5 Ways Free Press Release Sites Can Cost You

Yes, free press release sites can and do cost the uninformed and even the experienced marketer. Some of the costs are screamingly obvious others are more hidden. And it’s my role as your advocate to review and reveal them all. Let’s roll!

OK, so you’ve written your press release. Next action: online press release distribution. Now If you’re stuck in terms of a press release distribution strategy, here’s an earlier article about choosing between horizontal and vertical distribution.

(Editor’s Note: feedback please! Take the press release distribution poll at the bottom of this article to help us better gauge topics for future articles.)

Now the purpose of this article is to examine free press release sites-and more importantly-to realize that free doesn’t always mean no-cost. As a big believer of online press releases, consider me amazed, even dumbfounded when a new blog post or tweet surfaces with a BIG list of free press release sites.

So I wondered, am I missing something? Only one way to find out-dig in and do some due diligence. Curious about what I discovered? Well, my search turned up more questions than answers.

A sampling: first, where’s the context? Do I submit an online press release to all those sites? Some of those sites? Which free press release sites do better with the media? Is there software available that will mass submit to those sites? How do free press release sites perform vs. paid sites? What metrics do these sites provide or am I on my own in determining the release’s success or lack thereof?

Yes, my mind was whirring with questions each in search of answers. Here’s the challenge: most of my experience is with paid press release sites and newswires. Of course, some of you reading this now have limited experience in online press release distribution either free or paid.

So consider this foray into the free press release world an educational experience for both of us. And with that in mind…

5 Ways

Free Press Release Sites Can Cost You

1. Extra time investment

Time is money. When you pay to distribute online press releases you can often rely on just one service, especially if you use big, established newswires like PR Newswire, BusinessWire and Marketwire. Even PRWeb can provide enough coverage to justify just using a single provider.

However, those newswires are often not budget-friendly, especially for small businesses. So it’s only natural to turn to lower cost or even free press release sites. Dana Willhoit author of “Press Release Stomper” advocates distribution of several free press release sites with every release. Christine Kelly of OnlinePRNews.com has also recommended using multiple free press release sites with every release.

So instead of using one provider now you’re using several. Each press release site has its own interface, its own unique requirements, its own nuances, upgrades, etc.

What’s more, in my tests, adding hyperlinks to press release copy boosts traffic. Yet, some of these providers require a fair amount of hoop jumping, even to the extent of creating your release in an HTML editor and creating clean HTML code to be effective.

And unlike the major press release sites, you’ll need to plan ahead. Many free press release sites have limited editorial desk/customer service hours, often requiring you submit your online press release 48 hours in advance.

Takeaway: is the extra time you’re spending on increased labor worth what you’re saving by going the free route? With some economical press release sites, we’re talking anywhere from $20 – $100 for some good performance results.

2. Online exposure and visibility

One reason to use multiple free press release sites is that you can’t rely on a single free press release site to deliver the typical coverage and exposure you receive from a paid site. Granted, you can increase visibility by paying to upgrade (see #3) but then that’s not a free press release site and it is costing you, right?

Even with the upgrades, I’m not convinced you’ll duplicate the exposure you’ll receive from paid press release sites.

So how do you know what kind of online exposure and visibility to expect? The chart below is a quick, rather unscientific snapshot with a specific outcome. Specifically, the level of penetration in Google News and Yahoo! News. Seeing lots of listings is impacted by the following factors:

  1. Quantity of releases submitted. That’s one reason why PRnewswire typically has the greatest number, simply because that’s the preferred choice of many companies and PR companies.
  2. Quality. Search engines give preferred treatment to more established newswires and press release sites.
  3. Syndication/aggregation. Some press release sites (PR-Inside.com for example) often pick up newsfeeds from other newswires and press release sites.

sevisibility400px1

 

If you’re considering using a free press release site, do a quick search in the news search engines and see what exposure that press release site is getting. Just search site: (insert press release site url). If you don’t see a lot of listings, I’d go with a newswire that has more activity and better search engine penetration.

Takeaway: Again, there is a time component, since you’ll need to submit to multiple free sites to get the exposure you’d receive from one of the paid sites.

3. Upgrades = extra cost

Now this is an area that gets right to the bottom line. How do free press release sites stay in business? Well, advertising revenue is one way. Another is an upgrade fee.

Here’s the rub: just about anything extra is an upgrade. Even worse, the upgrades are not consistent from site to site. You’ll need to invest some time just familiarizing yourself with the various upgrades, if they’re worth the investment and how that impacts your marketing budget.

In fact, in a review of about 15 different free press release sites, I counted 25 different upgrades. Here’s a sample:

  1. Speed of approval
  2. Speed of distribution
  3. Higher placement on page (above free listings)
  4. Preferred/showcased listing
  5. Distribution: more sites
  6. Other/social media
  7. More industry categories
  8. Placement in additional newsfeeds
  9. More words
  10. Formatting: bold / italic text
  11. Archiving
  12. Media Attachments: images, video, pdf, mp2
  13. Ad-free page

Takeaway: free sometimes costs money, especially for features and functionality that are already bundled in with paid newswires. Again, compare and contrast. Ordering numerous upgrades ala carte may end up costing more than a paid newswire that includes several at one fixed price.

To be clear, I’m not 100% anti-upgrade. Yet, in the spirit of transparency, we are talking free vs. paid. So freebie seeker and buyer beware.

4. Performance metrics/course correcting

At a high level, you can view online press release metrics in two camps: external and internal. External includes search engine performance, keyword ranking, press release views/downloads and backlinks. Internal refers to how that traffic shows up to your website: visitors, conversions, etc.

