.

KateFinley
KateFinley

@Tinu One of the areas that things are getting a little confused ... I'm A-OK with news releases. They still hold value when used correctly (as you so wonderfully stated) ... it's newswires that leave me wanting more. 

KateFinley
KateFinley

@martinwaxman Twins! :) I do enjoy a well written release though. I feel like they can be a masterpiece ...

KateFinley
KateFinley

@Frank_Strong Thanks for weighing in and bringing up points of debate. A couple things: 

1) I don't agree that a news release on the wire is necessarily credible -- it's really just advertising, isn't it? It's paid for by the company and not backed by a reporter.

2) I'm not bashing news releases. I, personally, adore a well written release and think they still hold lots of value. They also are still a preferred tool with journalists. 

3) I'd love to hear more about the example you're referencing ... 6,000 impressions reported by the wire service or click thrus from the wire release to a website? Not sure what you mean here.

Excellent points, Frank!

lauraclick
lauraclick

@Frank_Strong I think your point about them being read and searchable is important. And, I think that's likely why it worked for my client a year ago. Like it or not, a wire release in CNN Money is going to show up in search results more than other things. So, it can definitely help to get information out there. As you said, it's just ONE approach - not the only one.

KateFinley
KateFinley

@JRHalloran Hi :) What do you mean by "filler for content"? What's an example you're thinking of? Thank you, sir! 

KateFinley
KateFinley

@Anthony_Rodriguez Did you guys use the wire when you were at the Dave Thomas Foundation? That seems like a time when it could be worth trying ... 

KateFinley
KateFinley

@lauraclick Thanks for taking a bite! I'm very curious about your example with the startup when you say it was a "fluke" -- how exactly did the media pick up on it?

One question I would ask a bunch of journalists if I had them in a room: Do you / how do you use newswire services within your research?

KateFinley
KateFinley

@yvettepistorio I thought it was very interesting that Coke recently announced they want to cut news release use by half in general! It's very interesting to see this tool evolve ... 

SarahSkerik
SarahSkerik

@KateFinley @SarahSkerik


Okay, Kate, here we go! This is fun! :)  I've worked through your questions, and have organized my answers accordingly. 

 1)       A survey would be interesting, I agree.  Obviously, if we had a hand in fielding it,  the objectivity would be questioned.  But I’d happily read the results.   We did field a significant survey of media in conjunction with PR Week, and key findings are here, but it didn’t focus solely on journalist use of newswires, it was much broader in scope.

2)Is what PR Newswire does PR or advertising?  I would say that depends upon the circuit the customer choses (media, social, multimedia or online distribution) and their goals for the story (media coverage?  Driving web traffic? Or?) 

3)The idea of “pickup outside traditional media” is worth really delving into, in my opinion.  PR content is driving visibility and interactions that traditional measurement models just don’t capture. What do you call it, for example, if an industry journalist tweets your press release to her followers, but doesn't write a story?   There are lots of different ways the content PR teams publish (press releases and otherwise) can earn important visibility for the brand,  aside from media pick up.

4)Attribution of referral traffic is a real bear and is only getting more difficult as Google clamps down on the referral data they share, and the use of shortened URLs becomes even more popular.    Let’s look at the example I gave – the press release promoting the blog post about PR trends I published in late November.

Of the 125 people who clicked on the embedded URL in that release, the URL tracking service was able to provide data on 62 of those interactions.  Of those, 50 came from PRNewswire.com or our company media room.    The other dozen did come from sites that pass along referral information, including Yahoo! and the Wall St. Journal. However, the remaining 63 are unknown, meaning the referral information wasn’t passed along from the site where the interaction initiated.   (I put the charts in the slide share deck I embedded in my post.) 

There are three primary reasons why referring data isn’t passed along to your analytics dashboard, and they are:

a.  There was no referring web site, meaning the user navigated directly to the URL, via bookmark most often (but still fairly unlikely.)

b.  The user was logged into a Google account, such as Google+, YouTube or Gmail, at the time they performed the search that lead them to your press release.  Google is masking their user data, and because they have so many users, this is significantly reducing the information available about online audiences.

c.  The person who clicked on the link got there via a shortened URL, which means in most cases, they landed on your press release via a social network.  URL shortening services don’t pass referral data along to analytics dashboards.

These “unknowns” are called dark traffic. Just because they’re unknown doesn’t mean they’re unimportant – it’s quite the opposite, in fact.  It’s safe to assume that some unknown visitors arrive via search engines, and some come via social shares.  The dark traffic number is one I’m always happy to see go up, because the quality of the visitors from these sources is very high.

 All that said, I believe it’s safe to assume that half  of the 125 people who actually clicked on the embedded URL buried in the copy of my press release came from social and search channels. 

There’s no doubt that generating real earned media drives more web traffic and social chatter than the act of sending out a press release.  You’ll get zero argument from me on that assertion.  My point is this:  As PR develops new measurement metrics and pays more attention to outcomes (as opposed to estimating equivalencies), we have to pay attention to all of the high-value interactions our messaging generates, and we need to understand how those interactions flow through to our campaign goals and our organizations’ top lines.     We need to understand the value of a person who – in the throes of researching a purchase – finds our press releases via search engines,  reads them, and clicks on the embedded links we offered, thus landing on the company’s doorstep, even if they do so six months after that release was issued.  Because from a marketing perspective, that person is now a very well qualified prospect, and is enormously valuable to the company.  That person should be of equal value to the PR team – as a profession, we need to be thinking about how our content fits into the decision journeys of our organizations’ prospective customers/donors/members/shareholders/whatevers. 

