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What's the difference between a newswire agency and a commercial press release wire service?

By Lisa Goldsberry

26162956_sGive your news maximum reach with newswires

When you’re ready to hire a PR firm, it’s often for increased news exposure or earned media coverage.


Many PR terms and phrases are tossed around, sometimes incorrectly, and it can easily get confusing. It’s important to understand the purpose and differences between various newswires and how they can help you achieve your goals.


While this is all fine and dandy, for most companies, the bottom line is ... well, the bottom line. You need to know what various services cost and what you’re getting for your money. Being able to distinguish between PR tools or press release syndication services, including Business Wire, Cision PR Newswire, Cision PR Web, GlobeNewswire, and other news distribution services, will ensure you’re speaking the same language when it comes to purchasing PR agency services.


What is a commercial newswire or news agency?

Right this minute, someone somewhere is doing something newsworthy. It may even be your company that has exciting news to share and, if so, you want to share your information with as many customers and key stakeholders as possible. That’s where press release syndication services come in.

A news agency often provides a newswire service that transmits news and information worldwide to its subscribing newsrooms in a matter of minutes. It takes its name from the telegraph machines that were once used for the same purpose, and the term is still widely accepted today. Reuters, Scripps-Howard, Dow Jones, and the Associated Press are examples of the most popular news agencies or newswires.


Although news agencies aren't actual newspapers, a majority of major news outlets all over the world use them. A news agency's newswire consists of journalists and editors who write stories, either by covering an event themselves and sending it out through the wire or using newsworthy information sent to them from PR firms, companies, and other sources.


This is helpful because most news outlets don’t have the budgets or manpower to physically cover news stories happening throughout the world. For example, government news, a major crime in another state, and big news like a war breaking out somewhere in the world are all things that newswire services aggregate for other publications.


News outlets pay a fee to receive submissions from the newswire services. Journalists transmit dozens of stories and photographs each day and the news outlets select the ones that they feel will be the most interesting to their target audiences. To get a better sense of the process, it may help to pick up the nearest newspaper and take note of the stories that are written by local reporters and those that have a news agency's byline.


The differences between news agency wire services and commercial newswire services

The Associated Press wire contains stories published exclusively by AP correspondents and newspapers that subscribe to the AP press release syndication services. Companies are unable to pay to have their news placed here. Editors select the content they post to the AP wire based on the overall news value.


At PR firms, you will most likely be discussing press release syndication services, which are filled with news releases from PR people and companies that pay a fee to post their company news. There are myriad companies that provide these services (PRNewswire, Business Wire, PR Web, and others), each with its own unique features and benefits.


How the right PR firm can help

Axia has relationships with both paid and unpaid newswires, and we actively pitch our clients’ best stories to our contacts within these newswires. For example, Axia receives volume pricing from these paid newswire services, and our public relations agency extends discounted rates to our clients. Therefore, a $2,000 newswire package may cost $400 to $800 for an Axia client depending on current volume and promotional offerings.


Contact us today or download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment to learn more about how we can increase your number of earned media placements.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education, and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations, press release syndication services

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