18 min read

Media Miniseries | Using Newswires in Your Media Strategy

In the Content Marketing, Engineered Media Miniseries, we’re learning from media experts about how working with external news outlets and trade publications fits into your content marketing strategy. Today, we're breaking down news wiring services and covering -- what they are, when to use them, and how to use them to get your message across as effectively as possible.

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Through this Media Miniseries we've learned that there's a host of ways to get your information in front of your prospects. Newswires allow you to pay to wire content that you write over a public news line, so it can be picked up and syndicated by other outlets.

In today's episode, Glenn Frates, VP of Cision Media, gives us all of the "how-to" information we need to wire news. Glenn talks about frequency of releasing news, what topics are relevant, and what you need to include in your release for it to be successful...down to the character count of your headline. This episode is incredibly practical. One of my favorite messages that Glenn shares is that a news release isn't a standalone strategy, you need additional marketing activities and content that supports an overall campaign.

 

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Transcript

The following transcript was created by an AI Bot which has yet to learn slang words and some technical terms. While it is no substitute for watching/listening to the episode, transcripts are handy for a quick scan. Enjoy!

Today's episode is with Glenn Frates, and we are covering press releases and news wiring services. Glenn is a VPN, which acquired PR Newswire years ago, and his history was with PR Newswire. So he's really an expert in this area. PR News Wire is one of the Premier news wiring services. And in this episode, Glenn will talk a little bit about other news, wiring services and the pros and cons of using different vendors. One thing I love about this interview is that while Glenn works for decision and PR Newswire, he's adamant that news wiring can't be your only strategy for marketing.

It can't be your only channel. It's part of an integrated marketing strategy. He's a big fan of a well written story. He's a big fan of a strong message, and he wants you to have quality CTAs so that people engage with a news release, but then end up back on the company's site. Right? So in this episode, Glenn is going to give a lot of tips and tricks for successful releases, everything from the number of characters you should have in your headline to how to add text treatment to CTAs for optimal click through to even how to use those news releases to engage with journalists.

And so there's a ton of information in here. So listen for kind of those details that will help set you apart. Let's jump in. Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Hi. And welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. As you may have noticed, I'm not Wendy Covey. I'm Morgan Norris, a senior branding content strategist, and I'm hosting this media miniseries for Wendy to take a deep dive into technical B2B media from editorial to advertising to trade publications.

We're going to figure out when and how to pursue media opportunities to build your brand, gain that leadership, engage with the technical community and promote your products and services. I hope you leave each episode of this mini series ready to take action. Before we begin. I'd like to give a brief shout out to our agency, TREW Marketing TREW is a full service agency located in Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information about TREW, you can visit trewmarketing.com. Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing, Engineered.

I'm joined by Glenn Frates from Cission, a media organization that helps companies target and engage their audiences. In 2016, Cission acquired PR Newswire, which is a distribution network. We'll talk about that a lot today, and for some of our audience, engaging with media via News Wires is a great next step. And for others who already use Wire or wiring service, I know Cission has a lot to offer. So thanks for being here, Glenn.

Thank you for having me, Morgan. It's great to be here.

Yeah. So tell me a little bit about yourself, your role, what you do on a day to day basis?

Sure. So I started that before this one acquired PR Newswire. I started at PRN about 21 years ago.

Okay.

And started off as an assistant editor. And before that I was a teacher. I worked at grocery stores. All that good stuff when you start your career off and I've moved up the ranks. And now I'm in charge of US distribution for PR Newswire and PR Web. And I oversee day to day operations for the US team, which handles a couple of 100,000 press releases a year. We'll go with that quote. We handle quite a few messages that we send out daily on behalf of every type of brand, an organization from nonprofits to NGOs to the largest brands in the world, from Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

Great. Okay. So over the last 21 years since you started at PR Newswire, talk to me about how Newswires have kind of changed and evolved over the last 20 years. So I know for me when I started my career, at times we're still faxing releases and things like that, which is less necessary now. But talk to me just a little bit about maybe if people kind of entered their careers early on or had some experience early on in their career with the Newswire in the early odds, how has that changed over time?

