If you are involved in technology PR (either agency or client side) you’ll have come across press release wire services which help to pump out releases to large numbers of media who subscribe according to their interests. But a recent post on the Econsultancy blog questions whether they are any use nowadays – given that journos and bloggers can probably find content and news using other means ( Google alerts, social networks, online communities etc).
While I agree that press release wire services are no substitute for sending tailored PR content to journalists and bloggers you know and engage with regularly, I believe they can and do provide added value in five ways:
1.) They can generate news coverage in niche media or those you might not regularly target
On numerous occasions I’ve seen a wire generate unexpected coverage in surprising places. These include niche websites or blogs and publications based overseas… and titles I don’t regularly target because they are a bit…well…tangential for my clients.
2.) They can help you reach target audiences directly
Any distribution/wire service worth its salt will have its content indexed by Google and the other search engines. So provided you have done your keyword research right, there’s a chance it will hit some of the target audiences you want to reach directly. I know this is true because of the countless times I myself have ended up finding a useful press release hosted on a wire site when I have been researching a topic via search.
3.) They can trigger social media mentions
Every time I put a release on a wire I notice that it generates some social media mentions – normally retweets on Twitter. Many of the wire services include social media insertion as part of the package. And on the odd occasion I have seen this lead to my stories being re-tweeted by ‘power tweeters’ with thousands of followers.
4.) They can generate backlinks to help your SEO…possibly
Many press release wire services allow you to insert links (to pages on your own or your clients’ web sites or landing pages) within the press release. The hope is that as the release gets published and republished in various places across the web, this generates multiple back-links. As the search engines use the number and quality of backlinks to determine how highly web pages should rank, then in theory the wire services should be able to help your SEO. This is not a cut and dried case however; I’ve had some SEOs tell me that backlinks from newswires do convey some ‘link juice’ to help rankings, while others pooh- pooh them as a waste of time because they believe these poor quality links are useless .
5.) They can sometimes provide a safety net
Your target media is changing constantly, with new titles coming out, being acquired or closing. Journalists move between titles, change their beats on the same titles, or go freelance. It’s difficult for you as a PR to keep track of every change as soon as it’s happened. So a wire service might just provide a little bit of extra insurance that your story will get in front of someone that you should be targeting but have missed.
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