When is a news release worthy of a wire service?
By Leslie Allen
Clients often seem perplexed by wire releases. Questions range from: What are they? When should I send one out? Why should I send out a wire release?
The very definition of a wire release is confusing and based on historical technology that has since changed. Here I will share a few tips and background on the elusive wire release to clarify its use from the perspective of today’s communications.
What is a wire release and why is it named such? Prior to the Internet, news that needed to be transmitted quickly to news outlets actually used a telegraph machine. The news was telegraphed to major news outlets that serviced newspapers and later broadcast including many that are still in operation today – Reuters, Scripps-Howard, Dow Jones and the Associated Press. With the Internet, how the news is transmitted has changed, but the service itself is still as important, maybe more so, as there is so much news (content) distributed and more outlets for distribution.
These services are typically an additional fee charged by an advertising agency for press distribution. Some agencies have an upcharge for the service, while others like Martin & Company simply provide a pass-through expense for the service.
Wire services are very relevant today. Their advantage is the ability to build awareness of your topic, issue or company announcement across a broad spectrum of media outlets very quickly. And today, services can be tailored geographically or by industry trade if a national or international audience is not needed. News outlets include city, national and financial newspapers, broadcast outlets by its Designated Market Area (DMA) defined by the Nielson Company, trade journals, online news services and for some services, influencers are also included. These services subscribe to the wire service and when the news is distributed they typically will include it online or in print if the topic is relevant to their audience. So while you may have a killer list of editors, publishers and stakeholders that you use for press release distribution, if you feel that your message to the public should be broader than this proprietary list, then you may want to consider a wire release.
Which gets us to the question of when and why you should use a wire service for news release distribution. Below is a checklist of announcements that may be worthy of a wire release. As with all services there is a cost/benefit equation that needs to be addressed. So, the decision ultimately circles back to company goals and budgets.
My short list for the consideration of a wire release includes a major company announcement – new president, new board of directors, new building, expansion or acquisition. Why? Because the perception of your company is important. Anything you can do to build a perception that your company is thriving will build value.
Secondly, is there a major crisis? Has there been a fire, flood, tragedy or other significant turn of events that would have national interest. In this case, being prepared to set the tone and narrative of an event that can cause damage to your company’s reputation is extremely important.
Thirdly, is your company introducing a product or service with significant benefits or features unlike any other on the market. What is the appeal of the product, is it broad or narrow? If it would have broad appeal, a wire release is a must. Here is a way to also help establish ownership (patent) if competing claims surface later.
There are many longstanding wire services that have a reputation for good results – Cision PR Newswire, BusinessWire, Marketwired (Intrado/Globenewswire) and more. These may be slightly more expensive than those that simply focus on online coverage, but they have consistently ranked high by PR professionals.
Costs are based on word count (400 words is the industry threshold) and distribution selection – US Newswire, State, City or other like Automotive Hot Spots. Your PR professional will help to clarify what distribution you should use based on your audience and content and research the best value service. Many wire services offer a batch discount so that if you feel your company may have a use for three or more releases over the course of 12 months, this option should be explored.
There are many good reasons to send a release via the wire – control your narrative, product launch, tout achievements, to position your company as the leader in its category and more. To help determine if your news is “newsworthy” for the wire, give us a call.
If you would like to know more about wire services, email PR Director Leslie Allen at Martin & Company Advertising at email@example.com, or call Martin & Company at 615.876.1822.