Which press release services give you your money's worth?
Business Edge researched which PR distribution company provides the service they are charging you for.
Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Even for an SEO expert and 20+ year web design entrepreneur like me, it can be a daunting task to choose a press release service for my company or for my clients. In every review I’ve examined, in every marketing sales sheet I’ve endured, I’ve found the same seemingly impressive stats: how big their distribution network is, how many journalists they are connected to, how they “optimize” your release, how many pictures or videos you get to include, amongst other mind-numbing claims and numbers. Maybe it’s me, but all I wanted to know was this: How many web pages will appear in Google’s organic search results with my press release? Shouldn’t this be the true goal, to be indexed and listed online permanently rather than being submitted to 100,000 invisible web pages?
Most of the “reviews” I’ve read online when researching Press Release services are less objective knowledge-based reviews than advertisements for the service that particular reviewer favors. Most seem to regurgitate the same size and scope of their distribution network as the service’s own websites, making side-by-side comparisons of this important service a game of dubious numbers. One would need to literally try every service and then measure the resulting traffic to reach a statistically valid conclusion. But what most online reviews tend to ignore is the most important aspect of any press release’s genuine effectiveness: the release’s inclusion within Google’s (and other SE’s) index.
Although most of the distribution services rely solely on the News Information Engine (NIE) comprising millions of journalist subscribers, there’s very little possibility that your press release will be picked by a journalist or a blogger. One writer from a prominent periodical opined that she “NEVER did a story based on anything sent to a distribution service,” and this seems to be a pervasive opinion from journalists, unless it is a huge case with newsworthy ramifications. If the stated goal is for your release to be published and read in as many places as possible, how can we determine which service actually accomplishes this, with so many phantom placement statistics? Business Edge did research on exactly this: We sought to discover which Press release distribution company, if any, provides article placement that survives the search engine test of relevance.
First of all, you should know that many of the advertised “submissions” were a mere half-step above “link farm”: websites that indeed have good content, but they usually relegate PR distribution to specific pages containing large amounts of combined articles and releases (like small TV station websites that bury articles where no one can find them), and for the most part Google and other search engines know that these pages have little to no value and do NOT index them at all. This is why when you’re promised thousands of submissions for your press release and you use Google or Bing to try and find your article, it is mysteriously missing from search results. Unfortunately, for many of the sites listed below, when you pay for and publish your release you can expect to see it on that service’s website and literally nowhere else.
There are a few winners, however, but most require a larger budget than most law firms would prefer to spend. As a caveat, I do think that for law firms, the best solution is always personal outreach to legal journalists, but of course that takes time and resources that many marketing departments do not possess.
Business Wire owned by Berkshire Hathaway
Pricing: $400 and up
My take: This service has the widest reach if you are interested in having other news sites re-publish your press release in other news agencies like Yahoo finance, CNBC, AP, Reuters, as well as all the major newspapers . Because it is one of the most expensive Press Release distribution services out there (lowest price I’ve seen is $400 per release, but many options will make this price much higher), I recommend smaller companies use this service only for their most important releases, and use a cheaper alternative for all others. Works well for mobile devices. If you’re more interested in financial-type visibility than purely legal news, this is your service.
Legal Newswire owned by Law.com
Pricing: $600 per submission
My take: Our research found that PR’s submitted through this system did very well on Google. Plus, their distribution network is mostly legal sites. Only problem with this service is it is very expensive, and their network is mostly legal-based, so you will not reach investors, CEO’s, potential non-lawyer clients, etc. Probably the best submission for overall legal industry news.
PRnewswire owned by Cision
Pricing: $129 - $399 per release
My take: Google results are mostly Businessinsider.com and a few spammy sites. Better results than its sister site PRWeb. May be worth a try for budget-conscious firms.
PRWeb ALSO owned by Cision
Distribution: it claims to distribute to news sites like Fox News Network Factiva and CNN, national outlets like the AP and its affiliates USA Today and the NY Times, and the News feeds of more than 250,000 RSS subscribers.
My take: user-friendly and budget-friendly, but not very SEO-friendly. After reviewing a number of law firm PR submissions from PRweb, we discovered little to no “pick up” from news outlets or any other sites listed by Google. When we did article title searches, the PRweb site was the ONLY one that came up in searches, which essentially means that none of the landing spots for your PRWeb release were considered important by Google to be indexed. Bing was a little better, which means mobile searches (Bing is used in many Iphone searches) are better than desktop results. Use this service if your budget is constrained and you are not concerned with results.
Pricing: from $99 for a basic press release, to $249 for an advanced press release.
Pricing: $59 - $229 based on a monthly fee
My take: Found literally NO Google presence in ANY of their legal submissions we analyzed. I would not recommend this service for my clients.
Law Firm Newswire (lawfirmnewswire.com)
Pricing: $95 - $450 per release
My take: I found that the Google results were non-existent, other than their own site. I would not recommend this service for my clients.