It's changed pretty considerably. When I started off. Fax on demand was a huge service, and the wire was very much in its infancy. Just even though it started 60 years ago, it hadn't changed a whole lot, going back to 20 years ago in that we were still sending out copy in plain ASCII typewriter text. There was no great features involved with the copy. Multimedia was barely used, and it was a separate wire. So you sent the text over one wire, multimedia over another. And then starting about 15 years ago, we started making huge progress in terms of we now send out the copy in beautiful HTML, so we can feature Bolding and bullets and everything you can do to award documents.

And then another huge improvement has been how we transmit multimedia, photos and video. We work constantly with our downstream partners from Bloomberg and the Associated Press on downwards, and they working with them. We're able to give them right in the same feed, the multimedia, so we can embed the photos and videos in that feed.

Okay.

Those are the two biggest changes.

I would say yes. That's a huge change. I remember having to kind of multimedia was a separate you kind of went to the separate spot to get that. Okay. Good. So talk to me about companies. So we're working with a lot of engineering and technical B to B technical companies. So tell me from your perspective, kind of when and why should somebody use the news wire to disseminate information?

Sure. The news wire is great for three things I like to say. One, it's fantastic to hit local media. We target local media really. Well. So the new Newswire was based on originally state and local regional distributions, and still is if you want to hit just New York Metro or just Los Angeles Metro or as small as if you want to hit just not to call out anybody in terms of saying small. But we could hit like South Dakota. So hitting local media is a great way to use and take advantage of using wire like Susan.

The second is making sure our online network, our syndication network is second to none. So in terms of really reaching a much broader audience than you would with your own social channels, that is definitely something to utilize the wire for. We will hit in the US alone, up to 5000 different online websites and portals. So that's the second big advantage. And then the third, I would say, is related to our syndication network is future Discoverability. So I always like to tell people once you post something on PRNewswire.

Com, it's there forever, unless ten years later you tell us to take it down. But it's a really good, you know, we take to heart making sure our sites SEO is up to date matching any updates that Google and their algorithms are churning out quarter to quarter. So if you have good keywords in the headline and in the lead, when somebody does an organic search a year later related to that release and related to those keywords, there's a good chance that press release is going to show up.

So Future Discoverability, I think, is the third big reason to use a Newswire.

I think that that's a huge piece that people don't realize is the SEO portion of it, because when we've got clients and I think for us often kind of a realistic cadence is like a quarterly news release. And we'll go through kind of what campaigns they're working on or what topics and pick the topic and write that news release. But then over time, one news release, one of anything is never going to change the world. But over time when you've got those on there and then all of a sudden, now you search for that company name or you search like you said for the term, and you've got all of these even third party results postings on tier Newswire on other outlets that are getting your message across in kind of a third party format.

And so I'm a huge advocate of that. And I think people need to kind of take the time and set aside the resources to do that consistently. So that's great.

Well, to follow up, that is probably one of the top three key things. One, you have to write a good story, right? Two is to have a consistent editorial account if it's going to be quarterly, so be it. But make sure you're always pushing out a good message at a consistent rate. We have some clients who will do five releases in a month and then go dark for six months. That's not the greatest approach in terms of marketing and PR.

Yes. Good. So you're hearing it from Glenn, consistent news releases make a plan, and then we'll follow that plan. I think that's awesome. Yes. Okay. So you've convinced me I'm going to wire some news. How do I prepare that news? What makes a good news release? Tell me about that.

So there's a few things I talked to clients a lot about this. I had two client calls yesterday about this in particular. So there's probably about three or four different things to take into consideration when you're uploading and sending or when you're crafting the press release and then you're uploading it and sending it to the wire. Some of the basics, like the real basics, word format word document is preferable we'll be able to match whatever word features. So again, bullets, hyperlinking embedding links. We're going to be able to match that in whatever we send over the wire.

