PR Peeve #4: Wire Services

December 5, 2012

How important are BusinessWire, PR Newswire and other wire services?  Not very.

If your goal is to be lumped in with hundreds of other press releases on a Web site that sounds important, but isn’t, then spend the money.  You can pretty much guarantee your client that the news will be picked up by the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle, to cite two examples (not in print, of course, but on a Web page with hundreds of other press releases).  Sites like Highbeam and NewsBlaze will likely also run it.  You may even get some confounding results, such as having a personnel announcement for a financial executive appear on a site for solar panels.

What you won’t get is coverage in top-tier media.  They want exclusivity, so using a wire service will guarantee that your news will not be picked up.

While wire services are necessary for announcing earnings of public companies and for other major news, it is very rare for a wire service story to be picked up by a media outlet of any significance.  PR agencies spend lots of money on wire services and pass along the costs – typically at a mark-up – to their clients.  In many cases, those funds would be better spent elsewhere.

A summary of PR Peeves initially appeared in an article we wrote for the Worcester Business Journal.

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