Are Free Press Release Submission Sites Worth It?
Many small businesses utilize free press release sites to publicize their news, products and services. But how effective are these services? The answer is: It depends.
The effectiveness of a free press release depends primarily on what you are trying to accomplish. You need to first ask yourself: What is my main objective for submitting this press release. In our experience, free press release submission can be beneficial for achieving certain objectives, but not so effective for accomplishing others.
Some common publicity objectives are:
1. To obtain media coverage in a publication (whether digital or print)
2. To get a lot of traffic to the main business website
3. To be seen by relevant searchers
4. To rank highly for target keyword phrases in the search engines
5. To produce a conversion action of some sort (e.g., a signup, subscription, contacting the business, making a purchase)
6. To generate backlinks
7. To "fill your clips portfolio" for a client who has a relatively small budget
Will A Free Press Release Achieve My Goal?These aren't the only reasons why you might submit a press release, but these are a few of the more common ones. To understand the value of a free press release, you need to understand how well a particular submission service achieves one or more of the above objectives. In order to determine that, you need to know what you're getting in a particular free press release distribution service.
For example, some free press release sites are not Approved Google News Sites. This means that the press releases published to the site's newsroom do not get fed into the Google News Search Engine. As a result, your press release may not get very much visibility. Many journalists and bloggers utilize Google Alerts and receive press releases from Google News based on the keywords they are monitoring. So, if your press release doesn't get into Google News, your chances of being seen by a journalist are lower than those that do get into Google News. Therefore, if your goal is to get earned media coverage (see http://gnosisarts.com/home/PR_Dictionary), at the very least you will want to ensure that the site's pressroom is Google News Approved. You can do this by visiting Google News and typing in,
site:domain.name into the search bar (replace "domain.name" with the newsroom's actual domain name. It is also important not to put a space between the ":" and the "d" to get the most exhaustive results).
Our newsroom - Press Releases Online - is an Approved Google News Site, and all of our press releases get picked up by the Google News engine. (see http://s.gnoss.us/nshtn). Generally speaking, press releases that make it into Google News will receive greater traffic than those which don't, another reason to verify Google News inclusion.
Moreover, if traffic is your goal, you'll want to find out whether the press release site offers any social media sharing. With most free press release services, they don't share your press release to Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites. Social sharing can increase traffic to your press release, and by extension, to your website. It also increases the likelihood that other sites will link to your press release, according to recent studies. Our press release submission site, while not free, is very low-cost, and social media sharing is included in our options (see http://gnosisarts.com/home/Submit_Press_Releases).
If your goal is to be seen by people searching for your particular products or services, generally speaking free press release services won't get you there. This is because they don't usually come with an SEO option, and you need SEO in order to get your press release in front of people searching by keyword phrases. We offer a very inexpensive SEO press release service, that targets searchers by keyword you select. Currently we are offering a 50% discount on this service, if you purchase through our SaveLocal deal. Interestingly, in terms of media coverage, some of our SEO press releases do get the attention of niche bloggers and forum moderators. These bloggers and moderators often do their own independent write up of our clients, thus increasing their visibility.
Free Press Releases and ConversionsSometimes what you're looking for in a press release is a conversion. You may be publicizing a new product launch, for instance, and you want people to sign up for a demo or contact you for more information. Free press release can work well for this, but not always. It depends on three factors:
1. How appealing the content is written
2. Whether the audience most likely to try the product sees the press release
3. whether there is a compelling enough call to action within the press release.
Again, because free press release sites don't generally allow you the ability to target in a very granular way, they often will fail to produce significant results. We offer a press release service where we embed a QR Code into your press release. This helps facilitate conversions. This type of press release, combined with the SEO press release, both gets your news in front of interested searchers, and then motivates them to convert with the QR code once they arrive.
In sum, the effectiveness of a free press release submission service depends a good deal on what you want to get out of the service. As the familiar saying goes, "You get what you pay for." Free press releases are okay if you are just trying to generate a few backlinks to your website, or if you are working for a client who just needs to see a large volume of clippings on a shoestring budget. However, free press release sites generally won't take care of the heavy lifting of marcomm.
Gnosis Media Group