Effective Free Press Release Distribution in 5 Easy Steps

16
Jul
2007

Dice Five - Credit: Brian RobertsHere are a few very common questions I receive from webmasters and online entrepreneurs who are interested in using press releases to promote their sites or companies:

  1. Do I really need to pay a site like PRweb to distribute my press release for me?
  2. Can I distribute my press release by myself?
  3. Do you have a list of all of the free press release distribution sites out there?

So here are my official responses:

  1. No, you don’t.
  2. Yes, you can.
  3. Not at the moment (and if your time is valuable to you, you won’t submit to hoards of free press release sites anyway, because it’s a stupid and worthless thing to do). But since I know it will make people stop nagging and asking me constantly, I do plan to publish a list of free press release distribution sites here later this week as a matter of fact.

It’s not impossible (or even hard) to distribute your press release on your own, especially if you’re trying to save money. In light of that fact, I’ve put together a list of 5 easy steps you can follow for more effective free press release distribution:

  1. Choose one or two free press release distribution sites (any more than 3-5 is just a waste of your time, assuming it’s worth anything). Choose based on which ones will get the release added to news engines. Just because some bigger distribution sites (who will remain nameless) charge an arm and a leg for this service, not all do. For example, PR.com’s free option will pretty much always get your release picked up in Google News (I’ve never had it fail yet). Now you’re available via search… yippie!
  2. Send it to the Associated Press. It never hurts to try, and if they deem your release newsworthy enough to pick up, you just might get some decent “real” media coverage out of it. Just email or fax the release to the appropriate editor, writer, or regional bureau depending on your location and news.
  3. Send it to your local newspaper or other media with a local spin on it. It won’t take more than a few minutes for you to add a local spin to the intro and / or headline of the press release. Send it to the most relevant journalist or editor at your local paper. Smaller papers especially eat that stuff up when a local is doing anything remotely newsworthy. Try to build a relationship with the editor or writer whenever possible while you’re at it.
  4. Send it directly to niche or industry outlets. If you know of the top blogs, magazines, or websites in your niche, see if they have press release submission guidelines, and submit it directly to them. Don’t just assume they’ll find you through Google news or a press release distribution site. Work on the bigger ones first, and submit to as many as you have time for. If you get bigger pickups, they’ll often lead to smaller niche blogs and such copycatting the story anyway. Again, try to build relationships if you can.
  5. Add your press releases to your own website or blog. Why is this so often ignored or neglected? Some clients complain when I suggest it, saying “well, I don’t want duplicate content on my site.” Well, if you give a damn about promoting your site, get the f*ing releases up there and quit whining about duplicate content! Who the hell cares about duplicate content? Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the purpose of a press release was to bring exposure. It can’t do that if you sit on it. On top of putting the news out to your regular readers, customers, or visitors, it also allows you to archive your releases for journalists who visit the site wanting to learn more about your company or site history. If you don’t have a press room or at least a press release archive, ADD ONE!!! And when it’s on your site, you can take that opportunity to add all the little social media tools and gizmos that your heart desires, add commenting (especially if it’s on a blog), or frankly do whatever gets you off in the moment. Add it to del.icio.us. Digg it. Do whatever the hell you want with it. Just publish the thing, and be done with it already! Why people refuse to grasp this concept is just beyond me. It’s easy… promise.

So there you go. There’s no need to use PRweb, other sites, or hell, even me, to distribute your press release for you. If you’re feeling independently-inclined, give it a go, and get that release out there. You’d be surprised at how effective a little direct involvement can be in press release distribution and media relations as a whole.


34 Comments

  • Scott says:

    Bookmark this link. A must read and must know.
    Awesome info!

  • Sarah says:

    Great info! Thanks so much. I’m getting ready to do my first PR and wasn’t really sure exactly where he was sending them to. I mean if he was doing it manually to all the places or what. Going to dive into this a bit more.

  • Dave says:

    Bookmarked the article and intend to come back and re-read it a few times! Thanks for the help.

  • Jenn says:

    I’m glad to see the post is going over well. :) This is just common sense stuff, but things that a lot of site owners don’t seem to get no matter how much I try to drill it into their heads (saying “site owners” because they’re my primary market for my PR work). So I’m glad that the tips make sense and that you’re finding them useful. :)

  • Tsarina says:

    Hi, how can I hire you to write press release for us?

  • Jenn says:

    You can find the details in the services section of my business site. :) My email address should be on that site’s contact page, so you can contact me that way with any questions.

  • Wow, excellent post Jenn. I was going to write a similar article after doing a lot of research on which services are the best for a press release for one of my new sites. I guess you summed it all up, but my two cents would be “If it’s not press worthy, a paid press release isn’t going to help any”.