But in terms of then what goes into the press release? The top two things I would say are one, you have to really take the time to write a good headline. It is what it is when the release goes over the wire. Most recipients, most network partners of ours pick up. They have headline cues. So it's all about you might have a great story in that body, but if you didn't get somebody to click on that headline and it's very similar to whether it's a LinkedIn post or you want to make sure you capture them really well.

And it has to be. And this is the tough part. You have to have that key message within about the first 70 characters.

Okay.

And that's tough. I get it. It'll take. Sometimes I tell clients be prepared to rewrite your release ten times. Ask your partner about it. Ask your child about it. Read it out loud. You want to put a lot of effort into that headline. And then the second thing that is painfully underutilized is a call to action link. So you have a great story and you're going to have a great lead. You're going to have decently, shorter paragraphs, right? You don't want to lose anybody in a long paragraph.

And then what I call above the fold. So the old newspaper lingo. So before somebody has to start scrolling on the web page, you have to have what's the reason why you put out this message? You want them to continue that engagement with your brand, right. Even if it's a little bit more of a boring personnel announcement or even like acquisition announcements, which we send dozens daily. Those are sort of right.

Right.

You still have to have some good call to action, where the person will your audience, no matter who they are, B to C, B to B investors, or even if it's a release that was an update on internal, we do a lot of releases for brands like Target, for example, we will give updates on just what they're doing internally with their employees. Want to have a good link that that person sees again above the fold stands out really nice. I tell clients all the time. You should bold it and have it as like a standalone paragraph.

For more information. A good one I like is like ESG reports. Have that be a standalone and say to read the full report, click here.

Okay. So don't even bury like, don't wait till the end because the end feels like a natural place. But we want to tradition. I love that.

Yeah. You definitely want to keep it above, and it shouldn't be. So that's another good point. It should be a deep link, right? It should be something that's relevant and new.

Yeah.

Don't just have to be the top domain URL, because that's saved for the boilerplate.

Right. Okay. That's so helpful. I love you. One thing about whenever you submit a release to Pariah Newswire, you guys go through two and you guys go through and actually run through that and make sure there aren't glaring errors, make sure the links work and things like that, too. So knowing that one thing I learned, I think early on in my career was you need to link to something and that link needs to be live. A lot of times. We would say, oh, well, that Link's going to go live tomorrow, and your team would say, no, you need to go ahead and make that live now because we're not going to send it out with a bunch of broken links in it.

So make sure your links are live and ready to go in there. Okay. That's awesome.

I'll throw in one more thing for your audience. A thing again, that's a little bit, especially for folks that are more small business mid market. You want to make sure you have a good media contact and that that contact is available for at least five days after you send out the PR, right.

Okay.

That's very important to us to have a good headline. The Good Call to Action in general. A good story. You want to take the time to write a good story and then having a good media contact, because that's really important, right. If somebody tries to reach out whether it's via email or phone and don't get back to that journalist for a half a day, you've missed the chance, possibly of getting good media.

Okay. That's great. So I think that for sure. Having somebody that's going to be there can answer the phone, can answer the email right when it comes through. And it's kind of anticipating that that might happen, too. So you got to be watching for that. That's great. Okay. So talk to me about. I get emails all the time. We are loyal to your Newswire, customers, visiting customers. We love the product in general, but I get emails all the time from these small news wires that say, oh, for $50, you can wire your release with us.

Talk to me about why we should use a large scale wire. And you're not the only one. There's multiple wires in the country. But why should we use these large scale ones? Why is it worth the cost when there's all these kind of other smaller companies out there? Yeah.

No, for sure. There's three of us. I won't name the other two here, but there's definitely a difference in what I would call like premium wire services and then lower and wire services.

