The Juiced Up News Release

This week one of my clients issued a news release on one of the big paid wire services. The Google News Alert showed immediate and impressive results: Dow Jones Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and dozens of others including, for whatever reason, Earth Times.

Yet, when searching for the story on the Marketwatch site, nothing popped. Huh? Where’s the “pick-up?”

No biggie. Most agencies will include the link to the “hit” in their client wrap-up reports. But it’s a fallacy. The presence of my client’s unedited release on Yahoo Finance is a result of feed agreements that the paid wires have with the portal and dozens of others. This includes countless local broadcast TV stations’ companion websites.

So when PR Newswire called me several weeks ago to talk about a new study that “demonstrated” its greater prowess for generating media “pick-up,” my first question was whether that pick-up included the negotiated usage agreements it (and the other paid wires) have made with scores of sites to “use” their nationally disseminated releases. PRN prexy Dave Armon assured me it didn’t.

“Our entire team is gratified that an impartial review of our industry has verified that there is a significant difference in newswire services,” said Dave Armon, president of PR Newswire.

Of course, the subject of news release efficacy has weighed heavy on PR pros’ palates for some time now. We probably could thank Todd Defren of Shift who first recognized that the news release must adapt for it to be effective in an age when digitally driven, direct-to-consumer communications has taken hold. The social media news release (SMNR) was thus born as a means to enhance a client’s digital footprint (and Google juice).

Nowadays, we have limited expectations of the news release serving as the catalyst for producing real news coverage, unless of course the news reports actual news.

Earlier this year, Defren compared the SMNR offerings of several of the major paid wires, which admittedly have evolved since his post. Also around that time, the inimitable and ubiquitous Brian Solis added his take. More recently, Daniel Durazo published his assessment of the free press release distribution services in his “Guide to Cheapskate PR.”

When going the free route, don’t expect the wide negotiated “pick-up” one gets with the premium services. But then again, try finding those stories when searching the sites on which they allegedly popped.