Should We Hire A PR Agency Or Use A Newswire Service?

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Each week PR In Canada and Profectio receive emails from readers who are looking to gain more knowledge about marketing or public relations and how to use they can help grow their business. Recently a reader wrote in looking to understand the difference between using a newswire service versus hiring a public relations agency.

“What is the difference between using a newswire versus hiring a public relations agency?”

For our latest edition of Industry Opinion we turned to one of our community members to help answer the question:

Lisa Libin – Vice President at Brookline Public Relations


Scenario – Your brand has grown a lot over the last year, the company has hired a number of people and your products are flying off the shelves. The CEO woke up and saw a competitor on the local television breakfast show and says “we need to get some PR.” The CEO was given a contact at a Newswire service suggesting they can help.What is the difference between a company using a Newswire service vs. hiring a public relations (PR) agency?

What is the difference between a company using a Newswire service vs. hiring a public relations (PR) agency?

Lisa – The difference between using a Newswire service vs hiring a PR agency is the degree of personalized communication that you would receive for your announcement. A newswire service is great for a mass communication approach, and for distributing press materials to certain industries. A newswire service is able to reach a plethora of media contacts with not much effort. In addition, many public companies are required to use a newswire service for press releases that contain material information.

When partnering with a PR agency they can leverage their relationships with media and take the time to individually reach out to media. This more personalized outreach means that an agency can gauge if a reporter prefers a different angle and work with them to answer their questions and tailor the story to their audiences. PR agencies can also customize their outreach to who the best contacts are regarding your particular news, as opposed to a blanket approach and flooding media’s inboxes with something they may not be interested in.

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Why should a brand use a Newswire service vs hire a PR agency?

Lisa – I believe that there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule about why a brand should use a newswire service over hiring a PR agency, or vice versa. There are benefits to both, and sometimes the best approach is a combination of using both. A benefit of using a newswire service is that many media outlets do in fact look to the wire as their first source of news. However, we all know how busy a newsroom can be and seeing a press release headline once on the wire might not be enticing enough to look into the story further. If using a combination of a newswire service and hiring a PR agency, the agency can coordinate the wire distribution including selecting the best distribution circuits to reach your audiences, then the agency can also do their personal outreach to media contacts. When the agency reaches out to individual media contacts, there’s a good chance that it will not be the first time they have seen your press release. The multiple touchpoints will help media to recall your particular news story and will hopefully mean having an increased chance of reaching your audience.

This will all depend on the client’s PR budget as well. Factoring in what the client can afford, will also be a consideration when planning your public relations approach.