Yes.

And decision takes pride in being the number one wire service in the US and globally, and for a few different reasons. We have all sorts of benchmarks and data points to back that up, obviously. But the reasons why you would go with premium wire service is probably two main reasons. One. Well, three, I'll go with one is network reach. It doesn't even come close. That small end wire is going to help that they could hit Yahoo Finance and that sort of stops there. Right. Whereas Cission and the premium wire services are able to hit such a broader audience and it's all targeted.

Right. Right. My favorite example is we have sites that subscribe, so we tag every release with up to 200 different codes, and we have sites that subscribe just to our nanotechnology feed, for example. It's always my favorite.

So specific.

Yeah. And so that is the number one selling point. I think number two is honestly, it's credibility and trust. We have relationships going back 60 years with the largest media services in the world that those small and wire services just don't have, whether they have the ones I'm about to name or not. Maybe they do. But most likely they don't. Ap, Dow Jones and Reuters lead the way, obviously. And those smaller services don't hit those media points for the most part. And then number three is in regards to I would say it's credibility and trust.

It's network reach, and then network partnership, which is related to that trust. And we have a team of five full time employees that is constantly working with our network partners and making updates to the feed and making sure we take client feedback very sincerely. And if you say, Geez, I wish it looked like this on this particular website. We'll reach out to that website and try to update and upgrade that feedback received.

Okay. Good. That service aspect. And I will say, too, just there have been times where we've used those kind of not premium services. And I think what we were talking about with news releases kind of building SEO and things like that you just don't get with those smaller wire services. You'll see the news release come up in SEO for a week, maybe 30 days, and then it just goes away almost as if it never happened. And so you don't get that longevity of it. But I think it's so important.

And I love that you mentioned, too, just the kind of back end coding and tagging of releases that you guys do, because a lot of our audience is so niche focused on specific aerospace electronics or defense or test and measurement for the automotive industry. And so because you guys can go that granular, I think that that's so helpful for these technology companies.

Yeah, for sure. And honestly, if anybody could always reach out to us and we can talk about we can go into more detail about our services and how we target releases. And you could see just going to Prnewsewire. Com. You can see the biggest brands in the world. And you can see the targeting that we provided at the bottom of every press release, actually. So you can go look up a release from Raytheon or Boeing or Jacobs. I'm trying to think of something that your audience might be interested in and you can see how it's targeted and how we when we shoot it out.

That is always a question. Do you just shoot out the press release and it hits everybody at the same time? And that's not the case at all. We definitely target as much as we can, and we work constantly updating that with our partners.

That is 100%. I feel like underscores all the things that we say, right? We want to target the right people with the right message. We don't need to just scream it out to everybody, and it just falls on deaf ears across the board. So I love that. Okay. So tell me about I've got a story. I wrote a news release. What else can I do? You guys have many products, but everything from kind of add ons to news releases or how and when do we strategically use those?

Thinking about the fact that we're talking here to a lot of engineers and marketers who are a little bit newer to marketing, maybe or newer to marketing spend, too. I can't pitch $15,000 news release to somebody realistically. But if somebody's got $1,500, what do they do with that? How do you optimize that?

So there's a few things. One, as much as I'll talk up decision in all of our services, decision is part of a broader campaign. Right. So you have to have good a lot of accompanying action moments. Action points. One is making sure you're utilizing your own channels. So LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You should have them all. You never know where you're going to capture an audience, right? Some people only want to look at Instagram, make sure you have a good website, a deep website that has good supplemental messaging related to your release.

So again, that would be where you do the good call to action link.

Yeah. We send it somewhere. Quality.

Yeah. And then when you send a release over the wire, I would say in terms of how do you utilizing decision services. We are a full service messaging service, if you will. In that we offer a great database service. So fantastic. Hundreds of thousands of journalists and influencers in a product that I generally just call our database product, right. That is utilized for before you send out the release. If you want to target journalists specifically, that is your go to I tell people all the time. Yes.

