As we all know, a successful business model includes a strong and multifaceted marketing strategy. When we talk with clients there is often confusion about different types of marketing efforts, and their relative value and purpose. The most common misconceptions clients communicate have to do with influencers and media. For that reason, we’ve put together some valuable information to help clear things up. 

Let’s start from the beginning. 

What is marketing media?

Media in marketing is broken down into four parts: owned, shared, paid, and earned. These parts are not mutually exclusive. A comprehensive marketing strategy will encompass a combination to meet specific campaign objectives. 

Types of media and differences table

Owned Media

Owned media is paid for, owned, and distributed by you. This includes business assets such as your website, blogs, white papers, case studies, brochures, signage, email, newsletters, staff uniforms, company vehicle markers, other promotional materials and so on. Owned media is considered an investment in business and is best kept evergreen.

Shared Media 

Shared media is paid by you, owned by a third party, and distributed by you. It encompasses social networks and Brand Channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Yelp, et. al. While most networks are free, they should not be taken lightly. Social media is said to influence some of the most intimate of consumer decisions and most of them have come under fire for unethically manipulating both network control and reach. 

We like social media because it offers channel diversity for your customer and further strengthens that bond and more broadly your brand presence when you’re able to meet your customers where they are.

Some consider “shared media” as “owned media” but in the recent past, we’ve seen companies involved in controversial industries lose Brand Channels despite massive following.

Paid Media

Paid media is paid by you and owned and distributed by a third party. Commonly referred to as advertising, this includes any media you pay for on various mediums such as; billboards, radio, print, video, and banner ads. Other paid media might include product placement, sponsorship, teleshopping, and affiliate networking.

Paid media is attractive because it is the most direct path to get your products and offerings in front of customers. Digital giants like Google and Facebook have become experts at reaching targeted demographics. They’ve made it their business on making quality connections between advertisers and consumers.  

Earned Media 

Earned media is considered the most esteemed media and usually falls under public relations. You can’t purchase good earned media; it is voluntarily given. This includes media you are not directly responsible for, such as news coverage, broadcasts, press releases, radio talk show mentions, magazines, digital and print publications, ratings, reviews, word of mouth, referrals, and endorsements. 

These types of media coverage are accomplished through any reputable media outlet. It’s verifiable and consistent. For this reason, coverage is of extremely high value. 

Convergence Media

There’s a segment of industry professionals that will call any combination of the above media types “Convergence Media”. Due to the complexity in variables and highly specific nature of convergence media we aren’t going to dive too deeply into this type of media.

A great example of convergence media is to do with influencers. Depending on the influencer, there might be an unspecified combination of paid, earned, shared, and owned media, to meet specific objectives or contract terms. While it’s impossible to clearly define convergence media, it’s important that you know it exists and that it is not in itself actually a type of media. 

Integrated communication marketing and PR diagram and chart

Who are influencers?

An influencer can be defined as any person with a measurable influence over a substantial audience that is typically identified by industry focus. This is a broad definition that might include political lobbyists, activists, market analysts, journalists, editors, authors, bloggers, thought leaders, public speakers, comedians, athletes, musicians, celebrities, reality TV stars, models, entrepreneurs and niche industry experts.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They are best categorized by the size of their following, how they achieved it, and whether or not they are monetizing it. 

Celebrity – 5M+ Following

Celebrity influencers extend brand reach exponentially with 5 Million+ active followers. Think of A-list celebs such as Adam Sandler, LeBron James, or Elon Musk. These influencers are household names, and because of that many have leveraged their reach to grow their own Brand Channels. Some excellent example of this is Jessica Alba’s all-natural product line, Honest Company. These stars can cost, on average, in the neighborhood of $1 million dollars for a single social media post.

Mega Influencers – 1M -5M Followers

Mega Influencers are content creating machines that usually have a team of people helping to manage their channels. These influencers have refined their personal branding and are capable of earning a noteworthy income from their influencer status and may or may not already be considered B-list celebs on the red carpet. These influencers make an estimated $50k per post.

Macro Influencers – 500K – 1M Followers

The Macro influencer category is loaded with social media stars that earned their claim to fame by generating shareable content.  They are almost certainly monetizing their following and looking to move onto the next level. This tier can make six-figures and consist of a montage of influencer types, niches, and personalities. These influencers are estimated to make an average of $15k per post.

Mid-Tier – 50K – 500K Followers 

Mid-Tier influencers are working hard to engage and grow their target audience. They are the bread and butter of the influencer world driving the highest ROI for brand and channel partners. Maybe that’s because mid-tier influencers are likely working hard to increase their influencer revenue which can average $5k per post.

Micro Influencers – 10K – 50K Followers 

These influencers aren’t usually getting photographed in the supermarket and may not be a universally recognized authority in their market, but they pack a healthy punch and know their value. With a loyal and dedicated following we see many micro influencers helping brands bring products to market. Micro influencers have earned the trust of their audience over time and are likely monetizing their following as they can earn up to $5k per post.

