April 28, 2021
Learn the benefits of using commercial newswires and the mistakes companies make when posting their news releases with our host, Jason Mudd. Jason is the managing partner of Axia Public Relations.
Five things you’ll learn from this episode:
Why publicly companies need to use press release syndication services
Mistakes companies make when using commercial newswires
“The primary benefit of using commercial newswires is instantly getting your news story in front of thousands and potentially millions of consumers overnight.” — @jasonmudd9
“A lot of publicly traded companies have to post to commercial newswires for disclosure reasons.” — @jasonmudd9
“If dollars are limited, I would spend more of my time media pitching, picking up the phone, and teasing a news release than I would put a news release on a commercial newswire.” — @jasonmudd9
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About Jason Mudd:
Jason Mudd, APR, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia in July 2002.
Clients love Jason’s passion, innovation, candor, commitment, and award-winning team. In an increasingly tech-forward world, Jason’s grasp of technological demands on companies provides his clients in multiple sectors a unique advantage toward reaching their top audiences. After teaching himself HTML in 1994, Jason helped pioneer internet marketing strategies as an early adopter of e-commerce, SEO, and social media, inspiring tech giants like Yahoo.
At Axia, Jason attracts, develops, retains, innovates, and leads top PR talent and clients. He oversees strategic communications for the firm’s national clients and provides high-level consultations to client leadership teams at billion-dollar global brands, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, including spokesperson training, crisis communications management, analytics, social media, online reputation management, and more. He also speaks frequently to corporations and industry groups and writes about public relations trends and best practices for American City Business Journals and other national businesses.
Guest’s contact info and resources:
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- Hello, and thank you for tuning in to "On Top Of PR". I'm your host, Jason Mudd. Today, we're talking about commercial newswires, why they work, when they work, how they work and when they don't. I think this is a great episode. I'm glad you've tuned in. As you're listening, be thinking of a friend or colleague that would benefit from this episode, and please be sure to share it with them.
- [Narrator] Welcome to On Top Of PR with Jason Mudd. This solo cast episode is brought to you by media monitoring company Burrelles. Learn more at burrell's.com/OnTopOfPR. And now, here's Jason Mudd.
- Hello, and welcome to "On Top Of PR". I'm your host Jason Mudd from Axia Public Relations. Today, we are recording a solo cast. That's where it's just you and me. And we're talking about public relations. I'm sharing some unique tips, trends, and topics that are relevant to you, where you are in your role with your organization. And just trying to add and give value to you and add back to the profession and enhance the profession. Today I wanna talk to you about commercial newswires. When I talk about commercial newswires, I always get some strong opinions and feedback and people are always interested. So, let's talk about that for just a minute today you and I. But before we do that I wanna welcome Burrelles as the sponsor of our solo cast and we thank them for supporting us. And we also wanna mention that they have a special offer for new customers and current customers when you mentioned that you heard them on "On Top Of PR". So if you go to burrelles.com/ontopofpr, check out that special offer. We thank them for their sponsorship and underwriting this program. We look forward to bringing you a great episode here. So speaking of commercial newswires, there's a common perception that commercial newswires are a great way to generate earned media.
And there's also a perception that they're a great way to generate click backs and good search engine optimization. Let's talk about those things for a moment. I would tell you that it's probably been 15 or 20 years, maybe more I would say that newswires were a great way to get your news in front of newsrooms. And why I say that is because there's a huge perception in the marketplace among entrepreneurs, small business maybe even some PR people, certainly among some marketing folks that if they put their press release or their news release on a commercial newswire which you pay to have done, that differentiates from a newswire like AP and and Reuters and other newswire services where it's actual earned media. But in this case, what we're talking about is commercial newswire services like Business Wire, PRWeb, and PR Newswire. So you're paying the service basically to post your news release onto their newswire. And then in return, what they're doing is an element of distribution where they're distributing it to newsrooms for you. And that's the part that I wanna focus on here initially. And then the second part of what they do is they also post it as like a syndicate or a feed onto hundreds of news websites all over the United States and maybe even worldwide depending on what package you opt into. Where those websites, those incredible news websites are just embedding that content right inside their news website like a feed, of which to the average consumer who sees that they have no idea that it's a feed or they generally don't realize that it's a feed. And to that end, it's a great way to get a lot of links and a lot of coverage of very quickly of your announcement in front of a lot of consumers. And so, my point in this solo cast is to point out to you that that's the primary benefit in my mind in the current environment for commercial newswires. Is very quickly instantly and overnight getting your new story in front of thousands and maybe even millions of individuals and consumers through getting hundreds of news websites to post this newswire or your news release post immediately onto their website. It's all done automatically. There's no manual labor involved, there's no human involvement per say.
