I can’t count the number of conversations our team has had with technical B2B marketers over the years about newswires. We’re asked, “Do they really guarantee coverage on Bloomberg?” or “Aren’t they great for building inbound links so that search engines can find our technical content?” I’ve long been skeptical of the value of newswires and the more I find out about them, the more skeptical I become. Here are a couple of examples of why that’s the case.
Publitek’s white paper on the coverage of semiconductor companies in consumer tech media, published in January 2017, revealed some interesting results when we took a close look at Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s URL nomenclature enables a comparison of content received from newswires (BusinessWire, PR Newswire etc.) and true editorial content. In 12 months, Bloomberg published 6,512 wire (bloombenrg.com/research/…) stories vs. 397 editorial (bloomberg.com/news/…) articles related to the semiconductor industry. Despite being just 6.1% of the total, the editorial articles generated 66,776 shares via Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. This is an average of 168.2 shares per story. However, the 6,512 newswire articles achieved just 60 shares in total – an average of 0.009 shares-per-story. In other words, getting genuine editorial coverage on Bloomberg is 18,689 times as valuable as spending good money to post stories via a newswire feed. The only assumption here is that the number of shares is a good measure of interest in the story, which I think is reasonable.
This article, on Haje Jan Kamps’ website entitled “How our press release ended up on 500 news sites with zero business benefit” provides some interesting insights. Haje’s a smart young entrepreneur and tech journalist. He reveals why newswire coverage is largely complete rubbish. PR Newswire claimed that the 502 pieces of coverage achieved reached a potential audience of 88.1 million. The result was 23 clicks or 0.046 clicks per article. There was no SEO value in the coverage either. Sites that run the stories include code that stops Google indexing them. Haje concludes, “Who are the PR Newswire articles for? As far as we can tell, nobody. There wasn’t anybody to click the links, which makes me think that nobody read the articles.”
Purveyors of newswires have one powerful weapon. At least, four of them do. If you want your story to appear on Yahoo Finance you have to send it via one of four accredited newswires: BusinessWire, GlobeNewswire, PRNewswire or Marketwired. Here’s the Yahoo Finance guidance on the subject. If you believe that Yahoo Finance is an unmissable source of information for your investors, you have little choice but to buy a newswire distribution. If you believe the newswire’s going to add any further value, you may, like Haje, be sorely disappointed.
So, what can you do with the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars you’re currently wasting on newswires. Here’s a clue.
I’ve taken TI as an example of a major semiconductor company with a big following. Its website attracts over 10 million visitors each month – who in our industry wouldn’t like to get that much traffic? If you take a snapshot of the traffic sources you’ll see that nearly 60% of web traffic comes from search.
To get found in search you need a well structured and optimised site. Then you need a steady flow of high quality content going onto the site. You also need content that can be used to build inbound links from third party sites with high domain authority. Just think how much content you could create or re-purpose with your newswire budget, and how much greater impact that investment is likely to have on website traffic and leads going into the sales funnel. Every time I hear the clichéd “content is king” I want to reach for a bucket, but the evidence speaks for itself. And we can help you generate compelling content that really delivers.