By Rudi Davis

Something we’re often asked is where do you send a press release and what are the best free press release submission sites and press release distribution services.

So if you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve already written one and now need to find out how to do a press release submission. That’s why we’ve fully updated our guide to the best press release submission sites for 2019.

But if you’re still yet to actually write one, you can learn everything you need to know about writing a press release in our Ultimate Startup Press Release Guide. You can also download our press release template and examples here, to make the process super easy.

First, a little bit of history (which you should read…it’s about SEO)

As I was writing the updated version of this page, I did what every good copywriter does and reviewed the other page-one search results on Google. To my surprise, a lot of the advice around backlinking for SEO was way, way out of date. Some of the pages were dated as far back as 2009, and as SEO years are similar to cat years, the advice was from another era.

The general consensus within the SEO industry is that press release submission sites are no longer an effective means of earning beneficial backlinks. Long story short, a few years ago Google got fed up with people abusing these platforms to gain backlinks.

As a result most reputable press release submission websites now set all backlinks placed in press releases as nofollow by default. This means no link equity is passed onto the site that’s being linked to. While some paid and free press release distribution services still offer follow backlinks, the benefit is going to be negligible in 2019.

However, all this talk of using press release submission sites to earn backlinks slightly misses the point. If this is what you’re after, then these websites should just be seen as a means to an end. They provide a platform for journalists to look for stories. And if a journalist writes up one of these press releases as an article in a news publication site, the backlink in this article will pass link equity. So it’s through earned media wins that you can combine PR and SEO.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about this subject, which explains the history and the current state of play in way more detail.

Where do I submit a press release?

While you’ve no doubt landed on this page as your looking for press release submission sites, it’s important to fully understand the context and process here. There are, broadly speaking, two main routes for sending out a press release:

  • Send a press release directly to journalists, in the hope they’ll write it up into an article. Our Ultimate Startup Press Release Guide provides a step by step guide on how to do this. And our journalist email list database has loads of useful email addresses.
  • Publish a press release onto press release submission sites. This is what this guide focuses on.

What is a press release submission?

Press release submission websites are platforms that allow you to publish press releases that you’ve written. These platforms then serve as useful sources of news for journalists and reporters who are looking for stories. [Dodgy metaphor alert] Think of them as wholesalers or stockists for the news industry.

As the news industry has changed so much over the last decade or so, these platforms have also evolved in order to stay relevant. Many of them now offer loads of other services such as contact information databases, social media influencer access, media monitoring and PR analytics.

Here’s a really good video from Newswire, who are one of the industry leaders, explaining how their service works.

What is the difference between a paid and a free press release submission site?

There are both fee-paying and free press release submission sites available.

The free online press release submission services are very basic as you’ll see from the below list. If your objective is to earn media coverage is recognized publications, then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll achieve this using free submission sites. Therefore, set your expectations accordingly and just see these services as a way of getting a small bit of exposure at zero cost (although some question if this is even worth the effort).

The fee-charging platforms, particularly the market leaders, offer enormous reach into major news and media outlets. However, these services can be very expensive and don’t guarantee results.

Interested in Learning More About Press Releases?

Want to find out more about how we can design press releases that support your business goals? Contact us using the below form and one of our PR specialists will be in touch to arrange chat.

The pros and cons of press release distribution services

As discussed above, there are two ways of sending out a press release to get media coverage. One is to send it directly to journalists, while the other is to use one or more press release submission sites.

The benefits of using a submission site, versus sending a press release directly to journalists, are the following:

  • It’s super quick; you don’t need to find journalist email addresses nor write a personalized pitch to each of them
  • You can get instant access to the world’s largest media organizations
  • Some platforms allow you to target a specific niche or industry
  • Platforms often syndicate press releases, increasing your visibility

However, there are some downsides to these platforms, when compared to pitching press releases directly to journalists:

  • From our experience, we get better media coverage results when pitching a press release directly to a journalist
  • You don’t get direct access to journalists, so can’t build up relationships with the press
  • As discussed above, the SEO benefit, in terms of backlinks, is now negligible to none

How to do a press release submission

If you’re using one of these press release distribution services, then the actual submission is super easy. Most services allow you to simply copy-and-paste your content into an online text editor, then upload any multimedia that you want to include. You can then add hyperlinks and other functionality before you publish it.