So, I'm mentioning this to help you understand that, yeah, 10, 15, 20 years ago, you put your news release on a newswire, it gets sent out and distributed to newsrooms everywhere and that might turn into news coverage if your new story was newsworthy. If it had the 10 elements of news, and especially today if you were a household name brand or a name brand that people recognize. Which generally speaking means that you've got your billion dollar corporation. So Tesla, GM, Microsoft, Starbucks, BMW, Disney, maybe even Tommy Bahama or Nike. Just a brand that you would recognize as a household name. Yes, there are dedicated beat writers or reporters whose full time job is to cover these companies and to focus on these companies. These billion dollar brands automatically get media attention. And a lot of publicly traded companies, they have to post to commercial newswires for disclosure reasons. As a publicly-traded company, they have to make sure they're getting their public notice out there. And the way that they do that is through posting to commercial newswires. What I see a big mistake happening is when small businesses or businesses who are not publicly traded who are not household brands. They think, "Oh I'll just buy a package of newswire post and I'll post our news to the newswire and we'll get media coverage." And you will get media coverage in the sense I described. You'll get news coverage that appears as a feed on hundreds of websites instantly. And then some of those will stay permanently on those websites, but some websites have it set up where those will go away in a few days, in a week, in a few weeks, in a few months.
Again, some will keep it there forever, but oftentimes what I'm finding or what we're seeing is that a lot of those articles fade away over time. And so they're not permanent links. So my theory is I like newswires and I use them. We use them at our agency, but it's always kind of the last item, the last budget item, the last line item, the last investment, the last dollar. And a comprehensive campaign? Absolutely, that's part of the program. Is that the one thing you post? You write a news release, you post on the wire and you're done. No, not at all. That's not the right approach at all. If dollars were limited, I would spend more of my dollar spending more time doing media, pitching, picking up the phone, teasing a news story, asking for permission to send a news release than I would putting a story on a wire. But in a comprehensive perfect world scenario, yes, that last building block, that last piece of a commercial newswire placement. Absolutely, love it. We do it all the time. Our primary go-to commercial newswire is PR Newswire only 'cause we get really good pricing for PR Newswire. But I think in my opinion candidly, I think the best business wire out there right now is our commercial Newswire right now is Business Wire. I think they have an outstanding product. People ask me, do we use PRWeb? No, we really don't. When PRWeb first started, it was a free service and we were power users of it. In fact, they once gave me the email address, Jason@PRWeb.com just to encourage me to kind of be a brand influencer for them or something like that. And I ended up using that for like personal email not really for work purposes, but yeah PRWeb was a good service when it first started, when it was free. Now it's owned by Cision who also owns PR Newswire. And to be candid, I don't really keep track of PRWeb and its current offerings today. But it's just another example of a type of paid or commercial newswire that you can post stories to. It's a tool. Like any tool, it has pros and cons. If you're doing it for link backs and search engine optimization... My sense is and we all know Google's pretty proprietary and doesn't always share publicly what they do and why they do it. But in my experience, Google can kind of figure out that it's a feed of a news release. It's appearing on a lot of websites. It's not an organic or earned media story, it's not unique and uniquely written by that outlet. And so you may not be enjoying the SEO link back juice for those news posts as you might have been sold on or you might think is valuable.
