Free Press Release: How Does It Differ from Paid Services?

Press Release

A 2019 study revealed that earned media stories are the most credible to consumers. Earned media ranks ahead of native ads and traditional advertising methods.

If you want to get leading of the competition, you need to build credibility through press coverage. It’s not always easy to do, but there are some methods that make it easier.

You can use one of the dozens of free press release services to distribute the press release. There are also paid press release distribution services.

Which one is better? How can you get coverage for your business? Are paid services worth the money?

Keep reading to discover the types of press release services and how to make your press release get results for your business.

Paid vs. Free Press Release Distribution Services

A press release distribution service is an online service that posts your press releases online or sends them to media outlets via newswire services.

A newswire service sends press releases directly to media members, such as business editors and reporters. PR Newswire, Business Wire, and GlobeNewswire are among the most common newswire services.

You’ll find that there are a lot of differences between a free press release service and a paid one.

If you use a free press release service, you’ll find that you get what you pay for. There are still reasons to consider a free press release service.

Free services usually post your press release on their websites. They usually make money from ads on the website, so it’s possible that your competition’s ads get seen along with your press release.

These services don’t make much of an effort to distribute the press release. Their primary goal is to get people to their website so they can make money.   

This is an option if you want to build your online presence, don’t have a budget to do so, and want to get minor news items out to the public.

You shouldn’t expect much from these services. For instance, don’t expect to see analytics about your press release campaign.

Paid Press Release Distribution Services

What do paid press release services do? They’re the ones that distribute your press release to newswire services. The newswire services also post your press release online.

A paid press release service also lets you target your press release by location or industry. This is incredibly helpful to reach the right editors. It also saves money if you have a narrow distribution target.

You’ll get reporting about your press release, and you’ll be able to hire someone to craft the press release for you.

Since you’re paying for the service, you should expect some kind of customer service. These paid services offer a help desk if you have questions or issues. Free services don’t have this option.

Press Releases and Your Expectations

The way journalists use press releases changed over the last 10 years or so. It used to be that you had a few expensive wire services to send out press releases.

If you couldn’t afford press release distribution services, you’d have to send a fax or email to press outlets to get coverage. Not many companies did this, so journalists could pick and choose news stories.

The landscape is much more competitive, and there are fewer journalists to handle the volume of submissions. Close to half of reporters get about five pitches a day.

Many business owners expect a press release to solve all of their problems. They think that they’ll land interviews at major news outlets by sending out a single press release.

It rarely works out that way. The only time a press release garners significant coverage is if it’s a breaking news story. 

For instance, if you’re a small pharmaceutical company developing treatments for COVID-19, you’d get coverage because it’s a breaking news story.

Why is this important? It’s to set proper expectations when you send a press release.

You might not generate a lot of interest from the press, but there are still plenty of benefits of sending press releases. The good way to get coverage is to send a personalized pitch to editors and a link to your press release.

Press releases get posted online. You always add a link to your website, which sends a signal to Google that your site is trustworthy. Your site ranks higher in search results.

If a media outlet publishes the press release without an interview, you still get coverage. Even better, the coverage has your logo and branding all over it.

Steps to Make a Press Release Successful

The goal determines the strategy you’ll use to write and distribute the press release.

If you want to use a press release to boost SEO, you’ll want to make sure you include your core keywords when writing the press release. This goal impacts the type of press release distribution services you’ll use.

On the other hand, if you have a newsworthy book to promote, you’ll want to use a paid press release service to write and distribute the press release.

You can complement this strategy by sending a personalized note to editors and podcasts to pitch ideas. Include a link to the press release for more credibility.

Choose a Service

You’ll need to choose a service to distribute the press release. Whether you use free or paid press release services depends on your goals.

Once you decide between free and paid services, you’ll then have to choose a service. Be sure you don’t go with the cheapest one just because it’s the cheapest one.

Paid press release services charge based on the distribution and number of words of your press release. Check to see what the maximum word count is and the costs if your press release is longer.

Check out the industries they target. Some only work within specific industries. Others are broad, but allow to target specific areas.

Take a look at additional services. You should consider the costs of editing and writing the press release. There are additional costs to add logos, audio, and video to the press release.

Compare the reporting methods the various press distribution services use. You’ll want to track your investment and see what the ROI is.

Write a Great Press Release

The headline should tell readers what the press release is about and get them to read further.

You’ll want to follow that up with the basic information: who, what, where, when, and why. The lead sentence, which is the first sentence needs to be strong. You want to validate the reader’s decision to continue reading.

The lead sentence summarizes what the press release is about. A sentence like “Company 123 announces its next-generation product model…”

If you want to know about writing and formatting a press release, click here.

Make It Newsworthy

What’s the best way to make sure you get coverage from your press release? Make it newsworthy. Ask yourself if this is worthy of coverage or not.

A small business promoting a Senior VP to CEO isn’t newsworthy. It’s worth pitching to local business newspapers, but that’s it. You might want to consider a free press release service to get the news out there.

However, hiring a CEO with a well-known name or job history is newsworthy. An example is hiring the former CEO of a major tech company. That’s something of interest to many publishers and you can capitalize on that.

Think about your story from the editor’s perspective. They get bombarded with pitches each day, so you want to make yours stand out. Create an angle that’s relevant to their audience.

Follow Up

It’s hardly ever enough to just send an email and get coverage. If your topic isn’t time-sensitive, you’ll want to follow up with news outlets a few days later.

Only do this if you use the strategy of personal outreach with a link to your press release. You don’t want to pay twice to send the same press release through a distribution service.

Free Press Release vs. Paid Services

The press release can help your business get media coverage and boost your SEO. You should always have specific goals and expectations when you send a press release.

Should you use a free press release service? You can, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Paid services are usually better because they have a wider reach and better analytics.

No matter what you choose, always make sure that your purpose is aligned with your business goals.


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