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Social Media Portal - Profiled - Daryl Willcox - SourceWire - Daryl Willcox Publishing

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 15 July 2009

Profiled - SourceWire - Press release distribution services

An interview with Daryl Willcox, Chairman of Daryl Willcox Publishing

Daryl Wilcox Publishing logoDaryl Willcox Publishing tells SMP about its press releases service SourceWire and how social media is having an impact upon distribution services

Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at Sourcewire?

Daryl Willcox (DW): My title is Chairman of Daryl Willcox Publishing. My role is primarily strategic and as a company figurehead, though I also get quite closely involved in marketing.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Sourcewire and its target audience.

DW: SourceWire's primary audience is business and technology journalists, however the site's visibility means the audience extends to a B2B and consumer audience. SourceWire's sister site, Response Source, is targeted at general and consumer journalists and in a similar way also has a B2B and consumer audience. More at of Daryl Wilcox, Chairman of Daryl Willcox Publishing

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?

: Back in 1997 when the launched the service we were a bit ahead of the curve, so that was challenging. I remember a PR agency for a major tech firm that had only one PC connected to the internet, so it was a bit difficult explaining the benefits of an online press release wire! Today things are very different.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

DW: Our target audience is journalists – both staff and freelance. But our total audience includes all stakeholders – end-users and consumers as well as marketing and PR professionals.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your service, and how do you do it now?

DW: Our sites do more than just host press releases, we have additional functionality for journalists that make our services very 'sticky'. This helped our brands become very established over the last 12+ years and brand recognition is now a major factor.

SMP: What separates your services to others out in the market? Sourcewire logo

DW: Our brands are highly regarded by both the journalist and PR communities. People associate us as being in touch with the media, a valuable attribute in the press release wire businesses. Other factors are ease of use, effectiveness and value for money.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

DW: Low moments? Not had any of those!

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

DW: So many high moments – probably the best is experiencing the passion and enthusiasm of my team, that sounds cheesy but it's true.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities in the press distribution market?

DW: I think the biggest challenge is educating people of the benefits of online press release visibility and that its not just about press cuttings any more. Also, getting people to understand that online distribution is not a quick-fix for a poor press release. Its even more important to make sure your content is strong when it comes to material that will be visible to all.

SMP: What are the dedicated social media services that you offer your clients?

DW: Firstly, our sites are very visible. That's critical for anyone trying to reach out to social media. Secondly, we allow unlimited embedded links in releases, allow people to attach images and documents and include social bookmarking links on each release, plus a range of RSS release feeds.

SMP: What are the benefits for your customers using the social media services?

DW: Online coverage in social media is potentially more valuable than traditional media, so anything you can do to ensure your communications reach social media has to be good. In many cases, with social media readership may be small but influence is often great.

SMP: What are your thoughts on the social media press release?

I actually dislike the term 'social media press release'. The press release is an evolving thing and has been doing so for hundreds of years. Just because there are a few interesting things you can do with an online press release doesn't mean you have to give it a new name. Many of the ideas incorporated in the 'social media press release' are very worthwhile, but suggesting to people that they should stick to a certain template is very dangerous and takes away the most important aspect of the press release – its flexibility.

SMP: Many bloggers don’t like receiving press releases, how do you help your clients connect with bloggers?

DW: The high visibility of our sites, combined with syndication, RSS feeds, picture and file attachments and social bookmarking all combine to make our press releases reachable by bloggers.

SMP: What other support services do you offer clients?

: In addition to our press release wires on SourceWire and Response Source, we also provide an online media database (, a journalist enquiries service ( and a Freelance Journalist Directory (

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media and networks and what impact is this having upon press releases?

DW: The biggest trends are still adoption – many people are still dipping their toe in social media for the first time – and expansion, the latter referring to the creation and growth of new social networks, many of which will be aimed at niche sectors. Social networks are learning to integrate with each other, which is not only useful for the individual but also those involved in online PR as it increases the chances of cross-network seeding of content.

SMP: What are the next moves for Sourcewire, particularly regarding social media?

We're always looking very closely at developments in social media so that when we see an opportunity to enhance or tweak our services we can do so quickly. Our services are always in a state of incremental development. This approach is the best way to follow the evolution of social media. Our latest development is online metrics for releases, this gives the press release submitter an idea of the online impact of each release (

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?

DW: Integration between social networks is the most interesting development of 2009. It will make peoples lives easier and allow users to engage with multiple networks without having to spend the same amount of time on each one. The danger is that if it is not implemented well by social networks then it could just result in complexity which can very off-putting, many social neworks are already hideously complex and I have no doubt this hinders take-up and engagement.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at Sourcewire?

DW: We are constantly monitoring what is going on in all media – including social media – so that we can make incremental enhancements.

SMP: Top five tips businesses using press releases services should consider?

DW replies with

1. Whatever your means of distribution your content needs to be good. Get that right first (a strong story with the right facts, well written and with appropriate supporting material).

2. Get the headline right – it needs to entice the reader and include primary keywords.

3. Include embedded links with your primary keywords in the release – but not too many (search engines don't like that). We suggest three maximum.

4. Always include a picture with online releases (but never attach pictures or documents to releases emailed direct to journalists).

5. Link to your release on your corporate and personal social media profiles, on Twitter at least.

SMP: Best way to contact you?


Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

DW: A Topic bar (breakfast!)

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

DW: I did a bit of DIY for a neighbour yesterday.

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

DW: No idea. No week is the same.

SMP: If you weren’t running Sourcewire what would you be doing? Flying helicopters.

DW: When and where did you go on your last holiday? That would have been October 2008 – a relaxing week in a Lancashire cottage.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

DW: Say hello to my colleagues!

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

DW: A great superpower for me right now would be to bright and ready for the day when my daughter shouts 'wakey wakey' in my ear at six am!

SMP: Are there any other sites/s that we should be aware of that relate to the above?

DW: The main corporate site –

SMP: Is there a corporate or personal blog/s we should know about (if there is, you should add this to SMP also)? (my blog) and (our blog for journalists).

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