Press Release 101: Tips and Glossary of Terms

Search Engine Optimization
Distribution Network
Media Monitoring
Online Distribution


Q) What is wire distribution? 

A) Wire distribution is the direct, instantaneous delivery of your press release to an interested audience that's vast in scope, including thousands of media, bloggers and the public. 

When you use the wire to distribute your press release, your message will be delivered to:

  • Media:  Journalists and editors at newspapers, financial media, trade publications, consumer and special interest magazines, radio stations, television stations and internet news services all rely upon PR Newswire.
  • Internet audiences:  Thousands of web sites, ranging from the internet’s largest news portal to niche and local media outlets post PR Newswire press releases.
  • Search engines:  A primary source of news from corporations and other organizations, PR Newswire news is incorporated into news engines like Google News and Yahoo! News, and is indexed by hundreds of search engines.
  • For public companies, SEC-mandated disclosure and distribution to the Investors Research Wire are also included.

Q) What is a newsline?
A) A newsline is comprised of the media outlets, bloggers and web sites within the geographic or special interest area you’re targeting.  Newslines enable you to select where you want your news distributed – nationwide, or focused on a specific vertical market or locality, while also packaging in broad distribution to online audiences and niche media simultaneously. Newslines include Visibility Reports, which provide measurement and help you prove the ROI of your efforts.

Q) Can you explain how the vertical media lists on your web site are arranged?

A) Our vertical media lists reflect the journalists, bloggers and other media who have elected to receive topic-specific news from our newswire service and our media-only website, PR Newswire for Journalists. Your news will be sent to all relevant vertical media.

Q) How can I target my release for a specific industry?
A) PR Newswire's US1 industry circuits are designed to deliver the widest public reach possible while honing in on journalists and bloggers covering a specific industry.  The content of your release dictates its distribution as well: each release is coded by our editorial team to reach relevant niche journalists & bloggers on our media-only web site, regardless of your geographic newsroom distribution. 

If you want to scale down the audience for industry specific news, Top Markets newslines are another option, reaching key industry markets and media.  Finally, to help you reach journalists covering very specialized niches, we offer hundreds of  Microlists - supplemental targeted distributions consisting of journalists who requested information on specific topics.

Q) Why wouldn't you send a release to more than one US1 industry newsline?
A) When you select a specific US1 industry circuit, you target media and web sites within that industry, and sending a release to more than one US1 newsline would be redundant.  PR Newswire editors routinely code releases for multiple relevant segments, and we are happy to work with you to be sure we’re reaching the markets important to you.

Search Engine Optimization

Q) How does PR Newswire's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) solution work?
A) PR Newswire builds search engine optimization (“SEO”) into every release, delivering unparalleled search engine visibility for every release posted on automatically, and at no extra charge.   Incorporating the latest in SEO best practices, Press Release Optimization reinforces and amplifies the central messages in each news release by creating an optimized version of the press release and embedding key content into the underlying HTML. 

Q) How can I write my release to get the most out of optimization?
Please read: Press Release SEO: Writing Press Releases Effectively for Search Engines

Q) Will PR Newswire add keywords to the code that aren’t visible in the text?

A) No. Changes in how search engines evaluate and categorize information have rendered the practice of placing words/phrases in the content metadata almost obsolete and this practice is not recommended.   Optimization best practices today focus on on-page content.  PR Newswire’s SEO service adheres to best practices by optimizing the press release using only on-page content.  Keywords present in the release are emphasized in the underlying optimized HTML, one of the many SEO tactics we employ to drive extra visibility to your message.  

Q) I've already optimized my release.  Why should I use PR Newswire's SEO service?
A) Great! Our SEO service will further enhance your optimization efforts to help you gain additional visibility for your release. Our Optimized News Platform will format your release for search engines and emphasize your key messages, and our reporting will show you your results.


Q) How do microlists work and how much do they cost?
A) Media Microlists provide micro-targeting of reporters and bloggers covering niche markets. Designed to work with the broad reach of the wire to offer focused distribution to specific segments, Microlists are available for a wide range of sectors, including the  Healthcare, Technology, Finance, Entertainment, Energy, Environmental, Education, Policy, Legal, Transport, Travel and Lifestyle sectors.  Microlists offer one-to-one delivery of news to journalists who have elected to receive press releases on a specific topic.  Each journalist receives releases in the manner he or she prefers.

Q) How are microlists different from other PR Newswire distributions?
A) Microlists are designed to work in conjunction with the wire, as they add another layer of coverage by reaching individual reporters that may not necessarily be covered by the wire.  In some cases, key industry publications aren't covered on Microlists, because those are covered by regular trade distribution offered with the wire. It’s helpful to think of microlists as a way to “fine tune” the distribution you select.

Distribution Network

Q) What type of media points does PRN distribute to?
A) PR Newswire distributes to newspapers, wire services, broadcast and cable news outlets, consumer magazines, trade publications, online news sites, and blogs. PR Newswire provides media points with various delivery options to access news including high-speed wire feed into newsroom computer systems, the media-only site – PR Newswire for Journalists, RSS and customized email newsfeeds.

