Press releases are a way of getting your news out to a wide and varied audience all over the world. In the past this has been achieved through publications such as magazines and newspapers, but due to the wonder that is “the internet”, you can now distribute your press releases through digital means with just a few button clicks. Press releases aren’t just for big corporations, they can be for small businesses or even individuals who want to draw attention to their news. You might be launching your own soap product, or want to tell people about your friend’s book that’s just been published. Whatever news you want to distribute, there are plenty of websites which offer a range of services to help you do so.
This guide will direct you through the key areas that you ought to consider if you’re thinking of distributing a press release on the internet, so read it carefully and take a look at our reviews to help you decide which site might be the best one for you...
How much media exposure do you want? This isn’t a trick question. Whilst it might be in your interests to send your press release out to as many people as is possible, this isn’t always the case. Some sites offer a more refined system which lets you choose specific categories/genres to focus on. If you’re interested in telling the world about a new skin care product then there’s not a great deal of point in distributing your press release to people who are interested in automotives, is there?
Though many of the sites discussed here will exclusively distribute a press release online, some do offer services which will send your press release to newspapers and magazines. If this is something you think would work better for your particular need, then you may want to focus more on the sites which deal with offline sources. Also, consider the recipient and the likelihood they will read your press release. Some people receive hundreds of press releases every day so you may want to choose a service which contacts journalists who have “opted in” to receive press releases on a specific topic. They are much more likely to read and distribute them if they don’t have to wade through 500 before they reach yours.
Quality of the press releases available
The very basic sites will offer a text-only release. One level up from that you may be able to include a small picture or logo, potentially a link to a webpage. The “best” sites will allow you to fully customise your press release with multimedia options such as videos and slideshows. You might want to change fonts or colour schemes to reflect your brand, or potentially borrow templates to help you create a professional appearance.
Take a look at the pre-existing press releases on the site and the sorts of extras that they allow you to include. Some provide a “share” feature which means that anyone who reads it is able to click “share” and have it appear on their social network sites (such as Twitter or Facebook) without much hassle. Making a press release that is easy to scan-read is often important, as is producing one which is easy to share. Journalists and bloggers don’t necessarily have a lot of time to read every word, so highlighting and using pictures is a good way to get your message across as succinctly and interestingly as possible.
What else does the site offer? Some will provide editorial services, or even write your release for you if you want them to. Are there any tracking and monitoring devices in place? This can allow you to see who has been reading your press releases or to keep an eye on how it has been received by the public on social networking sites. You can get feedback from professionals or even request reports which show you precisely where your press release appeared, with a list of links. This can be important if you want to make sure the site has been doing its job and getting your press release distributed, but it also allows you to monitor whether or not you’ve been targeting the right people.
Ease of use / registration
You may be surprised at how much text there is on press release web sites. Many of them are almost exclusively text, which can make them both boring and difficult to navigate. Some sites offer videos or written guides on how best to use and navigate them. Before you commit to a site you may also want to check the sort of information they require from you. Some sites request a lot of personal or business details which you may not want to disclose, others even demand the information before they will allow you to see their price lists!
Generally speaking, the ‘free’ press release sites are more laid back about the information you give when registering, but this is because they are distributing huge numbers of free releases and don’t tend to target an audience. Paid sites will sometimes want your information so that they can be assured you are “real” and serious about your press release so that they can offer you a better quality of service.
Value for money
You might expect that any site which offers a free press release service would automatically get top scores for this, but it isn’t always the case. Often sites will offer a free service and a paid service. So why would anyone pay? Well the free press releases tend to be free because they include third party advertising, or they also advertise other press releases on yours.
This might not be an issue for many people but if you want to send out a clear, professional message then advertising can be a hindrance. “Value for money” therefore refers to the quality of the service you receive relative to the price being charged. Some services are much more expensive than others, but they’re worth it. Others are cheap but really don’t offer much in the way of a decent service. Think carefully before putting in your credit card details.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of sites to choose from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Take a read of our reviews, they’re bound to help. Good luck!