Effective Free Press Release Distribution in 5 Easy Steps
Here 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:
- Do I really need to pay a site like PRweb to distribute my press release for me?
- Can I distribute my press release by myself?
- Do you have a list of all of the free press release distribution sites out there?
So here are my official responses:
- No, you don’t.
- Yes, you can.
- 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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.