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Should Your Utility Use a Press Release Wire Service?

There’s no doubt that effective public relations efforts involve getting the word out about whatever you want to tell the world.

And press release wire services such as PR Newswire and PRWeb (among others) can help you accomplish that, potentially pushing your news to all corners of the journalistic world. With the press of a button, your news release will instantly find its way to literally thousands of newsrooms.

But is it worth it?

That depends.

If your utility is publicly traded, there likely are notification requirements that must be met, and your shareholders won’t be limited to your immediate service area. In that case, the expense (a single release can run several hundred dollars) might be worth it.

If your utility isn’t publicly traded, but you have huge news to report, a wire service might be worth the cost.

If you want to impress the boss (and spend a fair amount more), PRNewswire has an option that briefly lands the headline of your release and a photo on a Times Square screen. The captured image can then be used in your marketing efforts.

In all other cases, however, think long and hard before ponying up for a wire service.

For one thing, do you really need to cast such a wide net?

If you pay for a wire service, you’ll receive a report a few days later showing where the release has been placed. In all likelihood, there will be hundreds of placements.

Sounds good, right?

Not so fast.

If you’re a utility based in Cleveland and serving that immediate area, do you really care if media outlets in Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Dallas and Boston carry your news? Probably not.

And while your news has been “placed” in all those outlets, is anyone reading it? Again, probably not. Many news websites have what’s essentially a dumping ground for all the wire service releases received. Few people sort though that dumping ground – and reporters typically ignore the digest of releases sent to them.

Also note that having your release posted in various odd corners of the internet isn’t going to help your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, either.

In addition, prepping a release for wire service distribution takes a fair amount of time – time your lower-level employees could better spend pitching the information to local targets.

In summary, press release wire services aren’t completely useless, but it’s better to marshal your resources and keep your pitching in-house. You’ll save money, probably get better results and build lasting relationships with media sources, which means better long-term results.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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