In 2018 sending out a press release via a wire service simply doesn’t make sense as a public relations tactic to garner earned media coverage.
That brings us to an even bigger question -- does sending out press releases make sense at all?
Well, not really.
Here’s the thing about press releases -- you learn about them in PR 101. Sending out press releases used to be part of a standard PR professional’s workflow, and as a result, many pros still send out releases simply because it’s what they’ve always done.
And hence, newswire services like PR Newswire and BusinessWire are costing PR professionals millions of dollars each year, with foggy ROI at best. On paper, it looks like you can get your news in front of tens of thousands of media outlets for a nominal fee.
Who wouldn’t want to pay to play a little bit in that case?
But press releases don’t really work in the modern era of media relations.
In today’s digital age, when there are tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium available, does it make sense to pay for a press release to be published on a wire service?
Let’s debunk a few of common myths around using wire services.
“In my industry I have to use a wire service to share important news, like quarterly earnings.” Nope! According to the SEC way back in 2013, companies are allowed to use social media outlets to announce key information so long as investors have been alerted “about which social media will be used to disseminate such information.”
“But my executives love seeing their names in popular publications and media outlets! News wires help me achieve this goal.” We totally get it, but consider this: Posting to social media allows you to @mention executives, depending on your platform of choice. This actually helps your execs make business connections vs. a quick mention on a static wire service.
“I use a wire service because it’s included as added value to a service I already use.” Awesome, we see that you’re trying to make the most of the service you’ve invested in, but that doesn’t necessarily make this a smart decision. Releases sent through a wire just appear spammy to journalists -- you don’t want them to think of your company in that way, right?
Personalization is everything when it comes to building relationships with the media. Just consider this statistic from Muck Rack’s 2017 Journalist Survey: “When asked, why do you immediately reject otherwise relevant pitches, 22 percent of journalists cited lack of personalization.”
Crafting and distributing a custom pitch shows reporters that you mean business. It demonstrates that you thoroughly understand the media outlet and individual you’re pitching and that you have something unique to offer their audience.
Sending a pitch directly to a reporter also means that journalists don’t have to spend time searching for material on a wire service -- the news is coming directly to them.
Download our ultimate guide to pitching to increase your chances of success!
Even if you’re a fan of the editorial control that comes with publishing a press release on a newswire service, there are still far better alternatives out there.
Do you have a website? Great! Start publishing a company blog. You could also consider sharing the news on a site like Medium to increase your post reach.
It’s no secret that earned media can help drive traffic and attention to your owned media properties. So in that vein, in addition to publishing on your own channels, considering seeking out an industry blog that accepts guest pitches and submit your story idea for the chance to be featured. Both options offer greater control than a traditional pitch, because you can publish your announcement or story exactly as you desire (minus some editor’s notes if you’re submitting to another industry blog).
You can include links to sections of your website or other sites with relevant information and even mention internal executives directly to get their buy-in.
And unlike a traditional news wire service, you have the chance to pick where you’re published so you know you’ll find the right audience for your piece and actually engage readers.
With billions of users globally, social media should definitely be a tool in your PR arsenal.
Social media has removed the buffer between PR pros and the general public. Gone are the days when it was necessary to hold a press conference or publish a press release to attract the attention of the masses. What used to take hours (sometimes days!) now can happen with a few button clicks.
Just like the general public publishes and consumes content daily across major social networking sites, so do journalists. From sharing recent stories they’ve published to seeking out sources on Twitter, reporters have become increasingly active on social media.
Consider that 70 percent of journalists we surveyed in 2017 said they consider Twitter their most valuable social network and 52 percent indicated they’ll be using Twitter even more in their day-to-day.
In addition to providing a great place to publish content or find professional journalists to pitch, social media is an invaluable tool for impressing your bosses.
Sending out a Tweet or LinkedIn post with your latest blog post or media hit? Tag internal executives right in the message. They’ll be able to see your PR efforts in action and share with their network amplifying the message even further.
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