I still think there's some value obviously in having a lot of linkbacks. There's some value in those links being highly accessible to consumers to easily be able to go view your product or view your website or view the content directly on the shared or owned media that you are promoting. In addition, the other thing I just kind of wanted to talk about on this subject is the... Going a little more detail, when you're talking about newswires, there's the commercial newswires where you pay, then there's the other newswires that newsroom subscribed to that are authentic news that can't be bought like The Associated Press, Reuters, and certainly others like the Dow Jones Newswire and things like that. So, I just kinda wanna share that with you in my mind the example I give is it's kind of the cherry on top of a PR program. So, if you're of that mindset that, "Well, we tried newswires and they didn't really work for us." I think they worked just fine, it just might be what your expectations were. You might've thought, "I'm gonna write a news release, I'm gonna post it on a wire and the media is gonna start calling and covering." And that's not a good expectation unless you've just got something incredibly newsworthy and more importantly, not only of the 10 elements of news but of those 10 elements of news, the one you're really focusing on is the prominence of the corporation, the prominence of the celebrity or whatever it might be that you're associating your announcement with.
Now, again, if you're a publicly-traded company, you've got a disclosure obligation. That's why you're using the wire service a lot of the time. But if you're not public and your private corporation or maybe in a nonprofit entity, if you've got the excess dollars, definitely use that PR commercial newswire posts to exhaust all your options. If you're on a frugal shoestring budget, if you don't have the ability to hire a PR pro or to make the actual media pitches and do them right, then sure, the newswire is a good option for you. But if you've got to train professionals, whether it's yourself or someone else or an agency that can do that work for you, then absolutely focus on the pitching. But, I'm a fan of commercial newswires as long as those expectations are realistic. I used to have a colleague who worked at Disney and because she worked at Disney she thought commercial newswires were fabulous and fantastic. But the missing ingredient that she did not quite understand was it was because Disney was on the letterhead or at the top of the masthead of each of these news releases. When Disney or Tesla or somebody that's a household name, when they speak people listen. If you're just a small business or medium business or a tech company that's not really well known and whatnot, you're probably not gonna have that same outcome. Those were my thoughts that I thought were important to share with you during this brief solo cast today was just kinda getting our arms around the idea of what commercial newswires are, why they work, where they work, how they work, and candidly, when they don't work.
If this is something you'd like to talk more about, drop us a line, we'd be happy to address it with you. We wanna thank our friends and colleagues over Burrelles for sponsoring this episode. I'm Jason Mudd from AXIA Public Relations. It's really my job to keep you on top of PR which is why we created this podcast, which is why we do every fifth episode as a solo cast. And if you've got a topic you'd like to hear us talk about on a solo cast, let us know. Just contact us and say, "I've got a request for an upcoming solo cast." We would love to hear from you. We'd be happy and honored to answer that question. As I'm wrapping up here, in addition to going to burrelles.com/OnTopOfPR and take a look at their special offer, I also want you to visit our website, axiapr.com/hackoftheweek. And if you're not subscribed to our "Hack of the Week", I really think you should. I think you're gonna love it. We've got some great content there that we're producing every week where we're sharing a topic, tip, or trend that we think would be relevant to you and make your life easier. Whether you're a full-time practitioner of public relations, whether it's just part of your job description, whether you work in an agency and nonprofit a for-profit or even a government entity, you're gonna learn from these quick blast. Sometimes we've got a video attached to them, but it literally takes like 30 seconds to read it. And I think it provides a lot of value to you. So that's axiapr.com/hackoftheweek. Check that out, let us know what you think. And again, thank you for watching. We really appreciate it. And thank you to BurrellesLuce for sponsoring this episode. Be well.
- [Narrator] This has been "On Top Of PR" with Jason Mudd. Many thanks to our solo cast sponsor, Burrelles for making this episode possible. Burrelles has a special offer just for "On Top Of PR" fans. Check it out at burrelles.com/OnTopOfPR.