Many of the paid press release sites provide helpful website stats. (Although I find the “number of reads” stat suspect. These are not human eyeballs, often it’s a site that receives a press release constitutes as a read. )

Still, if you use the same press release sites consistently, key benchmarks begin to emerge. For example, when I use PRWeb, I consider a number of reads plus headline impressions of 75,000 a good indicator of decent exposure. Looking at the screen capture from my PRweb account you’ll notice the overall number of this release was considerably higher, 246,282. )

prwebstats

Takeaway: with free press release sites, performance metrics range from sketchy to non-existent. Many free and even paid providers offer more robust metrics for-you guessed it – an upgrade.

Another takeaway: there’s an old saying “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” Because of the limited nature of free press release metrics, you gain less market knowledge and insights that you can funnel into future releases, thus improving performance over the long term.

5. Staying power

One of my most effective online PR strategies is creating evergreen content somewhere in the press release. That way, when the release is found via a keyword search, there is content still deemed relevant to the user.

Whether it be from my own experience or that of my clients and customers, there has been a consistent phenomenon: when journalists are performing research for a story, they turn to the same place we do for the information: the search engines. In so doing, it’s possible to get media coverage days, weeks, months, even years after your release was originally submitted.

Takeaway: One key factor determining this is exactly where your press release ranks for keyword searches. Again, the search engines seem to reward the more established newswires. And keep in mind if you use a free press release site and you don’t pay for archiving, then you have ZERO staying power.

Again, in my tests the paid newswires seem to have better staying power. Granted, there are many variables that impact this. I’m only coming from my place of experience. If you have a different experience, please enlighten US with your comment.

Conclusion and recommendations:

Knowing what you know now, if you’re still comfortable with free press release sites, have at it. At least you know what to watch out for. And you can always outsource the distribution and let someone else worry about stayingcurrent on all the pluses and minuses.

I’m also hoping to hear from some free press release sites people and have them state their case. If nothing else, by bringing some of these challenges to light, here’s hoping they up their game and perhaps standardizing what’s free vs. what’s paid. Right now, with all the upgrades, it’s all over the map.

I will continue testing free press release sites further and will report back what I find. You may wonder as to why I didn’t include specific case study results from using free press release sites.

A point well taken as my views are shaped by my experience at an aggregate level. Again, I’m coming from own area of experience, which is via paid newswires.

To present all sides of the story as a benefit to my readers, I’ll be interviewing Dana Willhoit, an expert on free press release sites to gain further insights into this area of Online PR. Do watch for that coming soon. And I’m open to interviewing execs at free press release sites as well.

Please take the poll and leave your reply to this post.

Story

highlights and action steps:
  • Time to review: 14 minutes
    • Know your distribution strategy going in, let that guide free vs. paid choice
    • Free sites do not mean no cost, many include extra charges for service upgrades
    • Free sites can have obvious costs (upgrades) and more hidden costs (time investment, performance, metrics, etc.)
    • Free sites can and do work, but more are needed for effectiveness of each release distributed
  • Related Resources:
    • Dana Willhoit, Press Release Stomper.
    • PR Traffic System for optimized press releases
  • Action Steps:
    • Review this online press release distribution article for strategy insights.
    • Comprehensive directory of press release sites coming soon. Sign up for 30MinutePR tips (top of the page) to get on the notification list.
    • Test! Use a free press release site and a paid press release site for each release and measure results. And report back the outcome via the comments below.

Marc Harty is an online publicity expert, professional speaker, Internet marketing consultant and CEO of MainTopic Media, Inc. Marc’s Online PR Made Easy can help anyone at any skill level generate targeted web site traffic on autopilot.

  • Nice article and one that I will likely share with clients.

  • Nice article and one that I will likely share with clients.

  • Hi Marc ~
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on free press release distribution sites.
    Another concern about free press releases: how will the search engines treat duplicate content? Will you get bounced out?
    We find that PitchEngine.com is the most-fully featured free press release distribution option. Free releases expire after 30 days. Upgrade options include a fully branded online newsroom for $50 per month or $550 per year or a release archive for $35 per release or $400 per year. Releases get indexed into Google almost immediately.
    PRWeb offers better reporting and some clients are okay with paying for that. I agree with you that the overall numbers are suspect. What we value more is search reports that tell us how people are finding our clients and where the readers are located.
    Both services offer multimedia uploads. Visuals support words and give publications/readers a way to see the story.
    By the way, I like how you include a poll in your post – very clever and useful.
    Barbara
    @wiredprworks on twitter.com

  • Hi Marc ~
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on free press release distribution sites.
    Another concern about free press releases: how will the search engines treat duplicate content? Will you get bounced out?
    We find that PitchEngine.com is the most-fully featured free press release distribution option. Free releases expire after 30 days. Upgrade options include a fully branded online newsroom for $50 per month or $550 per year or a release archive for $35 per release or $400 per year. Releases get indexed into Google almost immediately.
    PRWeb offers better reporting and some clients are okay with paying for that. I agree with you that the overall numbers are suspect. What we value more is search reports that tell us how people are finding our clients and where the readers are located.
    Both services offer multimedia uploads. Visuals support words and give publications/readers a way to see the story.
    By the way, I like how you include a poll in your post – very clever and useful.
    Barbara
    @wiredprworks on twitter.com

  • One very important consideration you didn’t touch too much upon is the cost for distributing additional content such as images, video and audio files. In the new reality of the social media release (SMR) video and audio are almost expected by journalists. PR Web is a very affordable way attach additional content whereas PR Newswire will cost you an arm, a leg, and most of your remaining leg’s cankle. PitchEngine can do all of this for free, but of course you don’t get the distribution/feed unless you pay for it. One other important difference between PR Web and PR Newswire is I know exactly who picks up my release (along with a link) because they go far beyond PR Web when it comes to monitoring pickups and the range of data they offer. Great post, thanks for doing all this legwork – I’m glad I found you on Twitter!

