PR wire services have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve never been a big user, and I’ve never been a big advocate.
Maybe it’s been the kind of work I do (primarily social/digital the last eight-plus years). Maybe it’s been the kinds of companies I worked for in the past. Maybe it’s a combo of both.
But, despite my opinions, PR wire services are still around–primarily Business Wire and PR Newswire.
My big question: Do these wire services still have a place in the 2018 communicator’s toolbox? I set out to find out by asking a few trusted friends and colleagues across the industry:
Cameron Potts, vice president of PR and community management, Deluxe
First, on a day-to-day basis, newswire services no longer have the same place in a PR practitioner’s tool kit that they once did. Journalists, reporters, bloggers are not getting news from press releases put out on the wire anymore. Relationships still matter, even with the changing face of journalism, and at the same time, companies are their own publishers, providing content directly to the audiences they want to reach.
That said, as a publicly traded company, we rely on newswire services to release quarterly earnings information to shareholders, investors and basically just a wider audience than we could reach on our own. In this way, it is a valuable tool I will continue to utilize.
Another way to think about this question is from a marketing standpoint. Using services like PR News and Business Newswire actually help our marketing and sales teams. Because search engines like Yahoo, Google, NY Times and many other will pick up the release on their services, news releases for specific companies and entities help increase search rankings, thus getting the eyeballs of more potential customers onto a new product or service. Moving forward, news wire services might be more suited to be in the toolkit of the marketing professional and not the PR professional.
Ben Saukko, director of communications, AmeriPride Services
Cydney Strommen, director-North America Marketing Communications, Aveda
I’ve found wire services to be helpful for SEO, but rarely a driver of impactful coverage outside of true hard news – earnings, M&A, etc. At Aveda, most of our news is B2C around product launches, or B2B to a targeted segment of salon owners, stylists and opinion leaders in the beauty and wellness space. With such a narrow B2B audience, many that we already have existing relationships with, we don’t actively use a wire service.
Bruce Eric Anderson, global director-external communications, Honeywell
We use wire services as a means of building a “digital reef” of keywords that we’re building broader campaigns around, then have the wire release out there generating eyeballs. A great example was a connected worker release we did several years ago. We announced that Honeywell and Intel were doing a technology demonstration of a worker prototype at an Intel IoT summit. We continue to get calls today for interviews based on that one release.
Susan Beatty, vice president-public affairs and communications, U.S. Bank
We value and see the great opportunity we have with owned media and our ability to create and extend relationships with media. We still see the role of the wire service at times for financial releases, significant leadership announcements and some products/services. We are however seeing good results from publishing directly to our Newsroom (usbank.com/newsroom) where we can create better content with visuals and video resulting in more positive social media sharing opportunities.
Branden Happen, senior manager-marketing and public relations, Toro
We rely on news wire services predominantly for the distribution of financial, M&A and other corporate-type releases. For product, event and market-specific news, we tend not to utilize wire services. I have found they typically don’t have the reach and placement success with targeted media in our markets – and, therefore, we handle through our own distributions given our established relationships with specific industry media. That said, some of our businesses will occasionally push their news over the wire, but mainly for the ability to push beyond their key industry media. While news wire results in reach and other metrics may seem favorable at first glance, it’s important to dig deeper to see where your news is getting placed and if searchable. Oftentimes, you will find that it’s buried on a news site and virtually impossible to find, providing little value.