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Do Newswire Services Work? PR Newswire Does.

By Sarah Skerik

Do Newswire Services Work? PR Newswire Does. image 12 pr tweets

In the wake of the recent conversation about the value of newswire services, I thought I’d share an email I received from an old friend, who works at a major print outlet in Chicago.

Hey Sarah!

I’ve got a work-related problem and wonder if you can help me find a solution:

I’m a digital news editor at XXXXX. For years we’ve had access to PRN releases through our subscription to the [major paid wire service] wire. It’s been a great source of business news, particularly before the markets open, and our early morning editor depends on it. But we’re about to end that [major paid wire service] subscription and switch to [another major paid wire service] — which offers PRN through its terminals, as you probably know, but not through the web-based portal we’ll be using to access the wire service.

I’m wondering if there’s a way to get direct access to PRN releases right on our desktops. We’d be interested in filtering the tons of releases you move to focus on Chicago and Illinois and a universe of our top companies — but that might get into more detail than you care to know at this point, so I’ll stick to the primary question: How can we keep getting our PRN fix?

We’re ending our [major paid wire service] sub at the end of the month, and our early morning editor is already getting the PRN-withdrawal shakes. Let me know what you think about this.

Significant base of media subscribers

Across the US, and the rest of the planet, for that matter, thousands of media outlets devote technical resource and computer space to receiving PR Newswire press releases. We know the technical and newsroom contacts at each outlet, and we work with them to tailor the news feed to fit the outlet’s needs.

In addition to the news feeds that are hardwired into news rooms as described above, more than 30,000 credentialed journalists and bloggers access PR Newswire for Journalists each month, where they tally more than a million press release views monthly.

Why do professional media & bloggers use PR Newswire?

So why is the PR Newswire feed of press releases still used by so many journalists and bloggers? There are a few reasons why:

  • Efficiency: It’s easier for an outlet to get a streamlined feed of news releases filtered by topic and geography from a company like PR Newswire than it is to manage individual messages from all the agencies, brands and organizations reporting news. Press releases are coded and formatted using according to news industry standards, making it as easy and efficient for news editors to manage their press release feed as it is for them to manage their paid news feeds from sources like the AP, Dow Jones and Reuters.
  • Credibility: Every press release PR Newswire runs to its media circuits is authenticated – only people who are authorized to do so can issue a press release on behalf of their organization. Additionally, we have stringent standards around attribution, requiring sources and contacts on every press release. Receiving media know that the copy they get from PR Newswire is reliable and trustworthy. As a result, major wire services frequently re-run press releases we issue in full text over their circuits and their spot news editors rip headlines from our wires to run on theirs. Press releases received via email or found on the web have to be first verified, which takes valuable time in today’s deadline-every-second news environment.
  • Quality: PR Newswire has a variety of copy quality standards, to ensure the press releases we issue contain newsworthy content our receiving media and bloggers can act upon. Advertorial copy and stories about threatened (but not actually filed) law suits are two examples of the sort of content that doesn’t pass muster for distribution to one of our media circuits.

The audience is bigger than the media

Real time tweets of PR Newswire press releases.

We all know that the media environment is far different today than it was five, 10 or 15 years ago. One reason why PR Newswire still delivers results today is the fact that our press releases are consumed by audiences directly.

  • About 15% of the traffic to PR comes from people researching products and services via search engines.
  • Press releases are widely shared on social networks. (Live feed on Twitter of tweets of PR Newswire press releases: )

To get a better handle on audience behavior, I embedded trackable URLs within the press releases I issued to promote blog posts in the month of November. Those links, which were all embedded in the third paragraph of the release (meaning people had to open the release, and really read it to get to the link) generated almost 1,000 clicks. And think about it – by the time someone finds press release, reads it and then clicks on the link you offer them in the release text – they’ve demonstrated some real interest in your message. The click-through numbers represent enormously valuable traffic.

So, press releases – and newswire services – still work. That said, they both work better when the organizations issuing press releases make a point of developing the sort of interesting, visual and interactive content audiences appreciate today. I’ve written an ebook detailing new approaches to press releases that are generating results, and it includes real-life examples and tips. Here’s the link: New School PR Tactics .