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Are you Wasting your Investment in Newswire Distribution?


There is a lot of debates surrounding the effectiveness of newswire distribution. Some experts believe that it is dead and no longer a viable PR tool that can help businesses. On the other side, others say that it is still a useful PR tactic that promotes brand awareness, provide media coverage, boosts leads and sales and positions companies as an expert. What is the real score when it comes to distributing releases?

Many have conducted studies to answer this big question. Is it still worth investing in?

With several questions in mind, let’s tackle one by one what distributing releases mean today, how it helps brands and what its stand in the industry.


What are newswires?

Newswires, also called press release feeds or press release distribution services syndicate releases on various sites, locations, and media outlets to help brands gain exposure and media coverage. A business needs to consider varieties of factors when choosing a service, including the distribution, cost, usability, upgrades, customer service and the levels of customization. A business receives a report on how the campaign is performing and how it is perceived by the media. There’s a big difference between newswires and PR agencies:


What are PR services?

PR services or agencies help brands build an effective message to share. They assist them decide, whether issuing a release through newswires is worth the investment. It is the role of the agency to help brands develop strategies in their communication. They can also recommend if they need other campaigns to help boost their business and target the right audience.


The History of Newswires

Newswires emerged due to federal regulations requiring companies to follow disclosure laws.  With the advent of technology, it continues to develop and expand through time. Technology companies were the first clients of newswires.


The Changes and Impact of Pricing on the Service

With stiff competition, the landscape in the industry has changed. Several burgeoning newswires sprouted offering packages and discounted services with the hope of sending releases across tens of thousands of locations. Unfortunately, a lot of major newswires are offering high packages that are too pricey for companies. This gives them a reason to think twice whether to use the service or not. With diminishing online pickups, some companies aren’t sure to use the service since there are no guaranteed results. Only quality releases get the cut. What about other releases? Even if they paid to use the service, they aren’t going to get a good ROI for what they invested. There are basic facts that you need to understand about press release distribution. Here are the reasons why some experts claim that these services aren’t effective anymore:

  • It provides no SEO value.

After Google changed its rules, links on releases provide no SEO value any longer. Links should have a “no follow” attribute which means that it cannot be counted to rank on the search results. Google has become smarter to ensure that you acquire links naturally and not the product of buying it. PR services failed to provide a way to reach a new audience after the changes in algorithms.

  • Majority of journalists don’t see your releases.

They would only see it if they are subscribed to the news sites. Otherwise, if you use the wrong service, they wouldn’t find your announcement. If you’re thinking that sending on many sites will get you coverage, think again. Not all journalists and influencers like bombarding their inbox with tons of releases where a portion is not even useful for them.

  • There’s no guarantee that your release appears on the search results.

The audience will not see your news on Google News search results unless they type the exact headline of your release.  If they read your release, it’s by chance that they read it. In general, your readers don’t really have the interest to engage with you.

  • It’s unlikely to get news coverage.

As already mentioned, it’s very impossible for journalists to search for releases. If they don’t intentionally search for your news or brand, they will not find you. It just proves that journalists aren’t going to contact you or have the interest to provide you publicity.

  • You’re unlikely to reach your target audience.

Majority of releases don’t attract much traffic to a site. Most of your audiences don’t come from your target. They come from other sources outside your demographic target.

  • It’s expensive.

Paying newswires would cost you around $500 or higher for distribution. It’s a big amount, especially for startups and small companies that are looking for ways to save and get more returns.

  • There’s word limit in publishing releases.

Most newswires require companies to conform to the word limit of releases. Otherwise, they will not publish your copy.


Now, let’s see why some experts still find it effective and useful to some businesses:

– You can use the services for distributing releases if you have enough budget but have fewer expectations.In short, it is just an option and not your only PR means to bring your news out in the public.

– It is recommended in case of a crisis. Dealing with a crisis can be daunting if you don’t have any plan to issue your company statement. A release can set the issue straight and clear your side. You can express that you’re serious of handling the situations.

– If you are after getting your name in media outlets, then this is a good move. If you are the business that doesn’t care about the metrics and how you’ll reach your goal, this is the way to go.

– Do you belong in the top Fortune 500 companies? If you are, then you deserve a follow-up story. Majority of popular companies get their story in media outlets.

– It enhances your credibility since your story is placed in front of your target audience and places that promote your reputation. You can bolster brand awareness by positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

– You can reach more influencers and bloggers that give your brand a wider exposure.

