Turn your press releases into RSS ads

PRWeb, an Internet newswire service, has teamed up with Pheedo, an RSS advertising network, to deliver press release headlines in RSS ads. Pheedo already provides context-based RSS ads. Now it will draw content from PRWeb press releases and display the headline and subdeck in those ads. So basically your press release turns into a direct-to-end user advert. The releases selected are context-based around categories such as entertainment, mobile, technology and small business. The theory is that RSS feed subscribers will read the press release headlines and visit the PRWeb site to learn more.

So your press release becomes an advert. It’s an interesting idea – you’ve created the content so why not reach as many potential audiences as possible, even if they’re not reporters? It’s a bit of value add for the newswire. However, I’m not sure RSS feed subscribers want to read press releases. I’m not even sure they want to read proper ads to be honest, though Pheedo claims that the click thru rate for RSS ads is seven times higher than standard online ads. To my mind, ad copy and press release copy are not interchangeable. If I were to push out RSS ads, I’d want them to be specific ad copy, not my press releases.

That said, it’s clear that some companies view press releases as a kind of direct marketing vehicle, regardless of whether the content goes via a journalistic medium or not. For that school of thought, this gives yet another channel to reach the target audience. And no doubt, the audience will ultimately decide whether they think this is good news or not.

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  • Thanks for the mention. You hit the nail on the head, “And no doubt, the audience will ultimately decide whether they think this is good news or not.” As you know, with RSS, the user is in control. If the content is not relevant, they will unsubcribe with one click. Publishers and advertisers are aware of this. It is Pheedo’s responsibility to create relevant ad content that users are interested in. And the users decide what relevant ad content means.

  • Thanks for your comment Bill. Agreed – I think the content has greater impact than the ads in that regard. Sometimes the ads are mis-directed but that just means you don’t click on them, not that you unsubscribe from the feed per se.
    I guess if I have a doubt here it’s more about whether you want end users reading press releases via RSS ads or whether you should in fact work up some tailored RSS ads for that channel. And if end users do click on the ad, whether you’d rather they visited the company site than a newswire.
    But that said, it’s another hook in the water. If you didn’t have RSS ads before and were issuing releases over PRWeb, then this is all gravy.
    I’d be interested in any aggregate stats you feel you can make public which show CTR for press releases. By sector (tech/mobile etc) and by release type (product/corporate etc) would be even better.
    It’s an interesting approach – so thanks for testing it out.