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Need PR and Marketing Help? Ask Away! Q& A with Jennifer Rodrigues of TravelInk’d
Make sure that you provide all of the necessary info in an easy-to-scan pitch for best results.
Q: What is the newswire and should I be using it to distribute my press releases?
A: Newswires are press release distribution services. A company can submit their press release online and it will be sent out electronically to news media, trade publications, websites, bloggers, etc. Newswires are highly effective ways to distribute your release online to thousands of contacts/sites but unless you have a hugely newsworthy story, it probably won't translate into articles written about the story. It will, however, generate many reprints of your press release online so you'll find that if you use SEO (embedded HTML links), it can greatly increase your online presence and clicks to your website. In my opinion, this is the best use of newswires, not as a replacement for a full public relations program.
Two of the most popular press release distribution services are Business Wire and PR Newswire, although today there are many lower-cost newswires available. It is important to note that with newswires, you do often get what you pay for so it may be worth it to pay the extra money for one of the bigger (and more effective services).
Newswires typically charge with an initial flat fee for the first 500 words (approx.) and then they charge per 100 words on top of that for national distribution. For a release of around 700-800 words in length (depending on the newswire you choose), it could cost between $600-$1,500 per release. With some releases you get trade distribution included, and with some services, they will include a small number of HTML links for free. As I mentioned before, it is important to use your HTML links because they can greatly increase your online presence and improve your hotel's SEO efforts, but don't overdo it. You can also choose to buy a "smart news release" which allows you to embed images, videos and additional HTML content into your release, but this is an extra cost as well.
As you can see, newswires can be very expensive and, in my opinion, they don't generate enough of an ROI to make them worthwhile for ongoing use but they do have their place in a company's PR toolbox.
Q: I'm thinking about working with a PR agency instead of trying to do PR myself. Do you have any recommendations on how to find the best agency for me?
A: First, it is very important to work with a firm that is knowledgeable and has experience in your industry. Here's why: The travel industry is a very complex and ever-changing industry. If a firm doesn't know the difference between ADR and RevPAR, then they aren't the right firm for you. They won't be able to identify and create stories that really capture the industry and interest both trade and consumer media. Also, a firm that has previous experience working in the travel industry will have already created and nurtured relationships with the media audiences that you'll be trying to reach. It allows for less of a learning curve and will give your company more chance of securing bigger and more high-profile placements more quickly.
Second, you'll want to do your research into the company's history, work philosophy and work processes. Ask for references of previous or current clients. Don't be afraid to call the references and ask questions about what it was like to work with the firm, how they operated, results that they were able to generate, etc. Most reputable firms have clients who are happy and willing to talk about their experiences, so if they don't have references to offer, it could indicate a problem.
Once you've found one (or more than one) agency who you think might have potential, ask them to put together a proposal for you on their services. A proposal should include ideas on how they will achieve your goals, a timeline and also information about how their experience will help your company. A proposal will also include pricing information. There are many ways that PR firms price their services but the most popular are:
Did this information help you? If you have other questions, I'd love to hear from you - please don't be shy! Send an email to email@example.com.
And don't forget to check back twice a month for more PR and Marketing Q&As.
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