    Adding your blog to my favorites.

  • Jenn says:

    Agreed completely Dave… unfortunately that won’t stop people from writing crappy releases, paying sites like PRweb a small fortune to distribute them, getting no results, and then bitching about how press releases are worthless afterwords. :D

  • Jack Payne says:

    Cheers!

    I always say the same thing: Nobody cares if you can’t dance; just get up and dance.

    All of my news releases automatiacally go up on my blog right along with the general release. I put out 2 press releases a month.

  • Si says:

    Saw this post on the DP forums. Makes a lot of sense – thanks very much for the advice :)

  • Missdomian says:

    I will study these rules by heart..

    See the application

  • I’m glad to have stopped by. I just
    finished reading your “Press Release Made
    Easy” ebook. Excellent work.

  • Manish Jain says:

    Truly!!! a much awaited guidance thanks.

  • Heather says:

    Thanks so much. I’ve been submitting to at least 10 PR sites (yes, and paying prweb too) each month. Now I am going to go back and take a look at the free PR sites that you listed and choose the best 2-3. Great advice and I like how direct you are!

  • Enrique says:

    Thank you very much for this information. I’m a new blogger, and I’m basically still trying to find ways to publicize my blog. The advise I get from people and from the ebooks I’ve read so far, is to submit to a list of 20-30 PR sites or pay someone to do it. The information you give here is invaluable to me. Makes a lot more sense submitting it to a fewer sites that really work! And the use of social media like Digg to further distribute the press release, this is awesome. Thank you so much.

  • john wesley says:

    This Helped me out Big Time ..I am new at doing press releases…Thank YOU

  • Todd Langer says:

    One thing to consider is submitting to a lot of sites help with search engine marketing. For example, my research shows that a lot of the smaller outfits have niche directories with only a few press releases. So, you can have your release on a page with a PR of 4/5 and this is a quality one-way backlink. Again, it might not help with the actual press release, but it’ll help establish your website.

    p.s. I’ll be doing a press release sometime this week and will update my progress on this blog posting. I imagine it’ll take Google about a week, or so, to pick up any quality backlinks.

    Todd
    http://www.balance2posture.com

  • Todd Langer says:

    Yep. Jennifer is right on. I spent the afternoon going to ALL of the free pr shops on her lists and others too. A lot of them charge now! Most of them seemed less than stellar. A few points, you’ll find a lot of different URL’s go to the same company. Also, a lot of sites try to charge for “upgrades” that are free elsewhere.

    Oh yeah, the best of the freebies seemed to be http://www.pr.com and http://www.prlog.com. If you want to save hours of legwork I’d recommend them. If you’re stubborn like me, there are about 50 + sites to review.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Jennifer,

    Thanks for the tips. I’m just about to do my first press release for my MLM Recruiting Ebook, and you just saved me from wasting several hours of useless submissions.

    Bless You.

  • PR-rep says:

    Excellent advice.

    Bookmark this page—or better yet, post a link to this page.

  • Excellent article! Because of it I put a local spin on the announcement of our free fantasy serial’s publication – and I also put it on our website. Why didn’t I think of that before?

    Thanks for the info!

  • Randy Hill says:

    Thanks so much for the generous tips. Very much appreciated.

  • Reva says:

    huzzah! Thanks so much, this is so helpful for a scrappy non-profit like us.

  • Reva says:

    Hi again. I just tried using PR.com for one of our releases and they rejected it because it didn’t fit their criteria of being news about our company. The problem is that we are a non-profit advocacy organization that distributes releases when there is a development on one of the issues we work on — like nuclear weapons, for instance. This is pretty standard practice for a group like ours. This latest release was about an ad campaign we launched targeted at the presidential candidates. Any thoughts on what kinds of free services might work for us? We rarely have releases that fit PR.com’s criteria.

  • Michelle Tee says:

    Thanks so much.. now I do not have to spend a fortune promoting my ebook.. and I will add my release to my site.. and my blog.

    Thanks again. :)

  • thebigswitch says:

    Thanks for the advice! We’ve just started submitting our latest press release, and I appreciate the advice and list of PR sites.

  • dave says:

    I appreciate your doing vital tips for all of social bookmarkers ,writers and SEO consultants. More tips and directions are matters of great pride. More power Jennifer!

  • Steven says:

    Okay. I’ll do it. Not because it’s a good idea (I pass those up all the time) but because of your attitude.

    I like it. It’s as bitchy as mine.

  • Always aim to please Steven. ;)


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