  • One very important consideration you didn’t touch too much upon is the cost for distributing additional content such as images, video and audio files. In the new reality of the social media release (SMR) video and audio are almost expected by journalists. PR Web is a very affordable way attach additional content whereas PR Newswire will cost you an arm, a leg, and most of your remaining leg’s cankle. PitchEngine can do all of this for free, but of course you don’t get the distribution/feed unless you pay for it. One other important difference between PR Web and PR Newswire is I know exactly who picks up my release (along with a link) because they go far beyond PR Web when it comes to monitoring pickups and the range of data they offer. Great post, thanks for doing all this legwork – I’m glad I found you on Twitter!

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Marc. The points you raise are valid as are some of the points in the ensuing thread.

    I just have a couple of additional points to share:

    Regarding duplicate content (Barbara’s question), a crawler is going to look for what it considers to be the canonical version of a release and then position it accordingly. Although this may push down syndicate or duplicate versions, we have not really seen instances where multiple versions of a release will result in negative placement for the canonical version.

    One additional consideration for people to think about is whether the distribution service has any editorial oversight. PRWeb, along with the traditional wire services, all have editors who review content for adherence to editorial guidelines. This provides an added sense of quality assurance for the journalists and bloggers who write about the news release as well as the publishers out there who syndicate.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Marc. The points you raise are valid as are some of the points in the ensuing thread.

    I just have a couple of additional points to share:

    Regarding duplicate content (Barbara’s question), a crawler is going to look for what it considers to be the canonical version of a release and then position it accordingly. Although this may push down syndicate or duplicate versions, we have not really seen instances where multiple versions of a release will result in negative placement for the canonical version.

    One additional consideration for people to think about is whether the distribution service has any editorial oversight. PRWeb, along with the traditional wire services, all have editors who review content for adherence to editorial guidelines. This provides an added sense of quality assurance for the journalists and bloggers who write about the news release as well as the publishers out there who syndicate.

  • Marc,

    This is a fantastic post. I’ll be sharing with others and reading it more in depth myself.

    One thing I would note is that I’ve personally had great success with PitchEngine.com. Using it, I have acheived very high rankings on the main Google page itself. I know they have made some changes recently due to spam issues that may have affected their Google News listings, but I’m sure that is being addressed.

  • Marc,

    This is a fantastic post. I’ll be sharing with others and reading it more in depth myself.

    One thing I would note is that I’ve personally had great success with PitchEngine.com. Using it, I have acheived very high rankings on the main Google page itself. I know they have made some changes recently due to spam issues that may have affected their Google News listings, but I’m sure that is being addressed.

  • Thanks for doing the homework here Marc. Unfortunately, you picked a week where we were experiencing an issue with our Google News indexing! Typically all of our subscribers receiving Google News placement.

    The bigger point though that I wanted to address is that you are reviewing sites based on the assumption that traditional PR distribution is what a tool should provide. Would you believe that less than 1% of our total SMR views come from Google News?

    Before PitchEngine, all PR services were designed to do one thing – distribute your content to the masses. Push a button, spend some cash, send it out. But who’s listening? The social web is a completely different animal where numbers mean zero. If I’m selling whitewater kayaks does Google News get me anything? How about a paragraph in the Wall Street Journal? But getting my content in front of infuencers (friends, fans, followers, journalists and bloggers) – that’s where the work is being rewarded. (See the Jackson Kayak uses PitchEngine story from the SF Chronicle).

    Effective PR doesn’t mean volume of impressions – that’s the old metric. How many of your brand or client’s influencers did you reach? How much did you sell as a result?

    Why is it important? Those old metrics applied to PR are the same that were applied to news distribution. Remember, when people all got their news from news outlets where brands could advertise…News distribution has completely changed – isn’t it time PR caught up?

    Thanks again for the detailed post. Now let’s take the next step.

    Jason Kintzler
    @pitchengine

  • Thanks for doing the homework here Marc. Unfortunately, you picked a week where we were experiencing an issue with our Google News indexing! Typically all of our subscribers receiving Google News placement.

    The bigger point though that I wanted to address is that you are reviewing sites based on the assumption that traditional PR distribution is what a tool should provide. Would you believe that less than 1% of our total SMR views come from Google News?

    Before PitchEngine, all PR services were designed to do one thing – distribute your content to the masses. Push a button, spend some cash, send it out. But who’s listening? The social web is a completely different animal where numbers mean zero. If I’m selling whitewater kayaks does Google News get me anything? How about a paragraph in the Wall Street Journal? But getting my content in front of infuencers (friends, fans, followers, journalists and bloggers) – that’s where the work is being rewarded. (See the Jackson Kayak uses PitchEngine story from the SF Chronicle).

    Effective PR doesn’t mean volume of impressions – that’s the old metric. How many of your brand or client’s influencers did you reach? How much did you sell as a result?

    Why is it important? Those old metrics applied to PR are the same that were applied to news distribution. Remember, when people all got their news from news outlets where brands could advertise…News distribution has completely changed – isn’t it time PR caught up?

    Thanks again for the detailed post. Now let’s take the next step.

    Jason Kintzler
    @pitchengine

  • Great info Marc. Comparing the metrics for both free and paid wires helps clients and PR pros alike.

  • Great info Marc. Comparing the metrics for both free and paid wires helps clients and PR pros alike.

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks Aerial. This is just the first of many posts about press release site performance. feel free to share your results as well.

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks Aerial. This is just the first of many posts about press release site performance. feel free to share your results as well.

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks Michelle!

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks Michelle!

