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, then 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 2022.
If you’re still yet to actually write one though, 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 things first, we need to talk about SEO
As we were writing the updated version of this page, we did what all good copywriters do and reviewed the other page-one search results on Google. To our surprise, a lot of the advice around backlinking for SEO was way, way out of date.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 2022.
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 we wrote about this subject, which explains the history and the current state of play in way more detail.
What is a press release?
A press release is a document that communicates your startup announcements to journalists in an effective way.
Press releases have formulaic structures that are designed to get a company’s message across as clearly as possible.
We know, writing press releases can be tricky.
Yet, writing press releases is a valuable art that can propel your startup into the spotlight of industry influencers and journalists.
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.
- Publish a press release onto press release submission sites. This is what this guide focuses on.
Moreover, as the news industry has changed so much over the last decade or so, these press release 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.
For example, sites dedicated solely to video press release services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses big or small. Video press releases allow businesses to visualise their story, tapping into the growing consumer desire for video-based content.
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.
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).
It’s said that some free press release submission sites are great for technophobes given their easy-to-use interface. Trust us, though. Sacrificing quality for usability is a sure-fire way to condemn your press release to a journalist’s spam folder.
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.
Publicize also offers a press release submission service, so check out how we stack up against our competitors
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.
That all sounds fine and dandy, but how do you submit a press release successfully? Here’s a handy list to help you out:
- Create a list of chosen media outlets
Building a list of contacts from your desired publications will give you control over to whom and when you submit a press release.
There are a plethora of tools at your disposal for sourcing this contact information, with LinkedIn, MuckRack and HARO all detailing journalist emails and phone numbers.
Make sure to do regular maintenance on this list by updating which reporters work for which publications. Peoples’ employment statuses change all the time, and you don’t want to get caught out by pitching an announcement to an ex-staff member of a publication.
- Follow Submission Rules
Irrespective of who you’re pitching your press release to, every publication has its own guidelines around submitting press release content. For any media outlet worth submitting your press release to, following these guidelines is non-negotiable.
From the way you format your content to the person, you submit the request to, your best chance of winning media coverage for your press release is to strictly adhere to the rules laid out on the publication’s website. Entrepreneur, for example, places extreme emphasis on the quality and originality of your announcement, and…
- Craft a killer submission and attach it to the email
Writing an eye-catching press release submission is the key to winning valuable media coverage.
Right from the subject line, your press release needs to get straight to the meat of your announcement. There’s no need for nice-looking prose or entertaining content – it’s purely a reference that journalists can use to write an article based on your news.
It’s important, therefore, to remember a few golden rules around writing a press release:
-Make sure the title reflects your announcement and nothing else
-Include an announcement date
-Add quotes from your CEO on the importance of the news
-Give as much data as possible to bolster your credibility
- Follow up with media outlets
So, you’ve submitted your press release. Time to put your feet up and watch all that sweet earned media roll on in, right?
You’ve got Journalists and reporters to nudge. It’s easy for your submission to get lost in the constant stream of emails flying into their inboxes, so following up politely is always a best practice.
If you’ve not heard anything about your announcement for a few days, adhere to your connection’s preferred times for contact, and send them a quick email asking if they’ve had the chance to look over your submission.
Keep the copy friendly but professional, and give them space to respond to your follow-up email. There’s nothing worse as a journalist than being hounded for a response and could wreck the relationship you’ve built up with them.
- Track performance
The ROI of PR is seen as a bit of a mystery in some circles. However, there are plenty of ways to measure it, especially when it comes to media coverage from press release submissions.
When your big announcement gets featured in a top-tier publication, there are several metrics you want to look out for:
–Publication reach (Impressions): This will give you a very rough understanding of the potential size of the audience your news has landed in front of. It’s by no means the most reliable indicator of ROI on your press release submission, as a smaller audience can mean a more specialized media outlet with a clearer target reader. To find out the estimated reach of your target publication, you can use SimilarWeb’s estimated website traffic calculator.
–Domain Authority (DA): Depending on whether or not you get a dofollow backlink or not, earned media from your submission has an SEO benefit to your website. Backlinks are the holy grail of SEO, acting as an endorsement from one site to another. And that, in the eyes of Google, shows your website’s credibility, leading to better keyword rankings. A good metric that estimates this credibility is your DA score: a number from 1 to 100 that shows your website’s comparative authority to other websites. To help calculate the ROI of domain authority increases, we’ve created our own equation that can be found in our ROI Measuring Toolkit.
–Referral Traffic: When you gain a backlink from your press release submission, the referral traffic indicates all of your website visitors that came from this article. It’s an accurate portrayal of how your announcement has engaged with a target audience and can act as a lead generation source. Referral traffic can be found on your Google Analytics, for which we’ve created a useful guide on understanding how to use it.
What are the best practices to submit news releases successfully?
Your submitted news release has the best chance of being successful if you take into account the recipient.
Think about the best time of day to send your news release to a specific journalist, relative to their timezone and schedule. Personalized emails, as well, go a whole lot further than copy-pasted emails, and journalists can see these coming a mile away. If your news release is submitted in a structured and engaging way, you’ll give yourself the best chance of being published.
To publish your press release in a chosen media outlet, there are some key steps to take:
1. Source the correct journalist
It seems obvious to say, but pitching your press release to journalists with a vested interest in your announcement takes priority over all else.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard a tech reporter complain about receiving template press release pitches… If I’m honest, I’d be somewhere in the Maldives and not writing this guide for you.
Be precise in your pitching. Do your due diligence when researching which reporter usually covers your niche. Journalists will spot scatter-gun approaches to winning media coverage a mile away, and black-list your behind before you can say ‘PR’.
2. Nurture strong media connections
A strong relationship with a journalist is a prized commodity in the world of earned media.
They’re the gatekeepers of what’s newsworthy to the public and what isn’t. It’s important, therefore, to gain their trust as a reputable business that has announcements worth sharing with its audience.
Adhere to sending them pitches at times that are most convenient to them, and give them all relevant information in advance. Journalists receive a slew of news traffic and requests on a daily basis, so help them out by leaving all necessary info on your announcement at their fingertips.
3. Write an irresistible pitch
Following on from the above, this constant bombardment of info that’s thrown at journalists should scream one thing at you: make sure your press release stands apart from the rest.
If your press release is going to be picked up, a strong and concise subject line to go with an email that immediately addresses the meat of the matter is an optimal way to show why your story is more relevant than your rivals’.
These tips are pretty broad strokes, so to delve into this topic deeper, we’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to pitch to journalists for you to follow.
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.
The Top 9 paid press release submission websites 2022 (which we think are the best)
One of the leading press release distribution platforms, offering broad-based newswire 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.
2. PR Newswire
Prices from: 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.
Key features include 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.
Prices from: 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.
Prices from: $29 to $419 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.
Prices from: 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 specialty media. Also tailored towards investor relations, helping them meet regulatory filing and disclosure announcements.
Prices from: $150 DIY option to $560 for Full Service Publishing
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.
Prices from: £110 per submission.
UK-focused press release distribution service, but provides an international reach.
Key features include targeted distribution and guaranteed syndication, plus search engine indexing and analytics.
Prices from: $49.99 to $309 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.
Prices from: $299 to $599 per press release
Press release distribution site that tries to offer the best value for money. It offers all new customers a $100 discount on its Buzz Builder plan.
Releases are up to 400 words and are sent to over 4700 syndicated submission sites.
The Top 8 of free press release submission sites (fully updated for 2022)
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.
A 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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.
6. PR Fire
Allows any user to create an account and publish a press release with its 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.
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.
8. 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.