Originally posted on Joyce Bosc’s LinkedIn from February 16, 2022.

We love federal government and contractor trends and research. Which media do government buyers consume and trust? Market Connections’ Federal Media and Marketing Study has that data. Who are the largest 100 federal government contractors? Washington Technology compiles its annual rankings. What do we know about the Top 100 GovCon slogans and taglines? Well, Boscobel finds those answers.

Now, we’ve compiled the PR wire services used by Washington Technology’s 2021 Top 100 Federal Contractors. And we definitely found some surprises!


Value of PR Wire Services

But first, a quick note about PR wire services. Also referred to as a “news wire” or “the wire,” a PR wire service will publish (usually for a fee) companies’ press releases to the world, making it officially “live.” Reporters and, really, anyone can review the feed or search and find news about the companies they care about.

While wire services don’t directly engage GovCon, aerospace and defense reporters (who want relevant news emailed to their inboxes), they are still valuable elements of public relations and thought leadership programs. A good PR wire service will:

  • Increase the visibility of your company, your execs, your products and services.
  • Create referral traffic to your website.
  • Support your SEO initiatives.

For strategic contract wins, product or service launches, and company milestones, distributing your press release via a wire service can amplify your news.


Top 100 GovCon Wire Services by the Numbers

We reviewed the top 100 federal contractors’ 2021 press releases and discovered they are using these* wire services:

  • 37: PR Newswire
  • 26: Press Release Point
  • 22: Business Wire
  • 14: GlobeNewswire
  • 6: EIN Presswire
  • 3: PR Web

*Total is greater than 100, as some companies use more than one service.

On the list, 29 companies are using more than one wire service and 21 companies are not using any at all.


A Peek at the Top 10

A look at the Top 10 GovCons shows a slightly different ranking of top choices:

  • 6: PR Newswire
  • 3: Business Wire
  • 2: Press Release Point (plus another service)
  • 1: GlobeNewswire

We know that the majority (79%) of the Top 100 GovCons use wire services. For the Top 10, that figure is 100%. Every company in the Top 10 uses at least one service.

(In fact, 100% of the Top 40 GovCons are using at least one wire service!)


Three Surprises From This Year’s Results

We started conducting this research several years ago. This year’s results revealed several surprises:

  • PR Newswire Overtakes Business Wire: For years, Business Wire and PR Newswire were easily the most-used and most-trusted wire services. If a company wasn’t using one, they were using the other. More recently, changes in policies, price increases and emerging services have shifted the landscape.

This year, PR Newswire took over the top spot traditionally held by Business Wire. Surprisingly, Press ReleasePoint came in a strong second place.

  • Multiple Services: The number of Top 100 GovCons using more than one service (29%) spiked in 2021 – above anything we’ve seen before. Most are using either PR Newswire or Business Wire PLUS either EIN or Press Release Point.

Usually, companies using more than one service have de-centralized communications teams, with each division choosing its own service. Also, when companies combine through mergers and acquisitions, there are often legacy wire services used until the acquired companies are fully integrated.

  • Press Release Point: This free online press release distribution service was founded in 2007 and has found a place in the GovCon market – with 26% of the Top 100 using the service in 2021.

A closer look revealed that GovCons often use Press Release Point with another wire service. 77% of the Top 100 GovCons use Business Wire and 60% of those use PR Newswire. Out of those using just one service, a mere 15% of companies using Press Release Point rely on this service alone.


A final note about PR wire services

Wire services are not all created equal. While some are free, the most reputable ones charge a fee for their services.

Looking at the Top 100 GovCon choices gives you a sense of which wire services they trust. When you’re selecting a wire service for your press releases, be sure you understand what you get. Ask about:

  • Fees: What is the fee to distribute a 400-word press release to the market you’re targeting. Are there additional fees for more words? For graphics or videos? For logos?
  • Reach: How many outlets will receive the release? 1,000? 5,000? More?
  • Outlet types: Will your PR be distributed to digital, print and broadcast outlets? Or digital only?
  • Targets: Can you target your distribution to local markets (like the DC metro area)? Specific industries (like aerospace and defense)?
  • Reporting: Ask for a sample report, to see if you’ll get the detail you’re looking for.
  • Documentation: What do they require for a contract win press release? Some require an authorization email from the awarding government agency or even a copy of your contract.

Or you can always ask our Boscobel team! We work with the wire services every week and we have opinions, stories and advice for when to use a wire service and which ones may work best for your situation.