When it comes to newswire services, brand managers and communication directors have many options. From reach and cost efficiencies to the quality of monitoring and customer service, understanding the differences between newswire services can be especially difficult.
As a newcomer to the PR industry, I’ve outlined what I’ve picked up on during my research on the differences among some of the most popular newswire services: PR Newswire, Business Wire, PRWeb, and Cision. Most offer global distribution options, as well as industry/category specific groups (e.g., Corporate Social Responsibility circuits, health reporters, Travel, Policy, Technology, etc.) Some also present niche industry & business sector lists that allow you to reach journalists and bloggers covering relevant beats.
One of the biggest values for newswires is search. Search engines routinely serve up archived records of past news that help build brand awareness and share a brand’s official viewpoint and/or commentary.
Distributing a news announcement can typically cost anywhere from $99 to over $1,000, based on the length, multimedia assets included and targeting. PR Newswire and Business Wire both charge a fee based on the length of a news announcement, typically an initial cost for the first 400 words and a separate rate for each additional 100-word increment. PR Web and Cision are billed at a flat rate, regardless of content length.
All offer an online portal for uploading content and video/image assets, as well as reporting/ results tracking and customer service support.
Before beginning, the “ah-ha” discovery upfront: The media monitoring and research platform, Cision owns both PRWeb and PR Newswire. Now, onto our findings:
Based on what others are saying about this newswire service, I gather that PR Newswire has been around the longest and is well respected for its distribution breadth and reporting. PR Newswire offers access to 3,500 media touchpoints and 125 trade publications.
They claim to make every release taggable with more social media tools than other providers, which gets brands into the online conversation among niche audiences. A $195 annual PR Newswire subscription is required.
⇨ Bottom line: With PR Newswire, you get reassurance that you’re receiving a service from an established entity with a solid reputation. While this may be encouraging, the cost is higher than other newswires, including added costs for photos/logos and premium distribution services.
The clearest counterpart to PR Newswire is Business Wire, which seems to be firmly rooted in disseminating in quarterly earnings announcements and financial disclosures.
Beyond its business and financial concentration, Business Wire—like its peers—allows you to segment news geographically and by industry.
⇨ Bottom line: If you seek a newswire vehicle that is recognized for its financial news connectedness, its online newsroom integration solution and its multitude of circuits and distribution lists, this may be the best route for you.
PRWeb, also owned by Cision, claims it is the highest-rated SEO press release service. It also touts its reporting capabilities that help you gauge how many times your news was viewed or appeared in RSS feeds or was indexed by search engines.
They guarantee your news will reach 1,200 websites that have a combined viewership of 12 million. On top of that, their overall lower distribution fee, combined with the ability to upload an unlimited number of image/video assets, PR Web seems to be a great value.
⇨ Bottom line: If you’re looking for a value-driven service that does the job, PR Web is a great option.
Unlike the services above, Cision allows users to research individual or categories of journalists by role (e.g., news assignment editors, community affairs reporters, columnists, blogger, etc.) subject (computer-aided design, electrical engineering, green building, home remodeling, etc.) outlet or editor location. It also enables you to search journalist via keyword.
So, instead of sending news to predetermined categories (e.g., The Americas, auto writers, sports reporters, etc.) as with a typical newswire, this platform allows you to tailor a narrower audience for your distribution. Like the other options, Cision also offers analytics, reporting and social media monitoring.
This added flexibility comes with a pretty hefty cost: an annual subscription in the $8,000 ballpark.
⇨ Bottom line: Getting your news to the right individuals and cultivating long-term relationships with those reporters most important to your brand is priceless. However, these types of platforms, (also Meltwater and Critical Mention), are geared for large communication departments and agencies that focus on media relations.
So that’s my take after a month in the public relations internship saddle at GreenHouse Digital + PR. Full disclosure, our agency has used all four service providers discussed herein. Each offers a unique benefit depending on the objectives and parameters of a specific project. Let us help you select the right media relations strategy for your next announcement with a 30-minute no-cost consult.