Nano Influencers – 1K – 10K Followers 

If nano influencers have a notable reach but have not likely clearly defined their influence. They are usually looking to monetize, which for obvious reasons, and can make up to $1,500 per post depending on a variety of other factors such as niche, platform, and the personality of the influencer. These are the influencers to watch, you likely have a few in your own network.

Now that we understand what marketing media consist of and who influencers are, we can clear the air we can dissuade confusion. 

Key differences between influencers and media

Media is content. Whether it’s physical, digital, word-of-mouth, or ad copy – it’s content that requires distribution channel to reach an audience.

Influencers are individuals (usually people, but sometimes animals). Brand Channels are frequently mistaken as influencers. It might be tempting to think of the New York Times or Facebook as an “influencer” the reality is, they are media outlets that allow their users to create brand channels. 

A key point to remember is that while you may produce media for specific Brand Channels, media outlets, or influencers, the media itself, does not embody a single distribution channel. A perfect example of this would be a cross-channel marketing campaign to promote an instore sale. That campaign would likely produce a combination of media, such as: flyers, emails, social media posts, influencer video requests, and pay-per-click ads. All the marketing deliverables in this scenario are types of media with varied methods of distribution. 

Components and Purpose of Public Relations

Our clients visualize their success daily. They utilize our marketing expertise as their vehicle of choice to help get them to the finish line. If we think of various marketing media initiatives and influencer engagement models we deploy as drivers of success for that vehicle, we recognize that some drivers maneuver the road more gracefully than others, while some put the pedal to the metal but at the cost of the car. We notice that a few might have impeccable night vision, and maybe a even let you roll the windows down to take in the view. 

Now, I want you think specifically about public relations. In this scenario, PR is the road your traveling on and your customers are the landscape on which that road exist. It controls, monitors, and guides brand messages across multiple channels, ultimately paving the way for customers to interact with your brand. 

The climate of public relations offers unique and sometimes unexpected challenges. It heavily impacts brand viability and can dramatically increase awareness of leadership and your company. The purpose of PR is to maintain, enhance, or adapt a company’s public image based on deliberate objectives in support of your brand schema. 

Without public relations, it would be impossible to unify brand messages regardless of the amount of money paid to influencers or third-party advertisers. That’s precisely why PR experts are the people brands turn to when facing negative publicity. Hopefully this helps clarify a few things, for a few people. 

“The outside perception and inside perception of Microsoft are so different. The view of Microsoft inside Microsoft is always kind of an underdog thing.” Bill Gates

So your company has an exciting announcement you want to shout from the rooftop, but how do you effectively share your message in a way that puts you in front of your key stakeholders? That’s where the press release wire service shines. Essentially, a press release is a formal written announcement that conveys your big news in an effort to gain media attention and backlinks to your website. It’s also pretty useful in growing your brand visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results.

But writing a press release isn’t enough. You need to get it in the hands of those who cover your niche and can share your message with their readers. While there are several ways to accomplish this, publishing your press release on a wire service is not only a quick and effective way to distribute your message globally, it can also increase your brand presence, build authority in your industry and land your company in those coveted Google and Bing search results.

There are MANY PR wire services on the market, with varying price points based on word count, distribution pick-up, reporting and more. Choosing the right platform can feel daunting.

Let’s simplify the process and take a look at the industry’s most popular PR wire services. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.

Comparison of Press Release Wire Services
**All costs below based on a 750 word press release sent to North America distribution

PR Newswire
Cost: About $2,500
Reach: 4,500 U.S. websites including Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch and Business Journals, 3K newsrooms like The New York Times, ABC News, and BuzzFeed, more than 550 news content systems like Moody’s, SmartBriefs, and LexisNexis and 39K active monthly journalists
Turn around: Within hours, or scheduled in advance

PR Newswire is often considered the industry leader in wire services with a large platform and a robust reporting system. PR Newswire can distribute your press release within hours and also offers a wide range of additional services, such as multichannel marketing and targeted influencer outreach.

That said, PR Newswire comes at a cost. A press release for national distribution starts at $815 for the first 400 words, which includes your boilerplate, and that rate increases for every 100 words. If you go with regional distribution, those all start at different rates. And then there are the fees for your logo and additional media assets. As you can imagine, that adds up quickly, and pricing can start to feel convoluted.
If you have a large budget, PR Newswire could be a good option for you, but that’s not the case for everyone. When dollars are tight, I don’t recommend spending a large portion of your budget on a wire service. Instead, you’re better off combining a more affordable platform with personalized, targeted media relations.

Cision PRWeb
Cost: Advanced Package – $289/release, no word count restriction
Reach: 1,200+ websites, powered by PR Newswire / Cision
Turn around: 24 hour turnaround for next day distribution

PRWeb is the more economical sister to PR Newswire and reaches a network of 1,200+ websites. You can choose from a variety of packages with different price points, which range from $99 to $389 flat rate for 800 words or fewer. The basic package hosts your press release on while the most advanced package offers web syndication, social media integration and the capability to directly contact industry influencers.