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing your info on PitchEngine.com. I’ll be testing them in-depth soon. I’m all for whichever site or newswire provides the best balance of cost and performance. As you know, such an approach is ongoing and when I have new data, I’ll be sure and publish it. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing your info on PitchEngine.com. I’ll be testing them in-depth soon. I’m all for whichever site or newswire provides the best balance of cost and performance. As you know, such an approach is ongoing and when I have new data, I’ll be sure and publish it. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

  • Marc Harty

    Nate,

    Thanks for your comments and your are 100% correct. I think you gave me an idea for my next article: comparing enhancements for paid press release sites and newswires. I will say that PR Newswire will do a better job reaching journalists. And social media releases, well that too is worthy of more detailed examination. Stay tuned!

  • Marc Harty

    Nate,

    Thanks for your comments and your are 100% correct. I think you gave me an idea for my next article: comparing enhancements for paid press release sites and newswires. I will say that PR Newswire will do a better job reaching journalists. And social media releases, well that too is worthy of more detailed examination. Stay tuned!

  • Marc Harty

    Jiyan,

    Thanks for adding your comments. And I do agree with your assessment on both fronts. I will say I have quite a bit of experience in PRWeb as a news release service provider. And as one of the other comments noted, PRWeb does bundle a lot of added value and enhancements into the various price levels. That’s one of the appeals for my customers, clients and coaching students.

  • Marc Harty

    Jiyan,

    Thanks for adding your comments. And I do agree with your assessment on both fronts. I will say I have quite a bit of experience in PRWeb as a news release service provider. And as one of the other comments noted, PRWeb does bundle a lot of added value and enhancements into the various price levels. That’s one of the appeals for my customers, clients and coaching students.

  • Marc Harty

    Brandon,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m familiar with you and actually follow you on Twitter. (Thanks for the RT!) You, Barbara Rozgonyi and Jason Kintzler have all responded with favorable comments on PitchEngine.com Naturally, I’ll be doing follow-up articles about press release site performance where I’ll be covering PitchEngine.com in more detail.

    Would you mind sharing a case study about your success with Pitch Engine?

  • Marc Harty

    Brandon,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m familiar with you and actually follow you on Twitter. (Thanks for the RT!) You, Barbara Rozgonyi and Jason Kintzler have all responded with favorable comments on PitchEngine.com Naturally, I’ll be doing follow-up articles about press release site performance where I’ll be covering PitchEngine.com in more detail.

    Would you mind sharing a case study about your success with Pitch Engine?

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful reply to my post. And let me highlight your major point since it’s worth both discussion and expansion. Specifically, you have added valuable context as to visibility in Google News being only one element of the distribution landscape.

    Now I have noticed that releases that rank highly in the news search engines do seem to get increased exposure across other sites and audiences. So while it’s not the only measuring stick, in my experience, it’s one worth considering.

    And yes SMRs have impacted news distribution BIG time and many PR folks are either playing catch up or not seeing the light.

    You also raise another important element: metrics and reporting. How can we utilize services such as PitchEngine.com and measure the impact of our releases with the influencers you refer to? It seems we need to cobble together data from the newswires as well as third party reputation management and monitoring services. (I’ve had good results with Filtrbox.com)

    I’m in agreement about taking the next step. Here’s an idea: would you be open to an interview where you can expand on the thoughts you’ve shared here?

    Finally, i figured there was something awry with the results of some of the newswires in the news search engines and added that caveat in the caption of the performance table. I’ll be testing PitchEngine.com extensively over the next few months and look forward to sharing those results with my readers. (And hopefully the recording of our interview as well.)

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful reply to my post. And let me highlight your major point since it’s worth both discussion and expansion. Specifically, you have added valuable context as to visibility in Google News being only one element of the distribution landscape.

    Now I have noticed that releases that rank highly in the news search engines do seem to get increased exposure across other sites and audiences. So while it’s not the only measuring stick, in my experience, it’s one worth considering.

    And yes SMRs have impacted news distribution BIG time and many PR folks are either playing catch up or not seeing the light.

    You also raise another important element: metrics and reporting. How can we utilize services such as PitchEngine.com and measure the impact of our releases with the influencers you refer to? It seems we need to cobble together data from the newswires as well as third party reputation management and monitoring services. (I’ve had good results with Filtrbox.com)

    I’m in agreement about taking the next step. Here’s an idea: would you be open to an interview where you can expand on the thoughts you’ve shared here?

    Finally, i figured there was something awry with the results of some of the newswires in the news search engines and added that caveat in the caption of the performance table. I’ll be testing PitchEngine.com extensively over the next few months and look forward to sharing those results with my readers. (And hopefully the recording of our interview as well.)

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  • @marc Thanks for the response! Here’s a new case study regarding social distribution using a picthengine SMR from PFS Marketwyse – good data! PFS Case Study

  • @marc Thanks for the response! Here’s a new case study regarding social distribution using a picthengine SMR from PFS Marketwyse – good data! PFS Case Study

  • Marc, thanks for the great article. It gave me several ideas for new advertisement methods for me and my clients. Keep the great info coming Brother!

    Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor
    http://www.drdavehaleonline.com/

  • Marc, thanks for the great article. It gave me several ideas for new advertisement methods for me and my clients. Keep the great info coming Brother!

    Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor
    http://www.drdavehaleonline.com/

  • Congrats on the PR News Daily pick up for this post, Marc. That’s quite a coup! Interesting to follow the poll results. Talking about how to approach/manage PR among my peers is so intriguing – everyone seems to have a different take on how it works best for them and their clients. Thanks for sparking this conversation.
    @wiredprworks on twitter.com

  • Congrats on the PR News Daily pick up for this post, Marc. That’s quite a coup! Interesting to follow the poll results. Talking about how to approach/manage PR among my peers is so intriguing – everyone seems to have a different take on how it works best for them and their clients. Thanks for sparking this conversation.
    @wiredprworks on twitter.com

  • Marc,

    I’m writing to cast a vote for the no-cost marketing webinar idea. No doubt entrepreneurs of all types would value your insights on that topic.

