The debate among PR pros as to which wire service provides the best service and distribution, or “bang for the buck” entered a new chapter this week, with a study released by PR Newswire, claiming the service generates “more media pick-up and higher volume of coverage” than competitors Business Wire, Marketwire and Nasdaq-owned PrimeNewswire.
Among the study findings were, “Press releases distributed by PR Newswire get used by media more often than copy from competing services and generate more clips when they are picked up,” and that “Press releases transmitted by PR Newswire were used 55% of the time, versus Marketwire’s 43% pickup rate, Business Wire’s rate of 38% and a rate of 37% by PrimeNewswire.”
“Our content has been referred to in more blog posts, Diggs and Delicious Links than any other commercial wire service,” said PR Newswire COO Dave Armon in a statement. “PR Newswire has the highest Google page rank in our industry, and has been referenced as a source on Wikipedia more than any other wire service as well.”
Reached for comment, Tom Becktold, SVP of Marketing for Business Wire questioned the study’s crediblity, telling PRNewser, “If anyone is going to hire a research firm, you’re going to discuss with that firm in advance what info you want to find, and produce a study to support that.” Becktold also claimed the study was a direct sales pitch. “They sent it to Businesswire clients as well, that is where we heard about it,” he said. “So they’re not doing it as an altruistic, ‘lets see where we’re at’ kind of thing. They’re using it to sell against us.” A call placed to Marketwire had not been returned at the time of this post.
There are a whole host of questions here related to research methodology, including: does more necessarily equal better? Were all of the releases analyzed sent over the same type of wire (i.e. national, regional)? And finally, what about media relations? Press releases don’t always get picked up by themselves.
That being said, there is one thing that all of the wire services should agree on: content is king. If you don’t have a well written release with news value, it doesn’t matter which wire service you use, no one will care.