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4 Really Good Free PR Sites

Posted by The Marketing Intern on August 5, 2009

I know, this sounds spammy. It’s not, I promise. Would I do that to you?

I recently downloaded the HubSpot video (published last year, I think) on how to do PR the right way. The video hinges quite a bit on David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing and PR, an excellent read which you should go out and buy right now if you haven’t already done so.

Anyway, Hubspot’s Mike Volpe (@mvolpe on Twitter, another great follow) says in the video that when it comes to news release distribution sites, you pretty much get what you pay for. He’s right, in a sense, but there are lots of free news release sites out there. Some of them have to be pretty decent, right? I went out looking. What follows is a list of the best free news release distribution sites, ranked in order of personal preference.

1) Presskit’n (presskitn.com) – Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a free press release site that allowed you to use pictures, embed video, incorporate anchor text links, and gave users instant access to all of your previous news releases? Well, you’ve got it. Now, admittedly this is cheating a bit — PressKit’n isn’t a distribution site, per se, as it doesn’t do the whole distribution thing. No, this is more of a social media news release template — it’s engaging, you can link to it, and it does pretty much whatever you could want it to do. The downside: In the free version, you can only publish two releases per month. No problem for small businesses, but if you want to use the ‘kitt’n as your primary news release vehicle, you’ll need a $39.95/mo upgrade which gives you 7 releases. Best practice: Use presskit’n to augment your big news releases, and use the other “unlimited” sites for day-to-day releases.

2) Press Release Point (pressreleasepoint.com) – No cool video capabilities with this one, but just about everything else you could want from a free PR service is here. News releases can incorporate anchor text, are indexed by the major search engines, are distributed to sites like Google News and Yahoo! Business, incorporate social bookmarking via Digg, Delicious and Technorati, and are socially shareable via Facebook (but not Twitter, oddly). This is a blog-format press release site, which means you can incorporate pictures via built-in CSS interface. A pretty cool site; I’m not sold on the distribution capabilities (apparently they are done by hand — gulp), but the ability to use anchor text links for free is almost unheard of. A great resource.

3) Online PR News (onlineprnews.com) – The free version of this site offers quite a bit. First, the news release is indexed by major search engines like Google and Yahoo (no mention of Bing, though). Second, every press release includes social bookmarking and sharing links (oddly, no Twitter or Facebook links, but you do have Digg, SlashDot, De.licio.us, StumbleUpon, etc.). Third — and this is pretty cool — every release incorporates a screen shot of your website. The free version allows for live URL links, but that’s it. You can’t incorporate links with anchor text in the free version, which is troubling, but a $6 upgrade allows for three. This upgrade also allows you to embed video, images, pull quotes, lets you make use of some cool SEO techniques, and displays your releases on ad-free pages. Definitely more than you pay for, and certainly worth checking out.

4) PR Avenue (pravenue.com) – No frills here; just good old-fashioned distribution. Free releases are indexed by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, and distributed via Twitter, Wikio, and OneRiot. Anchor text links are allowed in the “Contact Us” section at the end of the press release, which is good but not ideal. We hope this functionality will improve when the program is released from beta. We’re also hoping the website allows users to take advantage of their premium services, which they list but don’t yet allow users to buy. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and the #4 spot, but I’ll recommend holding off on using it too seriously until it hits Alpha.

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10 Responses to “4 Really Good Free PR Sites”

  1. Rex Riepe said

    Great list, and thanks for the Presskit’n mention!

    I should note that our monthly release limit is for brands, not for users. Users can set up as many newsrooms as they want, and it’s those newsrooms that have the monthly limit.

  2. cpq said

    Is it wise to use more than one PR distributor for a press release. I mean can I submit my press release to all the distributors you mentioned above?

    • The Marketing Intern said

      Of course you can. See, the thing is that everyone (ie, bloggers and customers) monitors different outlets which are fed by different news release sites. So the more free sites you can feed your releases into, the greater your chance of getting noticed by a qualified lead or, if you’re lucky, by a journalist.

      Now, for the purposes of SEO, it doesn’t always help to pump your releases out everywhere. The sites I list above are good for SEO, but lots of free sites don’t let you use anchor text links, aren’t indexed by Google, or have a page rank below 4 (which isn’t a hard-and-fast guideline, but that’s the cutoff I use), which make them utterly useless for inbound marketing and PR. So while submitting news to all of these sites is a good idea — hey, I do it — submitting news to ALL free news release sites is a waste of effort.

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