    Appreciate the substantive information you consistently provide.

    Barbara

  • Marc,

    I’m writing to cast a vote for the no-cost marketing webinar idea. No doubt entrepreneurs of all types would value your insights on that topic.

    Appreciate the substantive information you consistently provide.

    Barbara

  • I, too, have had good luck with PitchEngine and PR Web. There is one reason for the free press release, however. I like to keep a steady stream of press releases flowing and sometimes we just don’t have anything particularly newsworthy to report – at least, not exciting enough to justify the top price on PR Web. So I will do a freebie and it always results in a nice selection of links back to our sites. I know that they’re picked up because I always create a Google Alert about whatever I just wrote and Google itself notifies me of new links. It’s not as powerful as being picked up by real media, of course, but it’s definitely helpful for growing any site.

  • I, too, have had good luck with PitchEngine and PR Web. There is one reason for the free press release, however. I like to keep a steady stream of press releases flowing and sometimes we just don’t have anything particularly newsworthy to report – at least, not exciting enough to justify the top price on PR Web. So I will do a freebie and it always results in a nice selection of links back to our sites. I know that they’re picked up because I always create a Google Alert about whatever I just wrote and Google itself notifies me of new links. It’s not as powerful as being picked up by real media, of course, but it’s definitely helpful for growing any site.

  • Excellent information. You are absolutely right there’s never anything that is absolutely free. Even guerrilla marketing techniques have a price to them. The biggest one is time. And, as you said time = money. What’s your time worth? What else could you be doing with your time? Visiting with friends and family, playing with your kids, attending an event, etc.

    There is another paid service that we have used that isn’t mentioned. It’s http://www.Send2Press.com. It’s about half the price of PRNewswire, but uses PRNewswire as part of its distribution process.

  • Excellent information. You are absolutely right there’s never anything that is absolutely free. Even guerrilla marketing techniques have a price to them. The biggest one is time. And, as you said time = money. What’s your time worth? What else could you be doing with your time? Visiting with friends and family, playing with your kids, attending an event, etc.

    There is another paid service that we have used that isn’t mentioned. It’s http://www.Send2Press.com. It’s about half the price of PRNewswire, but uses PRNewswire as part of its distribution process.

  • Marc Harty

    Samantha,

    Thanks for your comments. Which free sites have you had the best success with? And I’ve created “story-driven” press releases that were more like articles that I sent via PR Web.

  • Marc Harty

    Samantha,

    Thanks for your comments. Which free sites have you had the best success with? And I’ve created “story-driven” press releases that were more like articles that I sent via PR Web.

  • Marc Harty

    Jeff,

    I too have used and had success with http://www.send2press.com If you’ve ever talked with their founder, he’ll give you an earful. (They’ve been around a LONG time.) 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Jeff,

    I too have used and had success with http://www.send2press.com If you’ve ever talked with their founder, he’ll give you an earful. (They’ve been around a LONG time.) 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for your vote. Stay tuned for further details. And thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for your vote. Stay tuned for further details. And thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for noticing! What new trends do you see with your work and clients?

  • Marc Harty

    Barbara,

    Thanks for noticing! What new trends do you see with your work and clients?

  • Marc Harty

    Dave,

    Thanks and I will. And please report back on your results…it’s all about best practices and ROI these days.

  • Marc Harty

    Dave,

    Thanks and I will. And please report back on your results…it’s all about best practices and ROI these days.

  • Marc Harty

    Jason,

    Thanks. I’ll take a look. How about that interview request? Also, saw you’ve added Des Walsh to your team.

    Great guy. But you already knew that. I had a chance to spend some time with him at BlogWorld Expo a while back.

  • Marc Harty

    Jason,

    Thanks. I’ll take a look. How about that interview request? Also, saw you’ve added Des Walsh to your team.

    Great guy. But you already knew that. I had a chance to spend some time with him at BlogWorld Expo a while back.

  • Nice list. Would include some of this with analysis in my blog where i’m defining the step by step guide to making money online. and PR is one of definite strategies to be kept as part of overall plan.

    Thanks.

  • Nice list. Would include some of this with analysis in my blog where i’m defining the step by step guide to making money online. and PR is one of definite strategies to be kept as part of overall plan.

    Thanks.

  • Eye opening, to say the least. I wish I had the revenue to invest in a good press release. My question is, “what is the best route for a geographically unique organization?” In other words, if the organization’s needs are more in line with local media picking up the release.

  • Eye opening, to say the least. I wish I had the revenue to invest in a good press release. My question is, “what is the best route for a geographically unique organization?” In other words, if the organization’s needs are more in line with local media picking up the release.

  • This is a very great article. But I disagree with you on a lot of points. The rules have changed and I do not see power in the hand of journalists as it used to be.

    Take for instance, the news about Van Jones, the mainstream media did not break the story. It all started from blogosphere. Bloggers broke the story and it ends up on Fox news.

    The questionyou should be asking is: How many PR get submitted via these newswires get results? By results, I am asking is there any performance metrics out there? Take for instance, 1000 businesses submit PR to PRNewswire, do all these PRs get picked up by journalists? How many of these PRs get submitted/picked by Google News/Yahoo News (2 news aggregator leaders)? How many times do potential customers view these PRs via Google News/Yahoo News?

    Here is what I am trying to say. Google/Yahoo will not feature PR News on their home page unless it is newsworthy in the first place. The other way for these PR news to be seen by people is only when potential customers perform a search on something of interest.

    With that said, when a potential customer goes to Google and perform a basic search. The customers does not care where the results come from. He scans through the SERP and picks what interest him.