This is a really great debate, thank you for so graciously allowing me to participate. 


Randy Milanovic
Randy Milanovic

Sorry Kate. I should have attributed you properly. Great article.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@KateFinley Really?  It's a stake in the ground.  I have about a half dozen check points to run through before putting out a release  -- you can make a mistake in a blog post -- but a press release?  That's the written record of a company.  Write an erroneous release and see how fast that sails around the web! 

As for measurement, reads is like  "unique page views" in GA.  Most release services offer this metric as "reads." 

This is not impressions. It's not possible views rather its READS. 6,000 people read (or at least skimmed) a press release. Click-throughs on a release like that will usually come in at ~300 and it's easy to cross reference in GA.

I've seen releases get 30,000 reads.  That's insane. 

JRHalloran
JRHalloran

@KateFinley For example, if you just need a news story to fill space online but don't really need the SEO value. (Mostly it's a stupid request, but people request it nonetheless.) 

Anthony_Rodriguez
Anthony_Rodriguez

Yes. But when we did most of went online was just a reprint of the news release, word for word. To me, there isn't much value in that. I personally have never seen, or read, a news release that wasn't on the WSJ or Bloomberg. I just don't see the value of impressions.

lauraclick
lauraclick

@KateFinley They incorporated the announcement into larger story in Fast Company about this particular type of online company gaining traction. I believe they even linked back to the wire release. We didn't pitch it to this reporter - the reporter must have found the wire release and included it in the story. That's why I say the coverage was a fluke.

SarahSkerik
SarahSkerik

You're definitely allowed to disagree, Kate!   

I should make one final point though, with respect to my little experiment.  My goal in distributing those news releases via our online distribution network was primarily to drive traffic to the blog, not garner media coverage.  My efforts generated almost 1000 reads that I would not have otherwise had, and given the quality of those readers (as described in one of my responses above), I'm happy with that outcome, especially since the retail cost per qualified click-through worked out to $2.47. From a lead gen standpoint, that is a very low cost, and I believe that generating qualified leads for an organization is absolutely an activity in which PR can participate. 

KateFinley
KateFinley

@SarahSkerik Thank you for your thoughtful reply! To your main point, I agree that we need to continually work toward understanding the value of the content we share and the mediums with which we share that content.

However, we may just have to agree to disagree in that all of these points do not convince me that newswire services are the most efficient use of my clients news releases. Especially when organic PR generates so much more bang for the proverbial PR buck. 

Dark traffic and a lot of the information you shared is valuable and exists regardless of where content is shared (newswire, a blog post, etc.) ... Overall, this is a great discussion on being more strategic and thoughtful in how and why we are sharing content.

It's encouraging to me that newswire services such as yours are delving deep to confirm / re-establish their value despite Google changes.


KateFinley
KateFinley

@Frank_Strong Thanks for joining in on the debate with me :) 

I LOVE your ROI case study. That is the sort of thing that should be at the front of newswire websites: case studies, success stories -- yes! 

I do agree that news releases are a tool within the toolkit too. I use them regularly but rarely on the wire.

I'd agree to disagree with you anytime! Thanks for letting me stir the pot.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@KateFinley  I appreciate the banter Kate -- opposing views are important.  

1. In some ways PR and marketing types have incentive to be bias.  It's not a bad thing. In many ways its like helping a friend get ready for a first date -- we want to help them put their best look on. But we're biased. There's a difference between having a different take on data and being flat out misleading.  I'll never defend the latter.

2. As for reads, it's hard to argue with those.  People that read releases find them in search -- which is by definition an explicit expression of need. Unless they are expecting a different result for a set of search terms, there's a high probability those reads are highly targeted. 

3. I'll up the page reads argument.  I once interviewed a small business owner that put out a press release that earned 70,000 page reads. Imagine that.  She was selling concert tickets and her sales paid for her news distribution service for a year.  Pretty clear case of ROI. It's more realistic to realize there's rarely one piece of content that seals a deal, rather it's the composition of multiple vehicles to reach customers and facilitate a journey along a sales circle.  Circle.  It's not a funnel. 

We'll probably never agree. And that's okay. For me, press releases are one tool in an ever expanding toolkit.  It's not a comparison of which one works better, but how we orchestrate them to work together.

Like I said in my initial comment, I agree with most of what you said, but in my mind, it's not a case of jettisoning the press release, it's a matter of thinking differently about how they are used. 

That's how I see it anyways. Thanks for stirring a healthy debate.

KateFinley
KateFinley

@Frank_Strong Me again :) 

(Thank you for indulging me) Yes, really! Just last week I had a client point out a competitors release that was put on the wire with "facts" that were skewed and not accurate. It was that company's official stance and there were no grammatical errors, however, the information they presented as "fact" was, in fact, bias. If that same (inaccurate) information had been shared with a reporter, that reporter would have checked the facts and not shared the release or come back questioning the source's credibility.

Regarding impressions ... I like your comparison to GA and that's a whole new can of worms because if eyeballs are viewing the content but they aren't the RIGHT eyeballs, it doesn't move the needle. We move back to the ambiguous "media impressions" measurement.

We can tell clients 30,000 people saw their release on the wire or a particular outlet but ... at the end of the day, what did that really accomplish?

KateFinley
KateFinley

@lauraclick This is a great example of a wire release being useful! Thanks for explaining further ... 

lauraclick
lauraclick

@KateFinley If I were to bet, the reporter already had the story idea and found the release when doing research, but I really don't know. I don't know if reporters seek out wire services to troll for news. But, I could be wrong.

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