What is a newswire?
We explain how a newswire works and what value it brings to the distribution of news and press releases.
A newswire distributes news to editorial offices and journalists in the print, industrial and online media, as well as to news agencies, terminal and database systems. Services like this have been around for decades. Originally these services distributed news via satellite, fax or a closed editorial systems. Email has made the distribution of news to journalists much easier. Therefore the question is whether a newswire service (which is usually subject to cost) is still necessary.
How does a newswire work?
The company operating the newswire provides a technical distribution network for corporate communications. The sender does not send the news by email but via an input form in the newswire system.
The distribution options vary depending on the service provider. These can be based on researched email distribution lists, but newswire services usually also offer technical interfaces into editorial systems, terminals and news agencies. This means that the newswire service provider has a cooperation agreement with the operator and can send messages directly into their system. This ensures the release appears immediately in the editorial system, in the terminal and database systems (for example Bloomberg Terminals) as well as on the associated websites and news apps.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a newswire?
Newswire distribution is highly automated and standardized. As a result, those responsible for communications in a company do not usually establish a personal relationship with the recipients and are limited in the extent to which they can address the recipients individually.
However newswire distribution is extremely efficient. Newswires achieve wide reach in only a few clicks. This is a big advantage for smaller communication teams or if companies need to send an ad-hoc notification. As we all know, undertaking communication work manually, including researching distribution lists and emailing, can be very time-consuming and prone to error.
The biggest advantage of a newswire is its guaranteed distribution. Thanks to technical interfaces, the newswire ensures the news is sent directly to the systems used by editorial offices on a daily basis, regardless of whether individual journalists are in the office that day. And since the editorial offices also receive agency notifications via the systems, the notification environment is much more useful to a journalist than an email inbox which, for journalists, often resembles a spam folder. In other words the news skips the first gatekeeper and the probability of it being noticed increases.
In the case of financial communication, distributing your news via a newswire is essential in order to supply terminal and database systems directly and in real time. This ensures news reach traders, analysts, institutional investors and all other relevant players in the financial world in one easy step.
A further advantage: newswire notifications are often displayed directly on media company websites and news apps. This guarantees (automatic) online publication and improves search engine visibility. Admittedly this effect has not been as strong since the last Google updates as it was some years ago; nonetheless with our own communications and using various SEO tools we have been able to have a positive influence on visibility on Google and other search engines.
What is the best way to use a newswire?
Newswire services can make communication work easier – but they cannot replace it. A strong recommendation would be to combine traditional communication work with the technical advantages of newswire services. Direct contact with journalists and a detailed background discussion will continue to be worth its weight in gold and nothing can replace this – but does every company have strong relationships with journalists?
The newswire complements traditional communications work and increases the likelihood that your notification will stand out. Competition is immense in the day-to-day flood of news. Technical distribution is one of many ways to address this and offers guaranteed reach and security. Smaller teams in particular, which do not always have personal relationships with journalists, will benefits from these systems and achieve success.
My concrete tips
- Avoid newswire providers that rely solely on email lists or online portals. The greatest added value of a newswire lies in the interfaces to editorial, terminal and database systems described above.
- Don’t let numbers dazzle you. Some service providers claim they can reach more than the number of editorial offices that are actually out there. As described above, the quality of the transmission routes is the most important thing.
- Look at whether the online portals the newswire distributes to are relevant. Only websites with high relevance (e.g. established media) have a positive effect on visibility. Pure PR portals do not bring any added value.
- Choose a not-so popular time of day to distribute your notification. Lots of companies send their notifications out directly on the hour or at half past. If you send your message a few minutes later, it will appear high up in the ticker/system.
- The same rule applies to newswire communications as it does to any other: the content has to convince the reader.