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Online Business

Vitis PR looks at what free newswires are helpful for small businesses


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

November 4, 2011 | 3 min read

Birmingham-based Vitis PR has today announced the results of its study into free newswires, looking at which are the most likely to attract attention.

The B2B PR agency researched and trialled 60 free newswires to determine how well the services work and what additional benefits, such as free hyperlinks and distribution to journalists/bloggers. It issued a series of press releases using the sites and evaluated the results in terms of both PR and SEO benefit.

The key questions asked as part of the research were: do journalists and bloggers actually use the press releases on free sites for news content?; does the release appear on Google News?; does the release appear in a Google web search?; how easy to use are free release sites?; what help (if any) are free press release sites for link building?; and could we use the sites to help 'own' the search results for a targeted phrase?

Vitis found that none of the press releases had a particularly high level of pick up from journalists, bloggers, editors or other influencers, with the agency concluding ‘these wires simply don’t get the attention of journalists or bloggers.’

It was found that the best site for getting picked up by Google news was Online PR News, with Open PR and PR Fire being the ‘runners up’. Vitis acknowledged the majority of press release websites did offer paid for options which increased chances of appearing on Google news.

The research also discovered that Idea Marketers, PR Zoom and Business Services UK were the best websites for building links, as they provided some free SEO benefit by providing links and allowing users to tailor the anchor text. However, it was pointed out that none of the releases were picked up by third-party sites that might be considered to be valuable for link building.

Jaspal Sahota, director of Vitis PR, said: “We wouldn’t recommend that a PR agency or company relies on using a free press release distribution service to get news in front of journalists and bloggers. The odds are that it isn't going to work except perhaps in a few special cases. If you really must use a wire service to reach influencers, you'd be better served with a premium service, which sends news out to databases of journalists and bloggers and often syndicates news to other websites. Having said that, one of the best ways to get journalist or bloggers interested in your news is traditional PR media relations - find the right contact, get your story straight and pitch it.

“Some of the services offer extra benefits for as little as a dollar so, if you’re investing the time to use a free wire service, it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars (or pounds) to get the best out of it.”

Online Business

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