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.