Nothing is more ubiquitous in today’s public relations industry than the press release. The BIGteam has spent countless hours over the past 18 years drafting, revising and approving press releases on behalf of our clients. For such a staple tool in communications, many are still unaware of how the press release became so important. Although it may seem like it was created by a university professor, the history and conception of the first press release is actually quite spontaneous.
Our clients often ask us about press release distribution services. Which one should they be using? Which is the best? What’s the difference? Our answer depends on what the client is looking to get out of a press release, their time and budget limitations and more. We’ve outlined the main criteria to help you determine which service to use for your next announcement. Note that our estimates and experience are based on releases distributed nationally. While we’re discussing PRWeb and Businesswire, there are other, similar services available. 1) Desired Results Businesswire: Press Coverage Businesswire complies with SEC regulations, making it a reliable source for information and enabling public companies to use this service to make required announcements. As a result, members of the media subscribe to Businesswire to stay up to date on company news. With more than 92,000 subscribing journalists and a distribution that goes out to more than 89,000 media outlets, your release is very likely to be seen by a relevant reporter and syndicated in top outlets like the Wall Street Journal. PRWeb: SEO On the other hand, PRWeb only has 30,000 journalist subscribers and therefore is less likely to get you or your company in the news. However, PRWeb is “committed to staying current with search marketing best practices,” meaning their distributed releases garner lots of social shares and help drive traffic to your site, improving your SEO. Just make sure to pack your PRWeb release with keywords and links back to your website. We send out regular PRWeb releases with the goal of improving SEO for one of our clients and have seen positive results. Bottom Line: If you’re making an important, newsworthy announcement that you want journalists to see and report on, use Businesswire. If you’re making a less important announcement but still want to put out a release or want to improve SEO, use PRWeb. 2) Release Requirements Businesswire: Less words, more links You’ll need to limit a Businesswire release to 400 words to avoid paying additional (and expensive) fees. That being said, you can add as many links as you would like. PRWeb: More words, less links On the other hand, PRWeb offers a flat rate for releases under 800 words, and frankly, your release shouldn’t be any longer. However, PRWeb only allows one link per 100 words in your release. Since PRWeb releases are often used to improve SEO, link limitations can be frustrating. Bottom Line: As a rule of thumb, press releases should always be as concise as possible. That being said, PRWeb allows for more words for your dollar, but it limits the amount of links. Businesswire is more expensive per word of your release, but you can fill it with as many links as you want. 3) Timing Businesswire: Immediate Release With Businesswire, you can schedule a release to go out whenever you want, whether you schedule it weeks in advance, a day in advance, or for immediate release. Sometimes it’s hard to agree on the final draft of a press release until the minute it should go out, so this feature of Businesswire is definitely useful. PRWeb: Schedule in Advance PRWeb requires at least 24 hours to review and schedule your release before it’s sent out. If you want to schedule something for immediate release, it’ll cost you an extra $100. You want to make sure you have everything for a release finalized at least two days before it need to go out, which isn’t always possible. Bottom Line: If you’re on tight timeline, Businesswire is your go-to source due to their responsiveness and efficiency, but if you’re announcement is less timely, PRWeb is definitely a more cost-effective solution. 4) Customer Service Businesswire:✭✭✭✩ After scheduling a release, a Businesswire representative will read it over and give you a call if they catch something misspelled or misplaced. Simply check the corresponding box while scheduling the release and Businesswire will call you to confirm before your release crosses the wire. They also have a customer service line you can call to ask questions or edit a release after you’ve scheduled it. PRWeb: ✭✭✩✩ PRWeb is much more hands off when it comes to the review process. They send an email with the link to the release once it’s crossed the wire, but it’s unlikely you’ll speak with an associate. They do have a 24-hour news desk line to call and a “support portal” where you can live chat with a PRWeb representative. Bottom Line: Businesswire representatives are more responsive and knowledgeable than those at PRWeb. 5) Cost Businesswire: $$$$ Businesswire charges $760 for the first 400 words in your press release for a US Distribution. They then charge $195 for every additional 100 words and an additional $95 for amplified visibility, engagement, analytics and measurement, that’s automatically added in. Attaching your company’s logo is free, but adding an additional multimedia file will cost you $425 for the first file and another $225 for each additional. These prices increase annually so, as you might imagine, Businesswire releases get pricey very quickly. PRWeb:$$ There are five pricing options for PR Web, which range from $99 to $499. We usually use the $249 “Advanced” distribution. This is a flat rate for releases under 800 words and also includes attachments like photos, documents or presentations. Bottom Line: Businesswire is much more expensive than PRWeb, but you also get much more in return, like the personal help and expertise of professionals who work behind the scenes. But if you’re working on a tight budget then PRWeb is your best bet. 6) Analytics Businesswire: Fast & detailed A Businesswire analytics report is available the day your press release goes out. It provides detailed information on which outlets picked up your release, links to the article, and how many impressions that site gets per month. It combines all information in a clean “NewsTrak” report PDF complete with links and logos, total views, link clicks and more. We typically extract and share the press coverage and links pages with our clients. PRWeb: Slow & confusing It usually takes about a week for PRWeb to deliver an analytics report. You have to click around quite a bit to find what you’re looking for and the report is overall less useful than Businesswire’s. Bottom Line: Businesswire’s NewsTrak analytics report is cleaner, more intuitive and more interactive than PRWeb’s report. There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a press release distribution service. The best advice I can offer is: if you’re making an important announcement, it’s worth the money to use Businesswire. If you’re looking to improve SEO, then putting out releases on PRWeb regularly is a relatively inexpensive way of driving traffic and keeping consumers updated. -Brigid Gorham