We’ve spent a lot of time on our blog discussing the art of writing the perfect press release. Today, we’re tackling an equally important subject - press release distribution.
Let me start by telling you that there are a lot of options to consider:
- Wire services — examples: Business Wire, PR Newswire
- Search Engine Optimized (SEO) services — examples: PR Web, Pitch Engine
- Media database services — examples: Cision, Meltwater News
- Creating your own distribution list
- Hiring an industry professional to distribute your news
I will take a deeper dive into each of these areas in the next few months, but for today I just want to give you a little bit of information about the qualities and drawback of each of these options.
When you’re sending out financial information and you want to reach more “mainstream” media who you don’t have a relationship with, a wire service is a great way to go. All you have to do is send your release to the wire service, and they will push it out to thousands of editors. Of course for that convenience, you will pay a premium price. But if your message will appeal to a wide audience and placement analytics are important to you, it’s hard to beat a good wire service.
Personally, I believe this type of distribution is still finding it’s niche in the PR industry. The primary focus of these services is to get your release to rank higher in search results. Depending on the message of your release, this approach may be exactly what you’re looking for. So when you want to drive web traffic, check out an SEO service.
The plus side is that it’s considerably cheaper than using a wire service, but the downside is that you lack the direct delivery to the media.
Media Database Service
Usually reserved for large companies and agencies, a database service will allow you build your own distribution lists from the thousands of contacts in the service’s system. You will be able to research publications and editors by subject and develop your own distribution lists. The best part is that when an editor changes position, the database service will update the contact information automatically.
Depending on the number of releases you’re going to be sending out throughout the year, a media database may be too expensive to maintain a subscription with. Also, your distribution list will only be as good as you create it — there is a lot of upfront work involved in getting a list built correctly.
Building your own list
If you have the time, this certainly is the least expensive option available. And if you know the editors of the media outlets in your target audience, it’s probably your best option.
Of course if PR isn’t the job you do every day, you’re better off enlisting a PR professional or relying on one of the services mentioned above. After all, you didn’t put all that time and effort into writing a great release just to have it go unnoticed because you failed to get it in the hands of the right editors.
Hiring a PR Industry Expert
As a PR expert, I can tell you my job is to consult you on the best distribution avenue for a particular press release. Often, this means that we will send it out to the media outlets that are the most appropriate for your business on your behalf. Outside consultants, like Amber and me, have spent years developing relationships with industry editors, and we understand the type of content the editors are looking for and how they want to receive it. When the quality of placements matter, hiring an expert is certainly the way to go.
There you have it, a very quick overview on how to distribute your news.