Should you use a wire service for news releases? - SHIFT Communications PR Agency - Boston | New York | San Francisco | Austin

Should you use a wire service for news releases?

SHIFT conducted a survey asking paid professional bloggers and journalists (the audience that PR professionals most often work with for media placements) two questions in a survey. The first question was how often they read news releases that were sent to them by PR professionals and brands:

How often do you read press releases that are sent to you by agencies, companies, or PR professionals?

While 43% indicated that they never read them, the majority indicated that they did, which was clearly reason enough for PR professionals to do what they’ve done for decades – reach out to appropriate, targeted media outlets with relevant, targeted, valuable news to make a match for coverage.

The second question was focused on the use of news releases and press releases distributed to wire services such as MarketWire, BusinessWire, PRWeb, and others, “How often do you proactively search press releases from a wire service like Marketwire, PRWeb, etc.?” The answer:

How often do you proactively search press releases from a wire service like Marketwire, PRWeb, etc.?

The tables have turned a bit; those who answered Never are now in the majority. However, roughly 15% still said they always went searching for press releases from wire services. If you’re hunting for coverage as a brand or a PR professional, you can’t afford to ignore the 15% who always do or the 45% or always or sometimes do so – that’s a giant chunk of influential audience that can’t be ignored.

These survey results dispel the mistaken perception that wire services are irrelevant in the modern social media era. Social media gives us another channel to reach out to our targeted audiences, but it doesn’t replace or destroy the channels that came before it.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Disclosure Statement

SHIFT commissioned Google Consumer Surveys to collect responses from a representative sample of 200 respondents who answered yes to the following screening question: “Are you a journalist or paid professional blogger?” This survey collected 34,721 impressions and 10,561 responses for a 30.4% response rate with an RMSE score of 3.0%. Possible answers were yes or no. For the question “How often do you read press releases that are sent to you by agencies, companies, or PR professionals?”, 172 responses were collected from the pool of screened respondents out of 438 impressions for a response rate of 45.7% with an RMSE score of 4.5%. Possible answers were a weighted scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was never and 5 was always. SHIFT Communications was the sole investor in the study. The survey population was the adult Internet user population of the United States. The date of the survey period was 2/4/13-2/13/13.

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Posted on April 25, 2013 in Press Release, Public Relations

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing; Marketo Corporation named him a Marketing Illuminator, and PR News nominated him as Social Media Person of the Year. Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s the author of the best-selling book Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

Hot button alert!  The benefit that is missed is search. Yeah, yeah, Matt Cutts says...and I've gone back and forth on this in my own mind.  However, what is clear to me is people search for answers -- and reporters and bloggers are people -- they search for answers as well.  When I can put out a press release and check the analytics 24 hours later and see that 5,000 people read the release, I know its got value. I'd be leaving work early every day if my blog posts consistently got 5,000 page reads.  When I log into GA and check the referral sources and can identify those referrals from a press release, I know it's got value. When I get a pingback in WordPress from a blog that linked to my press release through Zemanta, I know that press release has value. Page reads, referrals, backlinks -- those are all part of the search signal mix. No, bloggers and reporters aren't reading news on wires directly, or fewer of them are as your survey suggests, but the more important part is that good content is good content, and good content rises to the top. Spending $1,200 a pop on a press release hoping a reporter will read it on the wire is the wrong way to think about it. The PR world changed about six or seven years ago. 

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