Using the wire. It's fantastic. We can target. We hit a broad audience. We hit local media. We have a great partnership with the app, which is everybody knows. Fantastic. But you should do your leg work in reaching out to five or six journalists that cover your beat. Right. They're the ones who you send the release to as an embargo before the release actually is supposed to be officially announced on the wire. They're the ones who you send a teaser to, and it's always via email. Utilizing our database service gives you access to those journalists.

That is excellent. So we talked in this series. Also, we talked to a couple of Editors of trade publications, and one of them was just very passionate about. He was like, don't just send me a release. I'm going to see the release. I look at the wire. I'm going to see it. I want you to send me a little tidbit. That kind of is going to be privy to my own readers. And so I need you to add some color and context around that. So yes. So using different channels, same message.

I think that's awesome.

Yeah. I like to call it like repurposing good content. Right. So for your social channels, you'll have a great image that you could repurpose and embed in the wire release. And then when you reach out to individual journalists, whether you're utilizing our database or not, hopefully you are. That is I like to say it's like a teaser, and you have to be prepared, too, to give them potentially, especially if somebody you want a good pub that you want good pickup from, you want to give them a unique executive quote, for example, that might differ a little bit.

And what's in the press release? Yes. You want to work with them one on one, knowing that they want and you want to give them everything you can upfront to make their life easier. So make sure you have good quotes. Why does this news matter to them? In their end audience have good multimedia or potential multimedia that you can provide them because I'll get on my box and stay on there all day. Every downstream partner of ours from Associated Press on down attaches some image to that story they pick up.

So it's always best. I like to say, I think that's what I like to say a few times here. You want to control the narrative as much as possible, so give them the image you want them to pick up.

Great. Okay. Perfect. I love that. I think that that is so helpful. The media database is a great resource, and then just being able to use the Newswire as another channel to get that message out is excellent. Well, that's awesome. With that. I hope people listen to this. And if they've never wired a release before or it's something that they're interested in doing, what's the best way to get in contact with? You guys say they have news, they have their news release, they're ready to go. They email PRNewswire.

I think there's a contact. What's the easiest?

If you go to Prnewire. Com, you can click, send a release, and then it will ask you, do you want to sign in or do you want to become a new member?

Perfect.

And it's a one page new member form. It's very easy. We just ask the basics and then that goes into a queue and you'll get a phone call within the next hour to talk about our services and talk about what you need. What your budget is. We definitely can tailor whatever you need and whatever budget you have, we can make it work. It's pretty straightforward if you just go through the PRNewswire dot com portal.

Awesome. Excellent. For us on our end, how that typically works is we're PR news by our members, and then we're able to wire release on behalf of our clients and kind of choose the right packages based on goals and stuff with your team. And I will say that PR newsletter team is so responsive. I think if clients come to us and say, oh, we have a trade show tomorrow and we're going to make this announcement, what should we do? What can we do? It's so easy and streamlined.

I can get an answer back to them so quickly because your team is on it. Somebody picks up the phone or somebody emails you within, like five minutes. It's nuts. Yeah, I won't promise that on your behalf, but it's very fast.

We're there 24/7, even though I always joke like Christmas night at 02:00 a.m.. I still have two full time Editors working the desk, so we're always here to help out, however we can.

Well, good. Well, thank you so much for being here. This is wonderful. I think the information is fantastic, so I really appreciate it.

Thank you. It was my pleasure.

Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing engineered for show notes, including links to any resources we talked about. Visit truemarketing. Compodcast. While you're there, you can subscribe to our blog and newsletter, and we've also got a book that windy authored called Content Marketing Engineered. It's about building and executing an end to end content marketing plan. I would also love your reviews on this podcast. So when you get a chance, subscribe rate and review Content Marketing engineered on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks again. Have a great day.

Bye.