Q) What is PR Newswire's approach to building audiences for my news?  What kind of outreach do you do, and does it extend beyond journalists?
A) PR Newswire’s Audience Development group contacts journalists and bloggers personally, and reaches out to them on a regular basis, working with them to ensure they’re getting the information they need, when and how they prefer to receive it

Q) How does PR Newswire keep its network up-to-date?
A) PR Newswire's distribution platform is dynamic and based upon the preferences of the journalists and bloggers who use our media services.   Because the reporters, editors, analysts and bloggers who access PR Newswire content can easily update and change their preferences, our distribution networks are always current. In addition, PR Newswire strives continuously to build reach and engage news organizations, bringing your news directly to them.

Media Monitoring

Q) Is there any way to track reader interaction with my releases?
A) PR Newswire members who distribute a press release over a US1 premium newsline receive a complimentary Visibility Report. Any time a reader interacts with a press release by using the options on the Social Media Toolbar such as blogging , printing or emailing it to a colleague, that activity is tracked and communicated via your Visibility Reports. 

Q) How are Visibility and Engagement scores determined?

A) These indices are created by comparing the performance of one press release to others issued by PR Newswire within the same industry.  The scale is 0-100, with 50 being average.  The Total Visibility Index derives from four different scores which are averaged together:  the online score, media score, investor score and search score.  Similarly, the Engagement Index derives from the totals in three categories:  Interaction, Intimacy and Influence.  Thus the number of times readers save, print, email, bookmark or blog about a release is tallied and compared to similar releases.  The averages that are established serve as industry benchmarks against which individual releases are compared.

Online Distribution

Q) How does PR Newswire's online distribution work and how much does it cost?

A) Online distribution is just one of the components of PR Newswire's end-to-end distribution network.  In addition to reaching traditional media and bloggers, every PR Newswire U.S. newsline includes distribution to our online syndication network of more than 5,000 websites and databases and to the investment community.  There is no additional cost to reach this online syndication network when you distribute your news to any U.S. newsline.

There are sites -- like Yahoo! and AOL -- that receive a full news feed from PR Newswire and post every release the newswire distributes.  But most sites display news that's relevant to their particular audience – these topic-specific sites receive customized news feeds based on subject, industry, and/or geography. To facilitate online audience targeting for your news, PR Newswire works very closely with our online partners to create these individually tailored feeds so that each web site receives precisely the type of news that is of interest to their audience.

Crain's Cleveland, for example, publishes all of our Ohio-related news.  The Energy Daily displays news about the energy industry, and posts only automotive news.

These custom feeds are often even more narrowly focused.  For example, RT Magazine only wants news that's related to respiratory diseases and the respiratory care industry.  PR Newswire uses a combination of industry coding and keywords ("pulmonary hypertension”, “lung disease” or “asthma symptoms”) to create a feed of releases that are not only relevant to the healthcare industry, but are specifically relevant to respiratory illness and care.

Q) What are the benefits of having my release syndicated?

A) Syndication puts your news in front of the people who matter most to your organization – investors, customers, prospects, journalists and influencers.  More than 5,000 websites and online databases receive PR Newswire news feeds, from the broad portals visited daily by millions, to thousands of individually-tailored and industry-specific websites, so the most relevant group of readers sees your release, from the decision-makers who drive trends, to the consumers who do the actual buying.

You can also turn your press release into an online channel by including links.  Many of PR Newswire's partner websites will render those links, creating important backlinks to your web site and driving traffic to the pages you designate. To learn more about industry linking best practices and PR Newswire's view on the value of press releases, visit our Beyond PR blog.

Q) Where can I find examples of my release posted online?
A) Each time you distribute a news release to any domestic newsline, you will automatically receive a ReleaseWatch report via email.  This report is a sampling of the online placement of your news release, and includes links to the full-text posting of your news release on sites that we scan for the report.  Reports typically include 100+ links that will take you directly to your news release on sites such as:

  • AOL
  • Breitbart
  • Entrepreneur
  • Forbes
  • Yahoo!
  • Hoovers
  • MarketWatch
  • MSN
  • Reuters

Q) Does PR Newswire offer any mobile services?
A) PR Newswire syndication gets your news to thousands of mobile users.  Some examples:

  • iPhone – Your news release is available and fully keyword searchable on iPhones by visiting Optimized for an iPhone, this application goes beyond ordinary search, to allow the user to track their news on any website.  MultiVu video news content is available to iPhone users by visiting
  • SmartPhone –SmartPhone users access PR Newswire news releases and MultiVu video news content easily through a downloadable application from Viigo, or  sign up to receive MultiVu Mobile Video by visiting the MultiVu Portal.

Q) Why can't you guarantee where the release will post online?
A) While there are some websites that receive and post our full feed – such as Yahoo!, AOL and Forbes – the majority of websites that receive and post our content do so based on the subject, industry and geography that are relevant to each release.  While we can’t guarantee that specific websites will post your news release, we can guarantee that we will deliver your news to the audiences who are most interested.