Understanding the ‘Wire’ and How it Can Impact your Media Strategy  

By: Emily Thompson, 1903 Public Relations

The term “put it on the wire” became recognizable amongst viewers of the Netflix show Inventing Anna, that dramatically retells the fraudulent escapades of Anna Delvey aka Anna Sorokin. For professionals in the public relations industry it has a less riveting meaning but nonetheless very important.  

For those unfamiliar or inexperienced with PR, this may sound like PR jargon. But, it’s a method of distributing company news. The “wire” refers to a newswire service that mass distributes a news release to publications and provides journalists access to company news so they can build stories or simply republish your press release. While newswire services can be pretty straightforward, having clear understanding of the purpose and accurate expectations for outcomes can make it easier to know when to “put it on the wire.”

The Purpose of The Wire

A press release distributed via a wire service should be primarily used for major company news. Has your company raised money, initiated a new partnership, made a prominent hire, closed a significant deal with a customer, updated products/services, or are you going through a rebrand? Yes? Then this could go on the wire. If you answered no, then it might be best suited as content on the company website. 

Wire service distribution is more of a shotgun approach – in other words it does not target specific journalists or publications. If the goal is to garner the interest of one reporter from a specific publication, it’s possible they could cover something from a wire, but very unlikely. The reality is that unless your company is one of the Fortune 10 then your news won’t even reach their radar. A wire can get your press release republished on websites, but is unlikely to get you on the New York Times’ front page. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile, it just has a different purpose. It can increase your SEO, visits to your websites, and get your news pushed across different geographic areas instantly.

Wire Service Options

Now that you know what newswire services it’s time to consider the different options. There are an array of services with different price ranges and offerings. Listed below are different services that distribute press releases:

  • PR Newswire is the original newswire service. Owned by Cision, and is considered the most reputable service, which translates to the most expensive. Depending on your reach, a press release can cost anywhere between $350 to $8,700 for a 400 word release. Although costly, journalists closely monitor their respective industry press releases.
  • Business Wire is just as respected in the space and with slightly better pricing. The starting price for a national press release is $940 for 400 words.
  • Global NewsWire is a more moderate service than Business Wire or PR Newswire. Fewer journalists utilize this service, but their pricing is considerably cheaper, which makes them a reasonable option for medium-sized companies.
  • PRWeb was recently bought by the media company Cision. Which now makes PRWeb more reputable. This is good news considering it’s an affordable and budget-friendly distributor. Their starting rate is $10, and they don’t upcharge for extra word count and have unlimited media assets.
  • PRlog is a great free option if you’re working with a tight budget. They have a press room feature that lets journalists follow future and present releases. The service is free for both written and video releases which is a costly feature on most services. There are downsides to it being free, including fees for analytics and the interface is outdated.

The world of public relations can be a complicated place, but when armed with information you can optimize your initiatives and excel in getting in front of the media. Using news wire services can fortify your outreach strategies and get you in front of the press. But, they’re not the end all be all. If you’ve evaluated and feel your efforts are best suited elsewhere, take the time to focus on those strategies.  

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