“The most important thing about distributing content is to make sure the content itself is good,” says Gregg Castano, founder and CEO of NewsDirect in his PR Profiles interview. Gregg has been in the newswire business since the 80s when he started as a newsroom assistant at BusinessWire. In 2009, he became president of that company, a role he kept until 2017. “About a year and a half later, after doing a lot of thinking and planning, I decided to launch NewsDirect.”
Gregg started NewsDirect after recognizing a need for improvement in the industry, particularly around workflow and pricing models. “The experience itself had become cumbersome and manual,” says Gregg. “In addition to that, I think the pricing model is outdated.” Gregg believes pricing should reflect the digital world we live in. “When a press release goes out on the internet, it’s available to everybody everywhere that has an internet connection. So, there is really no point in charging for a geographic segment.”
Another element Gregg thinks is a vestige of the past is charging based on word count. “Even before I started at BusinessWire, in order to get news releases distributed, you had to input them into the system and to do that you had to retype them hardcopy. It was a labor cost at that time. And now it obviously no longer exists.”
Gregg thinks out of all the industry changes he’s implemented with NewsDirect, the most significant would be the introduction of the Digital Asset Direct™ service. This service allows users to send standalone multimedia assets, such as infographics and video, without the press release. “It offers a completely new opportunity for PR people, and now even content marketing people, to do more with the content they’ve created—more than just putting it on social media or corporate websites,” says Gregg. He thinks this will be a big change in the communication space over the next few years, especially with the rise of millennials and Gen Z in the PR space.
“They grew up in a world where they consume content in multimedia formats, not necessarily text-based formats,” says Gregg. “As that generation comes into decision-making roles and starts to run PR firms and corporate communications departments, they’re going to want a way to distribute content that has nothing to do with press releases.”
However, despite his forecasting, the one thing Gregg doesn’t think will ever change is the mentality of quality over quantity. “The most important thing about distributing content is to make sure the content itself is good,” says Gregg. “You need to cherry pick the very best topics that highlight your brand, what you’re good at, what you’re trying to accomplish and do that in a positive way.”
Gregg’s advice for PR and marketing professionals using a newswire service is right in line with the mentality of quality content. “Be thorough in terms of what you’re trying to accomplish and target the right audiences to accomplish it,” he says. “Don’t just blast it out there and see what sticks.”