Who Needs PR Distribution Services?

Who Needs PR Distribution Services?

Wow, I started the draft for this post four years ago and probably thought about writing it a few years before that…

Maybe I just keep thinking that the question will go away…but it hasn’t.

It amazes me that I still get asked so often about press release distribution. Sometimes that’s refreshing because prospects want to be certain that we are not just writing a worthless press release and putting it on “the wire.” But at the same time it’s sad because obviously that is all some firms seem to do. So, I am finishing this post today, so I can just send them all a link to bust the PR distribution myths.

 

Should you pay for PR distribution?

The simple answer is NO!

I guess there are a few instances that it makes sense (see those below). But I am going to start with the myths around PR distribution and bust em’.

 

PR Distribution Myth Buster

 

1. Using distribution will get my press release on a bunch of media websites and create a bunch of links and links are good for SEO.

Yes, media links are good for SEO. But press releases sent via PR Distribution services do not get you real media links.

It does not help SEO, it hasn’t for a long time (in fact I think the first time I thought about writing this post was while attending SMX Advanced in 2013?). According to Google, PR Distribution Services do not provide “real” links.

Here’s an example

**note: this is a completely random example, I went to PRWeb’s news section and went to the 100th page of releases to get a release that has been “distributed” for a couple of weeks.**

Ovation Hair is (was) doing a Valentine’s Day promotion. Part (hopefully not all) of their promotion includes a press release about it via PRWeb. I can’t say it is a very good press release, but they paid for distribution so at the very least it will go to lots of “media” websites and “journalists” right?

Let’s take a look at the Google SERP for the title of the release (we will do an exact match search to see who picked it up verbatim):

Google SERP PR Distribution

Ok, 157 results, that’s not bad, maybe it is worth it. Let’s analyze a few of the top results:

  1. Markets Insider – repost of the press release without links on a subdomain. High authority site, even the subdomain, but no links and you can’t find it on a site search.
  2. Vector News – repost of part of the press release without links on an irrelevant European site.
  3. News Break – seems good, it is a snippet of the press release that was posted on Houston Chronicle. That a real media news site, this seems promising…
    • Let’s analyze this one as it is a classic distribution hit. Do a site search on Chron.com for “Ovation Hair” and that hit should come up, right? Nope sorry, the only result is for an Ovations Hair Studio from 2008. Even though it looks like it is on Chron.com, it really isn’t and no one will find it.
  4. Christabelles Closet – huh? this doesn’t make sense…ahh, I see this site likes to repost Cision/PRWeb press releases. The Hair Ovation release isn’t even listed any longer.

I could go on…none of these are media hits. So let’s go search in Google News to see if we can find some real stories about it:

Google News SERP PR Distribution

No luck, but a story wouldn’t use the exact title of the press release right, so let’s change the Google News search to “Ovation Hair” Valentine’s Day:

Nope. I don’t think that is a story about their Valentine’s Day promotion.

Here is what you do get…you may get a bunch of nofollow links on subdomains that have zero value. The links may show up on Google if you search for the topic of the press release (which no one but you would do), but that “story” that shows up in Google, it won’t even show up on a site search on the website it appears to be on because it is most likely on a subdomain (and remember, not only does Google show results based on the value of the page not the domain (pages rank for keywords, not sites), but subdomains are valued separately as well).

 

2. PRWeb (or Newswire, BusinessWire, etc.) will get my press release in front of 10,000 journalists.

It may go to 10,000 “journalist” emails or 10,000 junk folders or 10,000 deleted email spam graveyards. It is basically seen as spam and will be ignored by 99.9% of those journalists. They don’t want to see your mass press release.

Ok, but I only need like a .2% conversion rate and if I send a press release to 10,000 people, I’ll get 20 stories.

    • Nope, you are way more likely to get no stories and you may even annoy that reporter for when you have a real story for them.

