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Getting the Word Out, Part II

Part II. Distributing Your News Release

Once a news release has been written, the next step is deciding how it will be distributed.

Many organizations have a targeted group of publications and reporters to whom they send their releases. If your news is of local interest only or if its appeal is limited to a narrow segment of the population (such as youth group leaders or coin collectors), you should be able to identify easily appropriate recipients for your release.

If, however, your news is national or regional in scope or if you simply wish to reach a broader audience beyond your established contacts, you may want to consider using a news release distribution service or a news wire. For a fee (although some organizations offer free services), you can ensure that your news release lands on the computer screens of all the appropriate people.

The following services are presented for informational purposes; their inclusion here is not intended as a nod of approval. Check them out, compare costs and features, and draw your own conclusions. Listed prices are as posted on their Web sites as of December 2003.

  • Ascribe Newswire–Ascribe Newswire specializes in the distribution of nonprofit and public-sector news releases. Annual membership is $125. Nonprofit members can choose from packages ranging from 5 releases for $425 to 100 releases for $5,000.

  • Business Wire–Business Wire is an international service that has been around since 1961. The cost of a single 400-word release ranges from $595 (national) to $120 (metro/city). Membership is $120 per year.

  • CSRwire–CSRwire features only news pertaining to corporate responsibility and sustainability. Releases are $200 apiece for nonprofit members. Membership is available for $100 a year.

  • Eworldwire–Eworldwire offers a distribution service to major newswires for $99 a release. Newswires include Associated Press and Reuters. A "philanthropy" industry-specific service is also available for $300 a release.

  • Imediafax–Imediafax is a fax and e-mail distribution service. For $0.25 per faxed page and $0.15 per e-mail, they'll format your release and send it to a targeted media list. There's a $50 minimum and a discount for projects over $200.

  • PR Newswire–Established in 1954, PR Newswire distributes news releases to more than 22,000 media outlets worldwide. One-year membership is $100. You'll need to contact your local PR Newswire bureau for more information on rates.

  • PR Web–PR Web is a free service that has offered on-line distribution since 1997. Distribution takes place through four channels: a Web site, a syndicated news feed, e-mail distribution, and search engine submission. Basic tracking statistics are available for a minimum $10 contribution.

  • US Newswire–US Newswire is a wire service for public-interest news. A national release costs $395 for 400 words. Regional, state, and city services are also available.

  • WebWire–Along with a free forum and Web-clipping service, WebWire features the ability to post free press releases to their newswire as well as a fee-based Web distribution service.
So what do you do once your news release has been written and distributed? Why not post it to your on-line press room? A press room is a convenient place on your Web site for reporters to find all the information they need on your organization. Every release you send out should be posted in your press room, along with contact information for appropriate staff members.

Want an example? Take a look at GuideStar's news.

And don't forget, if your organization is a GuideStar participant, you can post your press releases to our site as well. Your organization's GuideStar Report can serve as either a substitute or a supplement to a press room.

Patrick Ferraro, 2004
© Philanthropic Research, Inc.

Patrick Ferraro is the Editor of the GuideStar Newsletter.
Topics: Communications