Publishing your press releases online can provide valuable inbound links, drive traffic and increase your chance of being found by the search engines.
It can also be a complete waste of time.
We have experimented using many of the services and other ways of getting press coverage and this is what we have learned:
- Make sure you have something that is newsworthy to say. Keep it under one page long. Never use a press release as a blatant promotion for your products or services. For important news get the copy written by an expert (try elance.com). Remember to put your contact details at the end of each press release
- Concentrate on the headline. Journalists scan hundreds of headlines a minute. It is your only chance to grab their attention. Next, summarize the whole story in the first paragraph
- If your press release is truly newsworthy, send it directly to newspaper and magazine editors by email. Paste the story into the body of the email; don’t have it as an attachment. Make sure the story is very relevant to what they cover and follow up with a phone call. Your long-term goal should be to build a relationship with the key journalists in your sector
- Add your press releases to your own website or blog. Then email the relevant bloggers in your niche to draw their attention to your press release. Make the approach personal. Never undertake mass distribution. (NB. Never put a press release on your site as a pdf. Most people won’t bother waiting for the file to open)
- For important press releases use one of the paid PR distribution services. The ones that I have used are PRNewswire.com, BusinessWire.com, PRWeb.com and PRLeap.com.
- For minor, regular press releases distribute via one or two free reputable press release services. The three that we have found work for us are prlog.org , pr.com and pressrelease365.com . Experiment to see which ones works for you.
Using Press Release Websites
There are dozens of press release websites. Most have a free service with a premium upgrade. There are a handful of paid PR services which are head and shoulders above the rest. Our list is shown below, but before you look at it there are a few guidelines you should take into account.
Only use PR sites that:
- have a Google Pagerank of 4 or above. Sites with no Pagerank will give you no benefit or may even have a negative impact because they may have been blacklisted for spamming. You can check the pagerank at www.popuri.us
- are built to allow you to optimize your articles for the search engines using tagging, anchor text links, header tags, etc. If you don’t know what these are, look on the PR website for a statement about articles being optimized for search engines (SEO)
- don’t use NoFollow tags. For those who haven’t heard about Nofollow tags, they are inserted into website code to stop the search engine spiders following the links. If the spiders can’t follow the links in your press release, you get no benefit from having it on the PR website
Below I have listed the free sites that we have looked at. Many of these free sites also offer paid plans with extra features. I have then listed the handful of pay sites which I think are worth paying for.
The free press release sites below are listed in order of pagerank. Most of them have a free basic service and a paid upgrade. We have found that a high pagerank PR site doesn’t necessarily result in more traffic, but the higher the pagerank the more valuable the inbound links.
The paid press release sites below are in our preferred order. You should look at all of them to see which one best meets your needs.
Free Press Release Services
- Free-Press-Release.com – Pagerank 5/ Alexa 3,547 – Not a great looking site, but it has high traffic and a good Alexa ranking. Also, you can place your banners on the press release submitted, pointing to your site. Only the paid service has better ranking and SEO benefits. Easy press release distribution for free, more features for paid accounts.
- PRLog.org – Pagerank 5 / Alexa 16,551 – Ordinary and functional looking website, but it delivers results. Free distribution to Google News and other search engines. Allows inbound links and is optimized well for the search engines. Press releases can be scheduled.
- PR.com – Pagerank 5 / Alexa 27,482 – Fantastic domain name, disappointing website. Free basic service. Two paid options of $199 and $499. Paid options include a full company profile.
- OpenPR.com – Pagerank 5 / Alexa 42,088 – Service based in Germany started in 2004. Free submission and distribution.
- 1888PressRelease.com – Pagerank 5/ Alexa 58,760 – Good pagerank and reasonable traffic. They allow active links. Their paid services gives you better placement, image galleries and permanent archiving.
- NewswireToday.com – Pagerank 5 / Alexa 51,449 – Very poorly designed site which is difficult to read and navigate. All the usual free distribution tools, premium service includes logo, product picture and more.
- PR-Inside.com – Pagerank 4 / Alexa 17,995 – The main reason for including this service is it is one of the few PR distribution sites focused on Europe
- 24-7PressRelease.com – Pagerank 4 / Alexa 46,460 – Free press release submission with limited distribution for the free service. They allow active links. (Upgrade package $49).
- TheOpenPress.com – Pagerank 4 / Alexa 64,691 – Gives free distribution for plain formatted releases. Charges for HTML-coded releases.
- Free-Press-Release-Center.info – Pagerank 3 / Alexa 56,516 – Nice, clean looking site. Pagerank likely to increase with current traffic levels. Enables PR submission and distribution. Includes one link with anchor text embedded in the article. Upgrading to Pro will give you three links, permanent archiving and more.
Don’t Bother With These Sites Unless You Have Lots of Spare Time!
- PRbuzz.com – Pagerank 3 / Alexa 212,213
- PRCompass.com – Pagerank 3 / Alexa 75,237 – Distribute your press release with a free or paid version. Has Digg style voting
- PRUrgent.com – Pagerank 3/ Alexa 80,402 – Some useful advice about writing press releases. Good looking site. One to watch
- ClickPress.com – Pagerank 5 / Alexa 46,078 – Cluttered, ugly site. Distributes to sites like Google News and Topix.net. An upgrade to their Gold level will also get you onto sites like LexisNexis
The Paid Press Release Sites For Important News
- PRNewsWire.com – Pagerank 8 / Alexa 7,508 – For our paid releases we tend to use PRNewswire. Not a great looking site, but it is the newswire used by the largest number of journalists. The annual subscription is $195 with additional pricing for additional exposure.
- BusinessWire.com – Pagerank 8 / Alexa 16,730 – Tends to be used by bigger companies often to meet their SEC full disclosure requirements. Prices on application.
- PRWeb.com – Pagerank 8/ Alexa 9,822 – Good reputation for reaching local news sources so worth considering if you have a good story for a single region. Prices start at $80 and go up to $360 per release depending on the level of visibility you want to achieve.
- PRLeap.com – Pagerank 6 / Alexa 55,935 – I have never used this service but some of our clients report reasonable results. Nice clean site. Price per press release – $49, $99 and $149 depending on level of service. Distribution to search engines, newswires, and RSS feeds.
Getting press coverage is one of the best forms of marketing there is. An article, review or mention on a third party website, magazine or news source is much more powerful and valuable than a paid advertisement.
However, it takes time and effort to get good coverage. This article should help you get started, but your ultimate goal should be to build personal relationships with the key journalists, bloggers and influencers in your niche.