Social media is to marketing as press release distribution is to PR. Public relations plays a significant role in marketing, as I’ve previously discussed in my PR marketing article on Vocus. Now the goal is getting your news-worthy press releases out there.

There are some great sites that can help you get there. Here’s my assessment of what’s worth your time and what’s not…

Paid Press Release Distribution Sites

Business Wire – Their press release distribution service is based on recognizing your need to start a conversation. Business Wire’s service gets your story to print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters, editors, consumers, financial and news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers and social media networks. What stands out is that they also have local area expertise. This matters because a lot of times you’ll need to get the attention of niche areas rather than the routine urban sprawl.

With their U.S. National Circuit, Business Wire’s press release distribution site gets you connected to a thousand daily newspapers, plus radio, TV and the internet. You can also customize your reach based on a region or industry. The service has their own list of 200 industries, with specialized set ups in top areas including trade shows, public policy, entertainment, health, etc. Alternately, there’s also an international network to choose from.

And all this isn’t in vain. The service lets you track results and measure your success.

I recommend starting out with their free white paper on the top tips for press releases. Whether you’re doing it yourself or paying for an elite service, you need to know what you’re getting into.

PRWeb – A division of Vocus, PRWeb’s really come a long way. A few years ago it was being used by a lot of well-to-do small businesses and it was set up a lot like the more data-heavy free press release sites. Since then they’ve changed their site to make it more user-friendly – it’s easier to get the data you need – and by offering freebie white papers and great free content.

Their goal is to help you drive traffic that converts to sales, build a name for your company/yourself, save money as compared to Business Wire and help you do it yourself so you’re in control of your PR.

PRWeb’s system is similar to Business Wire in the sense that you write the release, they distribute it and then you can track the results. The difference is target releases. Whereas Business Wire lets you target by industry, PRWeb seems to make more blanket releases that can get your news lost in the pile. But their prices are a lot more friendly. You can create a single release for as little as $80 – which isn’t much considering how many man hours you’d be putting into gathering the contacts for their +30K journalists (not to mention the over 250K subscribers you couldn’t reach).

Best Free Press Release Distribution Sites

They say you get what you pay for, and that’s certainly true for free press release distribution sites. Some of them are half decent and will get the job done if you’re on a really tight budget. The ones worth your time include:

  • – A free ad-supported distribution site.
  • – You can get free distribution here, but of course the paid releases get better placement and permanent archiving. Note that permanent archiving doesn’t really make a difference since people don’t really dig up such select information on a free press release site. The point of a press release is that the information comes to you.

And remember, ANY press release you’re sending out should also be submitted in your email newsletter campaigns and on your social media networks via a link to a landing page.