Should Businesses Still Use Wire Services? (If so, which one?)

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Whether it’s Twitter or YouTube, social media tools allow businesses to instantly publish to the world and share information broadly. So do we still need to use wire services to distribute our news?

The short answer is yes, since distributing press releases over the wire will index your news on major search engines like Google, Bing, Ask and Yahoo. That means that if someone is searching for a product or service like yours, there’s a better chance of finding you online (assuming you incorporated key words into your release).

So the question becomes which wire service is best?

There are many different wire services and over the past couple of years, I’ve used Business Wire, Marketwire, PR Newswire and GlobeNewswire. (You should know that all of these companies use the same mechanism to distribute news to media outlets, bloggers, internet sites, etc., so it really depends on which geography or niche distribution you choose that determines who sees it…and how much it costs.)

I’ve also used the free PR wires such as or Newswire Today for releases that are of low news value or that I know the media won’t pick up – but I still want it to be searchable on the web. However, with the free services your release must first be reviewed and approved by them – a process that can take more than a day. If you’re queuing up a release the night before (like I often do), there’s no guarantee that it will be distributed on the day you request. In fact, one release was distributed two days after its dateline! (You get what you “pay” for!)

Since I use another tool for media monitoring, analysis and list building, I really just need a distribution service that is affordable, while offering several distribution options . Especially since wire services can be very expensive, as most charge based on geographic distribution and word count (however, some now offer unlimited word count).

The “best” service will depend on your needs. For example:

  1. Do you need U.S. only, or global distribution?
  2. How long is your typical press release? If it’s more than 700-800 words, you should look at bundled packages or services with unlimited word count.
  3. Will you use a lot of photos/videos? Are you looking for help with release SEO? Many companies offer specialization in these areas.
  4. What type of reporting do you need?
  5. Will you require additional services such as monitoring, targeting or multimedia marketing?

We use a variety of wire services, depending on the client’s needs. For basic wire distribution, I’ve been using Marketwire or GlobeNewswire, as they’re less expensive than Business Wire and PR Newswire. Between the two, GlobeNewswire is cheaper, but I don’t like their reports although they’re working to improve them. Marketwire (like Business Wire or PR Newswire) is fairly comprehensive in its reporting capabilities and sends you an Initial report, a Next Day report, and a Fifth Day report. These visual dashboards are a nice way to show clients where the news has appeared over a span of several days.

Of course, there may come a time when social media activity influences search engine indexing such that distribution over the wires becomes a thing of the past.

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