The Value of Free PR Tracking Reports
Does your wire service provide a free report with links to the ‘published’ release? What are these reports worth?
Many PR practitioners do not understand the difference between a (free) tracking report and a (costly) clipping report. The tracking report is based on news syndication and gives you the instant gratification of seeing your press release go live. A clipping report monitors your media coverage to find what’s being said about your organization, competitors or industry. For such a service you have to pay an extra fee that can easily exceed 1,000 USD per month.
What generic wire services say about their free reports
It ‘delivers links to your press release where it appears on third party web sites. The service samples a fixed set of web sites and provides immediate evidence of your press release’s online visibility.’
You receive ‘tracking over [our] proprietary global network of websites [to which] your release was distributed.’
Has an editor really seen the press release? — Who knows? Who cares (except you)?
One generic wire service even admits that syndication is suitable for people who are ‘not interested in reaching journalists and media directly.’
For companies who cannot afford expensive clipping tools, the only true metric is whether you get media pickup (check Google!) and feedback from your network and customers as a result of a press release. News tracking reports are nothing more than a proof of distribution.