In my last post, I wrote about WHY your church should be putting out a press release about the great things your church is doing out in the community.
Press releases are something most churches have no experience with. . . Partly because it’s a craft that’s engimatic and not very easy to understand. And partly because of a conceptual allergy to practices that are embraced by the marketplace. “The church has no business doing business,” some might say.
Since most churches don’t have people on staff that have really done much official PR before, the big question that arises usually is:
So just how/where do you send out a press release?
Well, I personally recommend that you try at least once with one of the Tier-1 press release syndication services. I’ve used PR Newswire numerous times in the past, each time with very good results.
(1) Here’s an insider’s tip though: If you’re a non-profit organization (501-3C, or listed in Guidestar), you qualify for non-profit discounts for PR Newswire press release distribution. Yup, churches qualify for this discount too.
eReleases newswire service acts sort of like a reseller of PR Newswire and they have a product called CAUSEWIRE that offers the non-profit discount.
For example, I just picked-up a pre-paid credit for a press release for $179 (for a standard 500 word press release. It costs $100 for each additional 100 word block of words in the release). This goes out over the national wire service via PR Newswire as well as two industry specific lists. In past jobs, I’ve had to pay extra for these industry lists (and that alone cost more than $179).
The only catch is that you have to schedule the release 3 days in advance of when you want it sent out. If you need immediate release scheduling, you have to pay the regular rack rates, but even then, the standard pricing is cheaper than if you went to PR Newswire directly.
(2) Another option is Christian Newswire, which prices several sub-lists separately a la carte style from $65 (for 400 words, then 50% more for each group of 100 words over 400 words) and up each. It’s much more affordable, but know that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison to using PR Newswire.
(3) I’ve also been considering using a service called PR Web. They were originally a free press release web distribution service, that grew up, and then got bought out by a big company called Vocus. Now they partner with BusinessWire, which is a competitor of PR Newswire. Just as eReleases sends your press release over PR Newswire, PR Web sends your press release over Business Wire. Does that make sense?
Anyway, PR Web offers various levels of service. But the lesser priced ones aren’t really worth much since they are simply auto-syndicating/posting your release on a bunch of partner sites that take their feeds and push them live. This might yield decent traffic results in the short term, but as Google continues to move toward weeding out all that duplicate content out there, content farms and similar strategies are going to loose their visibility in the search engine rankings. PR Web does have discount pricing if you commit to volume — one package I know of offers 2 releases a month for under $140 each. That’s pretty affordable, and I’ve asked PR Web to let me test out the service under these packages to personally see what type of results they bring. Stay tuned on if they respond.
I’ll add some details about what else you need to consider for a basic pr campaign in an upcoming post, but for the time being, these are the 3 biggie newswire service options that non-profits and ministries should consider.
Does your church work with any outside community groups on a service or outreach project? That’s where I’d start with crafting the story to tell the world.