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Free vs. Paid Press Release Distribution: Which Wins?

If you’re starting out with online press releases, you’re probably looking to make the biggest splash with the least amount of investment. Understandable. There are free press release distribution sites available, and there are also ones that charge a fee to get your press release published on multiple websites in your industry.

Question - Paid vs. Free Press Releases

The question is: which one is right for you?

The Truth About Free Press Releases

If you’re a small business with an equally small budget, it might make sense to start with the zero-cost option. But a word of caution: you won’t make the impact with free services that you would paid. Ever heard that adage, “you get what you pay for?” It applies.

There are several drawbacks to free press release distribution services:

  • They require more legwork on your part
  • They don’t usually post your release instantly
  • The quality of the sites they post to are less than that of paid distribution
  • They’re not always reliable

Each distribution site will publish your release on a handful of other sites, but usually not as many as you get with paid distribution. So you may end up posting your release to multiple free sites. Consider what your time is worth before assuming that the service is totally free. After all, if you’re spending three hours to get it online, that time has a value attached to it.

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Investing in Paid Distribution

In my mind, it’s worth the investment to get paid press release distribution through a channel like PRWeb. They have relationships with sites you’ve actually heard of, like Google News and USAToday, and it’s always a thrill to see your headline on popular websites like these.

These paid sites also offer additional features to enhance your release, like:

  • Video
  • Images
  • Hyperlinks in the release
  • Social media links

PRWeb Press Release - Uncle Si's

But by far the best feature I’d say paid press release distribution sites offer is reports and analytics. Every time I publish on PRWeb, I can see how many people clicked on the release, where they live, and what sites they came from. This is indispensable information that can help small businesses really understand their audiences and connect with them on the right channels.

Press release distribution is actually pretty affordable and worth the investment.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging.

Image: Karen Eliot (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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