3. Writing a press release is PR, so we have to send it somewhere

PR is so much more than writing and sending a press release (here’s a press release template if you need help), but the act of organizing your information into a good press release can really help flush out the story or media hook. If your marketing department or agency partner is only writing and distributing press releases (or even if this is one of the major strategies) you are doing it wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should never write a press release. Press Releases are not PR on their own, but they certainly still have a purpose in some situations. I am saying that PR distribution is not a PR strategy and you should think hard about what you are accomplishing by doing it. There is a time and a place to use a press release, listen to When to Use a Press Release on PR Talk for more on this.

 

You said there are a few instances when you should use distribution?

90% (or probably more like 99% for most people/companies) of the time you DO NOT NEED TO PUT YOUR PRESS RELEASE ON “THE WIRE.” But there are a select few instances that using distribution could be a good tool. Here they are:

You are required to make the news public for SEC (or other entity) requirements. Yep, this is a thing although a spammy press release distribution to a large list via Cision will do the job as well and you only have to pay the person/agency to do it (if you have a list and/or subscription) and not the fee.

You have really BIG news that may actually get picked up. This one is kind of tough because if your news is big enough you shouldn’t need PR distribution…but it may work if the news is big enough…catch 22

Your client or boss or whoever thinks that a bunch of links that look like they are from real media sites are important. **note that this is sarcasm. if this is your reasoning you should be fired.

You have partners that expect you to put it on BusinessWire (e.g. investors, shareholders, etc.). I get that we can’t unteach years of putting it on the wire in one blog post. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

 

PR Distribution Vendors Compared

The other question I get is if you need to use distribution which one should I use? Paid or free?…and like most things in life, it depends. So, if you must use distribution here is a quick cheat sheet of the major “service providers:”

Paid Services

 

Cost: Min $825 for National Distribution (plus setup fees)

Owned by major PR services company Cision PR Newswire is arguably the best-known distribution service. PRNewswire has national ($825+), regional ($475+) and statewide ($355+) pricing. Specific targets (e.g. multicultural, Native American, African American, Hispanic markets, etc.) can be added.

Cost: Starts at $250-$675 (plus setup fees)

Similar to PRNewswire in that you can target specific Cities/Metros ($210+), States ($225+), Regional ($250+) and Nationwide ($675). As well as Global ($3,725+) and specific regions such as North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Cost: Starts at $99

Also owned by Cision, PRWeb touts getting your press release on search engines (basic), plus media partner websites (standard at $189), to influencers (advanced at $289) and via Twitter and blog networks (premium at $389).

Cost: Starts at $135

Similar to PRWeb, it provides “distribution” at a lower cost than PRNewswire and Business Wire.

Free Services

 

Free to search engines, discounted to news website and journalists

With a free account, you may distribute press releases and submit job postings. There are also paid packages with monthly and per press release pricing.

“Celebrating over ten years (2005-2015) serving the news distribution market.” It’s 2020…not sure I’d have much faith in this one?

Free version that is live for 90 days on Online PR Media…

 

Ask PR people if they get stories picked up from using PR distribution and your likely answer is an emphatic “NO,” or maybe a more subtle “I doubt it, but you never know.” So why are they still in business?

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Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is a popular topic for all industries and job-types. Amy and Mike talk about how they strive to strike the right ratio and provide tips for listeners on the PR Talk Podcast.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: PR Tools

Podcast: PR Tools

PR Tools

If you are like me and you hear the term tools, you start thinking about software or applications that make your job easier. Or, maybe you think about the more classic tools of a carpenter such as a hammer, measuring tape and architectural designs? Others may think of humans most important tool, the mind. 

In this episode of PR Talk, Amy shares her view that the most important PR Tool is not the mind, relationships, a press release or even her favorite, the telephone. She insists that the most important PR tool is instinct.