And in terms of outreach, most of the premium services will let you choose which types of publications you want to target.

What happens once I publish a press release onto a submission site?

Your press release will appear ‘as is’ (i.e. a carbon copy of what you wrote) on the platform that you submitted it to. It’s then distributed to relevant news and media organizations. This is when the magic happens.

If a journalist and/or publication is interested in the story, they’ll pick it up and run with it in one of two ways:

  • Publish it ‘as is’ on their own publication. This is literally a copy-and-paste of the press release that you wrote.
  • A journalist will write it up into an article, using quotes and other information contained in the press release.

Our list of paid press release submission websites 2019 (which we think are the best)

Name Prices from Description Key Features
Newswire $199/mo or $119 per press release One of the leading press release distribution platforms, offering broadbased newswise distribution and influencer marketing. Can include Google News, Business Journals Network, Reuters and AP outreach, as well as the ability to include a range of multimedia per release. Analytics is also available to track campaign success.
PR Newswire
Around $1,000 per press release Claims to have the largest press release distribution network of media outlets, websites and social channels, but with such large reach inevitably comes a high price tag. Access to 4,000 websites, 3,000 media outlets, and 550 news content systems. Embed multimedia content including videos, photos, infographics and audio clips. And campaign analytics to track success.
Business Wire
Around $800 per release, upwards Claims to offer the largest global coverage, reaching more than 89,613 media outlets in 162 countries. Aimed more towards large corporates who need to comply with regulatory requirements around announcements. Distribution options cover 193 industry and trade categories, along with a global reach available in more than 20 languages. 
24-7 Press Release
$19 to $389 per release Specialist press release distribution service for small to medium-size businesses, operating since 2004. The cheapest package just posts a press release to their website, while the higher tiers distribute it across AP, and 1000s of media companies. Multimedia can also be embedded on higher-level packages. 
Around $460 per release MarketWired provides a flexible news distribution platform that can be tailored for any client and any type of outreach. Outreach can be targeted at global news media, trade media or speciality media. Also tailored towards investor relations, helping them meet regulatory filing and disclosure announcements.  
Globe Newswire
Data not available North American and European focused press release distribution service, focusing on media and investment outlets. Allows a large amount of multimedia content to be embedded in press releases as well as media monitoring and analytics.
£110 per submission UK focused press release distribution service, but provides an international reach. Targeted distribution and guaranteed syndication, plus search engine indexing and analytics.
PR Underground
$49.99 to $199 per release Press release distribution platform operating at the more affordable end of the market. Releases are sent to Google News and 80 news sites including FOX/CBS/ABC/NBC, as well as being SEO optimized.

Our list of free press release submission sites (fully updated for 2019)

Company Name Service Description Key Features Moz Domain Authority  Score
Online PR News
Probably the most established out of all the free press release submissions sites. They offer a freemium model, where the most basic press release package is free. The basic package allows users to publish a press release for 90 days on the platform. 62
Similar model to Online PR News, where the most basic package is free. The free package receives a reduced distribution on pr.com, some third party and news sites and RSS feeds. 75
PR Free
Another freemium press release distribution service, with the most basic package being free to use. The free service allows hyperlinks, search engine indexing and social share buttons. 62
PR Log
It’s a pretty retro looking site (by which I mean very dated), but it’s free press release distribution service comes highly rated from many reviewers. The free service distributes press releases onsite, across search engines, social media and RSS feeds. 88
Press Release Point
As per the above, this site is now looking a little bit dated, but it offers a free distribution service. The free service allows you to distribute a press release to 20 PR sites. 60
PR Fire
Allows any user to create an account and publish a press release with it’s free press release submission service. The free service is pretty limited, as it only publishes the press release on its own platform, which is then indexed by Google. 44
Issue Wire
Another freemium service, where the basic package is free, but with limited features. Press releases are indexed on Google, with up to four hyperlinks allowed, and all releases are hosted indefinitely. 40
Free Press Release
The company name is slightly misleading, as only the basic package is free, but this still offers some notable features. All press releases are indexed on search engines, and unlike some other free services they remain permanently hosted on the site. 70
Newswire Today
The basic package allows free submissions, but with very limited features. The basic version only publishes press releases onto their site and basic RSS feeds. 58
PR Sync
This service is completely free, with the platform relying on its community to promote the most relevant stories to the homepage. This is a community platform, rather than a distribution service. 66