In this month’s free webinar, “The modern newswire: What it looks like, and how it fits into your PR strategy”, consultant Tom Clarke took attendees on a deep dive into newswires and how and most importantly why PR pros should incorporate them into their communications strategies.
What is a newswire?
“There’s no definitive term that I’ve found in 25 years that really does what is a newswire justice,” says Tom in his presentation. “I’ve tried to do it here in one sentence by talking about this idea of amplification because the one thing I think we can all agree on is that newswires are about taking a press release and delivering that press release to as many audiences as you can reach, as many people as you can manage.”
The benefits of modern newswires
Newswires, Tom says, are fundamentally about reaching audiences who may not know about your company yet. “Newswires help you do that in a way that other PR tools can’t manage,” says Tom. “For example, if you’re sending a press release to media using a database or using a list that you’ve built up over time, you are only reaching people that you already know about and that potentially already know about you.” To Tom, the power of newswires and the value they bring to PR lies in their ability to amplify your story.
“The real sort of game changer for newswires in the last 20 years has been their ability to take your press release and get it online,” says Tom. “What you get is this digital footprint that is almost everlasting. That story that you’ve written—that one big story about your company or brand or client—isn’t just being delivered to journalists in a conventional public relations sense, a newswire is giving it a digital footprint that will last in an ongoing way and will drive casual search.”
However, Tom warns attendees that some newswires are about quantity rather than quality. “Most bonafide newswires at the premium end of the market will get your press release on some of these behemoth news websites,” says Tom, using Yahoo Finance as an example of such a site. “There are other newswire providers at the lower end of the cost scale that will deliver your press release to as many websites, but the quality of those websites may well be lower.”
Another of the benefits of using a newswire service is the credibility that delivering a press release to a newsroom via a nationally recognized news agency, such as the Press Association in the UK or the Associated Press in the US, has. “[The Press Association] was established 150 years ago by the newspaper industry as a whole,” says Tom. “The industry thought it needed to come together to provide one kind of oracle, if you like, that was responsible for providing news in its rawest sense that people could then go off with and talk about and put their own journalistic spins on it. News agencies in that sense, represent impartiality, credibility, and a channel that is preferred by most of the general interest media in any given country.”
Therefore, says Tom, by having your press release delivered through one these channels to journalists looking for “raw” news, the press release gains “as much credibility and as much reach into those general media audiences as possible.”
“One value of using newswires internationally is this idea of those news agencies that they’re partnered with in different parts of the world that provide their own kind of access, their own expertise, and the ability to engage with media in their locales that you can’t replicate simply by sitting at home in the UK or the US, tapping out emails or trying to engage with media that way,” says Tom. “One of the main reasons for that is that many newswire services also include translation as part of the distribution package that you may buy.”
Tom says you may get away with sending press releases out in English to certain parts of the world, but for other regions and audiences, “translating press releases into those local languages is going to be a vital part of your PR kind of activity.”
How to write a press release for a newswire
Newswires are not magic bullets and Tom says as a PR practitioner, you still have to look after your end of the bargain “which is to take a story and make it compelling, to write a press release around it that is going to engage, stimulate conversation, get audiences off their seats and talking about it and engaging with it.” How to do that? “They need to be relevant, they need to be topical, they need to be well written, they need to be written in a press release style so as objectively as possible.”
If you’re still not sure how to write an eye-catching press release, Tom says “to look at the way news articles are written in broadsheet newspapers or on the BBC or in news organizations that you might consume on a daily basis. Look at how journalists write and that should inform the way you write your press releases.”
You can also check out our Press Release Anatomy Guide for a free template.
More about modern newswires
For more about newswires and how you can implement them successfully in your PR strategy, watch Tom’s webinar on-demand. You can also download our free guide, Newswires 101: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know.