    So here is the point I am trying to make. The Internet has changed the rules of the game, especially for the little guys. With SEO, Social Media, Twitter and blogosphere, the power is no longer in the hand of the privilege fews.

    The best way to get noticed for smaller companies with no millions of dollars in advertising budget is to leverage the power of the Internet. Below are some of the things you a small business with little PR budget can do to improve its online visibility:

    #1 SEO (get a lot of backlinks/inbound links, web page titles with quality keywords related to your service and products, vanity URLs and many more). Long tail keywords are also great. Short tail keywords are expensive
    #2 Twitter – Leverage twitters and get as many followers as you can.
    #3 Social Media – Create FaceBook page, LinkedIn and many more
    #4 Viral ideas – Leverage the power of YouTube (remember the wedding dance video, Will Blend anything etc.)
    #5 Create Feedback contests for your service/products – you get more traffic and more opt-in emails for a small budget.
    #6 Contribute to blogs and forums – Don’t spam.
    #7 For local business owners, use Google Local Business center, Yelp reviews, Yahoo Local Business, Post your business profile on credible websites like DMOZ, BOTW, LocalBusinessUSA.com and many more.
    #8 Follow Google guidelines on you can improve your ranking – http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

    These are just few things you can do get more publicity for your service/products and websites. Most of these things can be done for free. If you don’t have time, you can outsource most of these services to small companies for a very small fee.

    Thanks

    Sarah
    http://www.PRNewsExpress.com

  • This is a very great article. But I disagree with you on a lot of points. The rules have changed and I do not see power in the hand of journalists as it used to be.

    Take for instance, the news about Van Jones, the mainstream media did not break the story. It all started from blogosphere. Bloggers broke the story and it ends up on Fox news.

    The questionyou should be asking is: How many PR get submitted via these newswires get results? By results, I am asking is there any performance metrics out there? Take for instance, 1000 businesses submit PR to PRNewswire, do all these PRs get picked up by journalists? How many of these PRs get submitted/picked by Google News/Yahoo News (2 news aggregator leaders)? How many times do potential customers view these PRs via Google News/Yahoo News?

    Here is what I am trying to say. Google/Yahoo will not feature PR News on their home page unless it is newsworthy in the first place. The other way for these PR news to be seen by people is only when potential customers perform a search on something of interest.

    With that said, when a potential customer goes to Google and perform a basic search. The customers does not care where the results come from. He scans through the SERP and picks what interest him.

    So here is the point I am trying to make. The Internet has changed the rules of the game, especially for the little guys. With SEO, Social Media, Twitter and blogosphere, the power is no longer in the hand of the privilege fews.

    The best way to get noticed for smaller companies with no millions of dollars in advertising budget is to leverage the power of the Internet. Below are some of the things you a small business with little PR budget can do to improve its online visibility:

    #1 SEO (get a lot of backlinks/inbound links, web page titles with quality keywords related to your service and products, vanity URLs and many more). Long tail keywords are also great. Short tail keywords are expensive
    #2 Twitter – Leverage twitters and get as many followers as you can.
    #3 Social Media – Create FaceBook page, LinkedIn and many more
    #4 Viral ideas – Leverage the power of YouTube (remember the wedding dance video, Will Blend anything etc.)
    #5 Create Feedback contests for your service/products – you get more traffic and more opt-in emails for a small budget.
    #6 Contribute to blogs and forums – Don’t spam.
    #7 For local business owners, use Google Local Business center, Yelp reviews, Yahoo Local Business, Post your business profile on credible websites like DMOZ, BOTW, LocalBusinessUSA.com and many more.
    #8 Follow Google guidelines on you can improve your ranking – http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

    These are just few things you can do get more publicity for your service/products and websites. Most of these things can be done for free. If you don’t have time, you can outsource most of these services to small companies for a very small fee.

    Thanks

    Sarah
    http://www.PRNewsExpress.com

  • I just found your web site for the first time and I think it is marvelous — an extremely valuable, well written and well thoughout presentation. Your list is a very good tool also and the comments very enlightening. I learned a lot. I just added you to my favorites and will be back.

  • I just found your web site for the first time and I think it is marvelous — an extremely valuable, well written and well thoughout presentation. Your list is a very good tool also and the comments very enlightening. I learned a lot. I just added you to my favorites and will be back.

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks for you kind words and feedback. You’ll be seeing more regular posts from me in the coming months. Welcome aboard!

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Thanks for you kind words and feedback. You’ll be seeing more regular posts from me in the coming months. Welcome aboard!

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your in depth reply. Your suggestions are valid and I agree with them. And I don’t really think we are in disagreement on several of the points. The purpose of this particular article was to highlight that free is often not free when it comes to press release sites. I’ve had many case studies where individuals have gotten great response from media and customers alike using online press releases.

    I also do a considerable amount of testing of different newswires. Most of my tests have shown better results from paid newswires compared to free ones. And I’m not talking about expensive newswires either. I’m not saying you can’t get results using free press release sites. It just takes more effort and more sites to submit to, that’s all.

    Do you have any case studies you’d like to share from PRNewsExpress.com? I’d love to hear them.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your in depth reply. Your suggestions are valid and I agree with them. And I don’t really think we are in disagreement on several of the points. The purpose of this particular article was to highlight that free is often not free when it comes to press release sites. I’ve had many case studies where individuals have gotten great response from media and customers alike using online press releases.

    I also do a considerable amount of testing of different newswires. Most of my tests have shown better results from paid newswires compared to free ones. And I’m not talking about expensive newswires either. I’m not saying you can’t get results using free press release sites. It just takes more effort and more sites to submit to, that’s all.

    Do you have any case studies you’d like to share from PRNewsExpress.com? I’d love to hear them.

