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How and When to Use a Wire Service

By January 23, 2017March 30th, 2017Guide to PR, Public Relations, Strategy

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

Press release wire services have traditionally been the go-to channel for widespread press release distribution to search engines, top publications, and national newsrooms. The largest service providers for wire releases include PRWeb, PRNewswire, BusinessWire, and MarketWired.

What to Expect from a Wire Service

In terms of cost, wire releases can run from around $100 – $1,000, depending on the level of distribution and features that you’re looking for. There is a nice sweet spot in the $250-$350 range that should serve the majority of people’s needs. A few things that you shouldn’t expect from wire releases:

  1. Don’t expect to get a call from a journalist or any original articles. Expect just word-for-word reposts of your release on news feeds. Think about wire releases as a distribution service to a flooded channel— it’s hard to get the attention of journalists this way. Usually, any new coverage comes from getting in touch with people directly, delivering value, and building relationships.
  2. Don’t expect SEO value from your release. A large part of SEO is derived from external links directed toward your website. A few years back, having copies of your press release run in news feeds provided substantial SEO value since it created links from those news sites to yours. However, Google has since discounted the value of these inbound links to virtually zero. It’s also important to note that these links don’t incur an SEO penalty as do links from spammy link farm websites.

Wire Services and SEO Value

Most of the SEO value that you can get from PR will stem from securing original articles about your company by authoritative publications. This can be substantial and is not generally as a result of wire releases. As technology and communications have evolved, the value and effectiveness of wire releases have shifted.

For many companies and PR agencies, using news wire services may just be a standard of practice that stems from habit— not necessarily because it yields results or produces value. That being said, wire releases can help to ensure widespread distribution and they make sure that your news comes up in web searches. For more information on wire releases and selecting the right service for you, please read our blog on the topic: Search for the Best Press Release Wire Service.

How to Use PR Web

When we use a wire service for clients, we use PRWeb, and we’ll use it as an example to explain what a wire service offers and how to use one. PRWeb offers tools that can be used to create, distribute, and track news releases, and works on a flat pricing basis. Traditional wire services (PR Newswire, Businesswire) charge by the word count. PRWeb was born in the Internet era and recognizes that it doesn’t cost any more to send a 400-word press release than it does to send a 1,000-word press release.

With PRWeb, you can share your news to 30,000+ journalists and bloggers and 250,000+ PRWeb opt-in news subscribers. Your release is also hosted on, which receives over 3 million visitors each month. Detailed analytics let you see the immediate impact of your online news release. You’ll learn how many people read your release, where it was picked up, how many times it was shared, and where your prospects learned about your business.

The screenshot below shows the PRWeb press release authoring interface. It is easy to use and you only have to drop in the different sections of your announcement (Headline, Summary, Body, Contact Info, Image, Video, etc), and the tool will do the formatting and layout of the release.


You can also select your distribution criteria, selecting the countries, states, cities, and industries to target.


When To Use a Wire Service

For some announcements, such as corporate earnings for publicly traded companies, product recalls, mergers and acquisitions, a wire service is the best way to guarantee that the news is sent to every major news outlet in the nation (or world), and to demonstrate good faith in getting the information to as many people as possible. For more narrowly focused news such as company or product launches, local or regional events, or trade show appearances, it can be more worthwhile to target specific influencers in your industry using a media database (see our blog, What is a Media Database), and individual journalists do not typically track newswires.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.