I’m no PR expert, but I recently got to experiment with three different ways to distribute a press release and thought it’d be interesting to share the results and my experience with each.
Before I do that — let’s be real. Your press release isn’t going to get you a feature in the Times unless it’s profoundly interesting and you’ve got some media connections. But, if you’re clever, you might get some nice exposure and build a decent backlink footprint.
This small shop does online-only releases for marketers on a budget. For $99, they’ll distribute your release to a healthy handful of sources and track the results in one place. I also found the customer support speedy and helpful, and Merrick Lozano, one of the founders, replied to me personally, adding a nice “mom ‘n pop shop” touch.
The downside was that all links in the release were designated “no-follow” by the sites that picked up the release, rendering the press release minimally valuable from an SEO perspective.
These guys are a bit more established, and it feels that way. I was assigned a sales rep right away and was promptly upsold to their $200 distribution package, as the lower-end packages didn’t include embedded links, which incontrovertibly kills any SEO value the press release might have for my client.
The release received slightly more pickup than what I saw through PRLeap, though the sites that ran the release weren’t particularly exciting. One exception was SFGate, which kept the embedded links and graciously did not add “rel=nofollow,” thus keeping SEO juice intact.
One thing that surprised me about PRWeb was the utter lack of reporting tools for online-only releases at the time of writing. When I asked my PRWeb rep how best to report on where my press release was picked up, he suggested a Google search.
This is a real-deal newswire distribution service. To be fair, the press release I submitted via PR Newswire cost north of $700 before targeting add-ons (i.e. targeted lists of journalists), and it went out over the live newswire to press rooms around the country, while I tested out the other services for online-only releases, so my comparison isn’t intended to be an apples-to-apples look at which distribution tool is the best value.
PR Newswire vets its users heavily. I had to submit various documents and prove I have a real company to gain approval for their service, but once I was aboard, I was assigned a sales rep and an account manager, both of whom were helpful and reasonably quick to respond to my inquiries.
My client’s press release was picked up on over 230 websites. With 4 links to their site in the press release, you can do the math — that’s a pretty solid linkbuilding effort!
A few press release distribution tips
To wrap up, I’ll share a few best practices for press release distribution.
1) Timing matters. The best days to send are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Earlier is better than later, but stay away from the open and close of the market, 9:30 am and 4:30 pm Eastern. Off times can help (10:08 am instead of 10:00 am).
2) Not too many links. It’s best to have 1 link for every 100 words of your release, roughly. Too many links can come off as spammy.
3) Pay attention to anchor text. For SEO value, work in links to your site using text that describes what you do. If you’re Venturebeat, don’t link the word “Venturebeat.com” in your press release — find a way to make tech news or innovation news part of the link.