    ~ Marc

  • Hi Marc, I really found value in much of this blogpost. Just wondering if money was exchanged on your interchange with PitchEngine.com? Seems the number of repetitions of their name, and absense of any other newswires weighing in over this span of time makes your post, in the end, feel … (and this maybe just for me)… promotional.

    And I’m not talking about promotional as in yourself (it’s your blog, you can sell [yourself] if you want to!) as much as it feels promotional for PitchEngine.com – see you’ve even got me doing it. That’s two more for the team!

    Not sayin’ – Just askin’ as I’m currently trying to figure out just how far down the rabbit hole PR is going with expert-professional blogs -Best, A

  • Hi Marc, I really found value in much of this blogpost. Just wondering if money was exchanged on your interchange with PitchEngine.com? Seems the number of repetitions of their name, and absense of any other newswires weighing in over this span of time makes your post, in the end, feel … (and this maybe just for me)… promotional.

    And I’m not talking about promotional as in yourself (it’s your blog, you can sell [yourself] if you want to!) as much as it feels promotional for PitchEngine.com – see you’ve even got me doing it. That’s two more for the team!

    Not sayin’ – Just askin’ as I’m currently trying to figure out just how far down the rabbit hole PR is going with expert-professional blogs -Best, A

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for your comment and sorry for my belated reply. And to be 100% transparent, zero money exchanged hands
    between me and PitchEngine. I like them because they have the social media side of things figured out. Perhaps in
    my enthusiasm for them, I went overboard.

    I do pride myself as both a professional and a blogger/journalist, so I like to maintain my objectivity. While I do have
    recommendations, I am not owner or paid by any of those press release sites.

    Thanks for letting me know how this landed for you. And I’ll take your comments to heart in future posts.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for your comment and sorry for my belated reply. And to be 100% transparent, zero money exchanged hands
    between me and PitchEngine. I like them because they have the social media side of things figured out. Perhaps in
    my enthusiasm for them, I went overboard.

    I do pride myself as both a professional and a blogger/journalist, so I like to maintain my objectivity. While I do have
    recommendations, I am not owner or paid by any of those press release sites.

    Thanks for letting me know how this landed for you. And I’ll take your comments to heart in future posts.

    ~ Marc

  • Pingback: press release distribution - StartTags.com()

  • Excellent discussion! Hope I'm not too late to post a few quick questions relating to this. Has anyone heard of or used PRBuzz.com? They are currently offering unlimited PR distribution for a flat fee of $299 a year, I believe.

    Also, if we decide to outsource distribution, how would we go about finding a company to do this? E.g. if wanted to have sent on PRNewswire or similar? Expected cost?

    And finally, how can we find out which of these freebie and low cost distribution sites have been around the longest?

    Feel free to follow me @RealtorPR.

  • TC,

    Never to late because the dialog is always evolving. I have heard of PRBuzz.com but do not have actual experience in using them. I did some checking and it appears that a release sent via PRBuzz is distributed via MMD Newswire. That site can be found here: http://www.massmediadistribution.com which does charge $199 per release, so it looks like you're getting good value with the all in one pricing via PRBuzz.

    The main deciding factor for me is how do those releases rank in the search engines for your keyword phrases? Will your release appear on other authority sites? Those are some of the results I look for.

    In terms of distribution, my company does handle that: http://www.maintopicmedia.com and you can issue a request via my help desk: http://www.maintopicmedia.com/support If we're not the right fit, I'm happy to point you in the direction of some other resources as well.

    In terms of the free sites staying power, an easy way is to do a domain search and look when the domain was reserved. I've created a database of 175+ press release sites that's part of a system called Online PR Made Easy which I sell here: http://www.onlineprmadeeasy.com

    Hope that gives you some more insight on the release distribution game.

    ~ Marc

  • thanks for sharing the free press release site strategies

  • thanks for sharing the free press release site strategies

  • Pingback: 17 Impact Factors of Online Press Release Performance()

  • Marc

    I am glad you brought it up. I believe we must choose paid press release version first then submit to free ones.. I think free ones are good b ut I agree they cost money for upgrades but also time we create them and then if they do not stay in google for long time then BOOM, nothing happens..
    I appreciate such a great explanation.

    Tatyana Gann

  • mstardom

    I beg to differ, somewhat. Your argument is well-taken. Granted that free press release does cost money, there are advantages in using free over paid, especially for beginners. If one is new to the online PR seen, he/she should start off with the free option first, then evaluate results. If results are where one wants to be, then one should continue using the free method. On the other hand, if one can afford to pay the fees for paid press release, one should go right a head and do it. Therefore, the preference between free and paid is up to the individual. After looking at the Search Engine Visibility chart above, one can see that the difference between free and paid press release sites is a little more than two-fold, for the most part, except for PRnewswire, 18k. So, a part from not being listed in Yahoo, it is still a great idea to go the free press release route. There is no guarantee that one will convert visitors into customers after paying for a press release. Therefore, it is a good idea to conduct extensive research before throwing money down the tubes. If money is spent on advertising, a substantial return should be realized immediately or soon after.

    I can vouch for PRlog; the site does send traffic and listings in Google news…that is not bad for a free site. Furthermore, the site provides embedded codes for each press release, which includes PDF file-download capabilities. Here is an example of that http://www.myspacestardom.com/pressroom

  • Local Look for engine is anything which has usually been overlooked and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is mainly because fewer local corporations are conscious of Seo in general or perhaps it is simply because the only companies supplying serp charge a similar rates as “national seo” which entails optimizing for big areas instead of focusing on local markets which could mean the world for your business enterprise.

  • Deb Wier | Get On Google Maps

    I just found your blog and I really enjoyed this post. I have never considered using a paid PR service but I will now!