If you go with an advanced package, PRWeb also offers unlimited media assets, which is a great value-add. I like PRWeb because you don’t get nickeled and dimed while receiving valuable online placement, although the web interface is rather clunky and 24 hour turnaround is not ideal for everyone. For clients on a budget, PRWeb is your best choice.

Cost: About $700
Reach: More than 4,500 websites, databases and online services
Turn around: 24 hour turnaround for next day distribution

eReleases is a reseller of PR Newswire, which gives eReleases distribution to the PR Newswire network. In addition to PR Newswire, eReleases also distributes to the AP Newswire as well as its own network comprised of opted-in journalists.

eReleases offers three packages that start at $299 and go up to $499 for the base rate. The low-end package includes 400 words while the top-tier package includes 600 words. As far as turnaround time, you can request same-day distribution for a fee. Otherwise, all press releases are scheduled before 9:00 am Eastern — although the platform will not allow you to specify an exact time for distribution. For the price and reach, eReleases is another good option for companies on a budget.

Business Wire
Cost: Approximately $1,550
Reach: Distribution to 89,000+ news outlets
Turn around: Immediately, or scheduled in advance

Business Wire follows a similar model to PR Newswire in that the first 400 words for national distribution are $760 and $195 for each additional 100 words. You can schedule your distribution several weeks ahead of time or immediately. That scheduling flexibility can definitely be helpful — particularly for tech companies who move quickly. As a business-focused wire, Business Wire also complies with SEC regulations, which is useful for certain niches.

Like PR Newswire, Business Wire is one of the pricier wire services, for large companies with large budgets. If you need that immediate turnaround, Business Wire is a great option, but when your budget is tight, look for a more economical solution.

Cost: Premium Plus – $359/release, no word count restriction
Reach: 250+ media outlets & PR Newswire’s network of more than 4,500+ news outlets
Turn around: 24 hour editorial review

Newswire offers four distribution packages: Premium, Premium Plus, State Newsline and National Newsline. The four packages run between $119 and $1,199 with the Premium Plus package being the most popular at $359. In addition to its own proprietary network, you have access to PR Newswire’s extensive network, plus syndication to Google News, Yahoo News!, Business Journals Network, Reuters, and Associated Press.

With Newswire, I particularly like that you can add up to four images as well as embed video, so if you have a media-heavy announcement, this could be a good option. Keep in mind, Newswire operates on a 24-hour editorial review turnaround. In addition to its wire service, Newswire also offers monthly and annual packages that include managing your media database, media monitoring and influencer relations management. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution than just wire distribution, Newswire is worth exploring.

GlobeNewswire by Intrado
Cost: $1200
Reach: 3,500 news outlets including AP Mobile, Associated Press (AP), Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Dow Jones, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Finance
Turn around: 24 hour turnaround for next day distribution

Intrado (formerly West) purchased GlobeNewswire from Nasdaq in early 2018. Given its investment and financial background, Intrado can help public companies ensure they meet the necessary SEC filing requirements. Intrado also offers you the chance to embed a carousel of images, audio, video and live streaming into your press releases for an incremental fee.

A U.S. national release runs $580 for the first 400 words. From there, each 100 words costs another $190 while two images run about $115. The platform offers next-day turnaround. For publicly traded companies, Intrado is a popular option.

Blockchain Wire
Cost: $795/release, no word count restriction
Turn around: 24 hour turnaround for next day distribution

Blockchain Wire, which is a division of West, specifically focuses on news regarding blockchain, distributed ledger technology companies, and STOs as well as other blockchain and cryptocurrency-related announcements. You can choose among the three platforms Blockchain Wire offers, all of which are priced at a flat rate of $795.

  1. ICO Wire: Dedicated to ICO and STO news.
  2. Blockchain Wire: A comprehensive platform for public and private blockchain along with DLT news.
  3. Crypto Wire: Focused on public blockchains and links to CoinMarketCap.

Given the niche nature of blockchain journalism, Blockchain Wire is a great way to hyper target your press releases if that happens to be your industry.

When do press releases get the most views?
Over 50% of all press release are published Tuesday – Thursday, when they are most likely to be seen by reporters following your beat. If you’re trying to bury your news announcement, publish your release end of day on Friday… on a holiday.

Send Your Next Press Release
Of course, choosing the right wire service is just one piece to securing media coverage. An effective press release takes a finely tuned message, a newsworthy angle and a thoughtful pitching strategy that goes beyond a wire service’s distribution network.

We’d love to chat about how we can help you craft a media-ready press release and select the right distribution network to share your message. If you’re ready to share your company’s latest exciting announcement and enhance your brand identity, please get in touch.