Other PR tools that help you do your job include:

  • The Press Release

 

  • The Press Pitch
    • Editorial Calendars
    • Contributed Articles & Ghostwriting
    • Media Exclusives

 

  • Additional (maybe even more important) tools
    • Photos & Videos
    • Media Database/Media List/Relationships
    • Press Kits & Virtual Press Rooms
    • Media Drops
    • Email
    • Snail Mail
    • The Telephone

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: When to Use a Press Release

Podcast: When to Use a Press Release

When a Press Release is Better than a Press Pitch

In this episode of PR Talk Amy and Mike talk about when using a press release will provide additional value to “just” sending a pitch. They review some specific instances or topics when a press release can get you coverage or enhance a simple mention to a bigger story.

If you write about what’s new in your organization (your homework from the Forget Your Story episode), those are the topics that you may want to write a press release about. The press release provides structure and helps layout your thoughts, insert a quote and provide additional pertinent information.

“A press release can change two sentences of coverage into two paragraphs.” – Amy Rosenberg

Here’s a cheat sheet of the types of things a business section or local community paper/section might cover:

Do something within the community or industry where you want coverage to create Press Release ideas: 

  • Join a board/committee
  • Donate to a cause
  • Open a new location
  • Create a new service
  • Hire a notable new person
  • New product or service
  • Construction of a new development/building
  • Launch of a new scientific study/results of a new scientific study
  • Community involvement/volunteering*
  • Events, photo opps & press conferences*
  • Recap what you did (events & fundraising)

*Typically more of a press advisory.

See our Media Advisory Template and Press Release Template.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: How to Start a Podcast with PRSA

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This episode of #PRTalk is a recording from a PRSA Oregon event we did about the Ins and Outs of Podcasting. During the hourlong presentation at the University of Oregon in Portland, we spoke about why we started PR Talk, our processes and the technical requirements.

 

This PR Talk Podcast was recorded at PRSA Oregon’s:

The Ins and Outs of Podcasting

Video:

We also recorded the session if you would like to watch it.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Dan Lee: Should Media Members Switch to PR?

Podcast: Dan Lee: Should Media Members Switch to PR?

Should Media Members Switch to PR?


Dan Lee with PR Talent 

Dan Lee, from PR Talent, is back to talk about how and why members of the media are transitioning to careers in communications. Dan is a recruiter that works with agencies and companies looking for PR and communications talent. As a former journalist himself, he has great insight into transitioning from being a member of the media to communications.

Dan talks about how most broadcast journalist’s resumes he sees are a grocery list of their segments. This may be effective if they want to land their next tv gig, but it doesn’t do much for hiring managers looking for a PR pro. 

He has found that journalists often struggle in PR, at least initially, because at their media organization they have an assignment editor telling them what to report on (remember Dan was a reporter, he’s been there). As communications professionals know, no one hands us assignments. What PR people do and how we do it is pretty hard to explain. All the elements that go into building a PR plan and determining what the goals. How do we do it? How do we measure it? Those are all new skills that media people will have to learn.

Dan then talks about how many organizations are creating internal newsrooms. Companies like Amazon and Starbuck are hiring former broadcast journalists to help tell their stories. To tell the companies culture stories with internal newsroom made up of former reporters and film crew folks to show the brand for positioning and recruiting. These jobs are hard to find as they typically still have traditional communications titles such as internal communications, corporate communication or content creator, but there are opportunities.

To end this episode Dan provides media folks three suggestions for breaking into PR: 

  1. Fix your resume. Sorry, there is no silver bullet. But you can email Dan directly, at [email protected], and he’ll share his insight with you. Dan has a 2-minute resume formatting video
  2. Use a resume coach or a job coach. Dan is not a coach, but he knows some.
  3. Have coffee with someone that has already done it (made the transition).

Want to hear more from Dan? You can listen to his first appearance on PR Talk where he talks about what makes a great communications hire or his thoughts on the difference between in-house and agency jobs

About the guest: Dan Lee

Dan Lee is a Managing Director at PR Talent and leads the firm’s recruiting efforts in the Northwest region. His career experience includes sports broadcasting, sports marketing, and 16 years with Weber Shandwick, where he was a vice president.

Connect and follow Dan on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.