  • Hi Deb,

    I do think free sites have a place but there is a time component involved and time is money in so many cases.

  • Anonymous

    From PR.com’s free service, I constantly get feedback that my press release isn’t about “my company” enough.

    Is it not supposed to be that you release something newsworthy, THEN introduce your company? My release got declined for this headline – “New Service Aims to Bridge Last Entrepreneurial Gap for Women” – because it didn’t contain my company name.

    How many professionally written press releases (especially those taken seriously by the media) have you seen include the company name in the headline? Unless you’re a big-name brand, it is of a strong disadvantage to make your press release look like you’re doing nothing but tooting your own horn right in the headline.

    I’d avoid most free PR distribution sites simply because most of them apparently base their editorial services on sheer ignorance.

  • I’m having trouble getting my asbestos websites news approved by some of the press release sites.
    Its just that i don’t think we have anything newsworthy to talk about.

    What do you guys think should another medium of SEO would be more appropriate?

  • PRFree.Org

    You can submit press release absolutely free. Visit http://www.prfree.org/ now to submit your
    press release free of cost.

  • Your blog is so meaningful and teaches us many things. I was not knowing about the press release sites but now with the help of your blog i come to know about its importance. Thank you so much Marc Harty !

  • I was till now not aware with the Press Release Sites but by your blog I am now all aware with it.

  • Glad to help!

  • Pingback: Your Questions About Free Blog Sites Google | Blog With WS-Blogs()

  • Hi I am considering using PR web they have quoted 1500 for 24 releases over a 12 month period or 110 for each single distribution. A key reason I am doing this is because of SEO benefits any one have any thoughts on this?

  • First, thanks for your comment. Second, I assume they are giving you a discount on their $200 package? If so, that’s a good deal. There are other sites that do a good job as well like PRLeap.com. With their $89 package you can also embed a video.

    One advantage of using just one provider is each press release can be a traffic booster for past releases. (There is a section on the press release page where there are links to “other releases from this company”

    One thing I’d check is how PRweb does for your industry or your target audience.

    Let me know what you find out!

    ~Marc

  • Which package was that quote on?  And, any idea what their package rates are like for each package?  I am just curious I have also been considering them for releases.

  • The pro’s and con’s here are very informative.  I have been leaning both ways in trying to make a decision of what’s the best path to take.  I run an internet based radio station and since I need national coverage I’ve been trying to figure what’s best.

  • JT Sweeney

    We at York Solutions are having a similar conflict. We are at the point where paid newswires may be worth the cost, but aren’t totally sold. This article definitely gives some compelling reasons for it though.

  • Great post about press release submission. Press releases are an imperative tool for small, medium and large scale businesses to make a brand in online market.

  • EliteAcademy in

    thanks admin for your kind interest with us . press releasing is also very interesting and useful activities for seo .

  • Brian Barrett

    I have been using PRWeb now for about a year and a half and find that it has done good things for my SERPs. However, I also find that I run our of content for two releases a month…

  • summer li

    Pressnews.biz is a property of Pressventures, a provider of free tools and websites to media professionals around the world. All submissions are free and news releases remain in the searchable archives indefinitely. In addition to its free news distribution services, Gold subscription and paid-for upgrades,Pressnews.biz also offers professional solutions for PR and IR executives.

  • summer li
  • “No feedback please?” What’s that about?

    This article describes in detail benefits that paid news release providers have over free ones – and that is accurate, they offer many. However, it completely fails to provide any justification for the claim made in the headline that free services somehow “hurt” people who use them.

    Shouldn’t you also disclose that you do webinars for Vocus?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0c9XFGkI7M

  • Neeru

    Hi

    Does anyone have an idea about http://www.abnewswire.com though? . There targeted media distribution is very reasonable even the web , but I am not sure if it’s any good. I would appreciate your feedback.

    Thanks.

  • mebazshowroom

    good info!!press releasing is also very interesting and useful activities for seo .

  • Anthony Kirlew

    Marc, I appreciate the chart you put together showing the different results you saw from the various services. We know “you get what you pay for” but it’s nice to see that comparison.

    I am curious to know if you have ever used – or looked at – Send2Press?

  • Anthony Kirlew

    I guess I should also ask if you have updated the data seeing that it is a bit dated?

  • Shaify

    Nice post.

    I have created a new social sharing website, i want to promote it but i did have much budget to put on it. So please suggest me how i can spread the website with the people. Please also suggest me the PR websites which are good and free to use.

    My Website URL is : http://www.itoall.com

  • It has been my experience that press releases are very effective. Free press release sites that distribute cheesy press releases are a waste of time. The latest Google update squashed all these free press release sites’ capability and worth.

    PR Newswire and other sites are still a good investment because the stories are picked up and disseminated as real news because the content submitted generally are legitimate.

    Now let’s talk about my kind of free news releases. Well written, thoughtful, insightful, informative, witty, unique stories and content should be sent directly to editors of industry specific sites and journals. They generally get picked up and shared.

    For more information or to contact my SEO Company at http://www.krankensigns.com/websites-seo.html/

  • Chris

    Be careful with hyperlink services. I got duped by PR.COM

    I paid the extra fees for wider distribution and hyperlinks. (not included otherwise) BUT: PR.COM sends the release out with all links being nofollow! That makes it utterly worthless in terms of SEO. PR.COM strongly suggests using the extra service – paid hyperlinks – for SEO and never makes it clear they will do the links as nofollow.

    I received no response when contacting them about it.

    Would not do again.

  • Which service do you think would be best to reach the luxury market? I recently purchased an ecommerce high end accessory line and we that are launching our new website.

  • Nice post. I will really appreciate it the way you provide the information. Thanks for sharing information about Press Release Sites. I was looking for it.

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