PR TECHNIQUE NEWSWIRES: Got a niche to target? Try an alternative wire

Media outlets such as magazines and cable TV are becoming much more niche-oriented. Jane H. Bick discovers that press release distributors are, too.

Media outlets such as magazines and cable TV are becoming much more niche-oriented. Jane H. Bick discovers that press release distributors are, too.

Media outlets such as magazines and cable TV are becoming much more

niche-oriented. Jane H. Bick discovers that press release distributors

are, too.

The choices for press release distribution used to be simple. Interns

stuffed envelopes for mass mailings to reporters, or companies paid PR

Newswire or Business Wire to send releases directly into the nation’s

newsrooms, where they were printed out alongside AP or UPI releases.

But - as evidenced by a plethora of new ’newswires’ - mass distribution

is beginning to be challenged by the niche variety. These new businesses

segment the media by industry, geography or news hook. Given the time we

live in, most of them are based on the Internet. Nearly all claim

reporter subscribers who ’ask’ for the releases according to newsbeat,

often by filling out a form on the web site to become a free member.

Not surprisingly, technology services such as URLwire, Internet Wire,

Internet News Bureau, e-releases, Xpress Press and Software Wire (a

division of Xpress Press) have led the way. While some like Internet

Wire boast mass online distribution to media and consumers, others are

filling a niche within a niche.

For example, URLwire promotes only high-end web launches, re-launches,

events and industry happenings to online news editors and reporters.

With more than 3,000 subscribing journalists in 30 countries, founder

Eric Ward refuses subscriptions to those ’who do not write about, link

to or review web sites.’

Site launches Ward has handled include Amazon.

com, Virtual Vineyards, AOL, The New York Times and Microsoft. He says

he turns down 95% of possible companies whose web sites aren’t good

enough for media coverage. Ward charges anywhere from dollars 395 to

dollars 2,000 for release distribution.

Half the battle in working with these new services is knowing what’s out

there. Many online services offer multimedia, such as audio and video

clips. But the Internet brings new rules - make sure the service has the

permission of individual journalists to e-mail press releases to them.

E-releases, which charges dollars 249 to reach subscribing reporters

from its master list of more than 10,000 journalists, warns clients not

to ’spam editors.’

Internet Wire bills a flat dollars 225 for releases of unlimited length.

Co-founder Michael Shuler says Internet Wire clients represent the top

tier of industry (Intuit, Intel) and PR firms (Morningstar, Porter

Novelli, Ruder-Finn).

Internet News Bureau sends releases to more than 1,400 tech writers on

an ’A’ list for dollars 225 per release. Another dollars 80 buys

non-tech media module subscribers, or clients can pay dollars 125 for a

module without the ’A’ list.

Noting that travel is the third-largest category on the Internet (after

pornography and computer peripherals), Pat Pharris says he introduced

tour& to give travel reporters and travel agents everything in

one place. ’Tour& is unique,’ says Pharris, ’because reporters

can cut and paste - including high resolution photos - from competing

client companies’ releases to make their stories.Broadcasters can pull

air quality audio and video right onto their newscasts.’

Pharris anticipates rolling out the same service to another 10 industry

sectors within the next 12 months. He’s currently willing to reveal only

one - will operate only in November and December

each year for reporters who cover holiday gift-giving.

Direct Contact Marketing specializes in the book publishing industry and

charges 25 cents per page faxed - with a dollars 25 minimum - and writes

releases for dollars 200 per page. Its clients include the authors of

the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Greg Stebben, author of White

House Confidential.

With 6,000 subscribers (mostly newspaper), Article Resource Association

offers press release volume discounts to clients including 3M, Best Buy

and Merrill Lynch. Government, political and public affairs pros

distribute press releases and statements through U.S. Newswire, which

charges in units of 400 words plus 100 words for national, regional,

state and city circuits. Membership costs dollars 95.

’Although we serve the same mass media points as other mass distributors

with text, video, audio and photos on the Internet, our focus is public

policy,’ says Brian Taylor, U.S. Newswire’s director of marketing. In

response to college media editors who want public policy stories, U.S.

Newswire recently teamed with Collegiate Presswire to provide U.S.

Newswire’s press releases at no additional cost to student editors.

For those who don’t already subscribe to U.S. Newswire and want access

to the 18 to 21 age bracket, Collegiate Presswire’s fees begin with a

dollars 100 membership and range from dollars 125 to dollars 500 per

release based on student newspaper circulation tiers. Co-founder Matt

Farlie says his company also monitors the issues that student media

cover so clients like AT&T, the Peace Corps, Comedy Central and others

can ’plug into the young population.’ The media editor lists are updated

each semester.

While there are too many media distribution services to list, as the

Internet grows exponentially, using several companies with different

media resources may offer public relations professionals the best of all

worlds. (Don’t forget the main wire services, which also offer niche

lists.) Or, in Internet News Bureau Renee Manius’ words, ’Given the

choices, why wouldn’t you use more than one service?’


Article Resource Association

Hopkins, MN


Collegiate Presswire

Clifton, NJ


Direct Contact Marketing

Kennewick, WA



Internet News Bureau

Bend, OR

888-699-6939 (within US)

541-617-5380 (outside US)

Internet Wire

Marina del Rey, CA



Software Wire

Hollywood, FL

800-713-7701 (within US)

954-989-3338 (outside US)

Xpress Press

Hollywood, FL

800-713-7701 (within US)

954-989-3338 (outside US)

URL Wire

Knoxville, TN


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