– You get analytics report which gives you an idea of how well your story is perceived by the media and your audience.

– It provides social media exposure. Many services offer social media sharing features that encourage visitors to share your story on various social media channels.


We have seen the pros and cons of distributing releases via newswires. Now let’s check the usefulness of these services in the journalist’s perspective. Are press release distribution services useful for journalists? About 80 journalists were surveyed to find the answer to this question. In terms of usefulness and access, it was found that 37 percent of journalists use wires everyday, 30 percent use it rarely and 21 percent never use it, according to Vitis Public Relations. Journalists use newswires for several reasons. The same survey found that 78 percent use it to look for news stories, 56 percent use it for feature and article stories, and 56 percent use to check industry trends. Since news placed on these services are accessible to many, there is an issue for some journalists in terms of exclusivity. No one wants to cover a story that has been covered by others.

There’s no personalization. They prefer a story that is exclusive to them. The service is very useful when journalists want to check facts. It is fast and easy for them to verify information, without the need to visit sites and press rooms. Links in releases provide easy access for them to learn and verify information. Multimedia like images and videos are also accessible. The search tab and quick access to information are features that help a lot of journalists. However, newswires are not a  solution if you want to reach journalists. If you think that it is the best way to earn coverage, it’s not.

In fact, the majority of them use it only for verifying facts and not for searching story ideas. Reaching out directly to journalists is still the best way to get their attention.

Marketers and PR professionals should research and find out the topics they are interested in, their recent coverage and what they are planning to cover.  Building a connection through social media is a must in order to gain traction.

While newswires provide great help for journalists, they need to improve their process of providing only newsworthy releases. There is a lot of noise in the service. They should enhance their tactics to bring out only valuable releases.

Again, are newswires worth the money? Yes, but in terms of other reasons and not for SEO.  The top reason for companies to use it has something to do with their digital footprint.

You can only have footprints if you leave something behind that people will remember. It’s where a story plays a huge role. Your business or brand has a story.

You need to tell your own story.  If not, others are going to tell it.

If you Google your brand and find the kind of information that you are happy with, then you have created a great footprint. A well-written story in the form of release can land you on the top searches of Google News. Keep in mind that creating your own footprint is not an overnight work. You need to do it regularly to create an impact. You need to deliver a value proposition and not just seeing your business name on Google Search results.

What’s new is that some newswire companies can provide Yahoo! links to your news.  The link is an instant booster providing credibility to brands.

Yahoo Finance works with several newswires that can get your stories published. In just a matter of minutes, you can acquire a link from Yahoo after your news appeared on the wire which can boost your ranking.

It can be a great advantage for businesses because they can get a good ROI. It expands a brand’s exposure since more people can read your content. It translates to an extra value of publicity for your brand. Today, there are contradicting opinions on the relevance of newswires. Brands have different perspectives mainly due to the results they are getting. Sadly, a lot of businesses rely on the service to earn media coverage. If this is your goal, you are committing a big mistake. You can’t grow relationships with the media through the service. If this is your only method to get publicity, you are missing a lot of opportunities. Developing relationships is important in public relations.

Don’t forget that PR professionals and marketers still pitch directly to journalists. Most of them have already reached out to them personally or through social media. It gives businesses an edge over others who only depend on distribution services. Building relationships are critical in earning coverage. If your releases are syndicated only via newswires that means that you are placing your opportunity to build rapport with journalists through the services.


If journalists remember your brand, they are most likely to pay attention to your story. If you know their interest and what kind of story they write, you can personalize a pitch that produces a better result. Building relationships is takes a lot of effort and time. It’s the product of providing them help by pitching story idea and offering resources. It’s one thing that you may have missed possibly if you just depend on using newswires. Don’t forget that your audiences are not machines. They are humans who love stories and engagement.

Getting your news via these services in front of the media can provide you with convenience. It provides much ease since they already have a network of journalists, bloggers and media outlets. However, don’t forget that journalists are only going to receive your story if they subscribed to these services. If not, they wouldn’t know that you even have a story to tell.

Solely depending on your campaign on distribution services will weaken your PR efforts. Newswires are only tools that will help you achieve your goals. Don’t think that using it is the end of your campaign. To answer the question of whether newswires are worth your investment,  it depends on the results. If this is your first time to use a distribution service, you need analytic reports to give you insights on your releases.

Check if you are getting your ROI. Repeat the campaign and see if you’re getting the same outcome. The best way to get the most of it is to pitch journalists and use the service at the same time.



Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.