Press Release Distribution - Free vs. Paid

Press Release Distribution - Exploring the Options


In today's digitized world, most businesses are promoting their products and/or services online in an attempt to increase visibility. A cost-effective way to expose the business is through press releases. Although some may argue that this medium is out-of-date and has lost its ability to generate traffic, they likely had little knowledge of how to properly compose a press release and did not use the right sources to distribute their news. Since Google now holds us responsible for the inbound links coming into our site, press releases have actually become more important. Not only do they generate inbound links, they can be targeted towards specific industries and reach appropriate journalists.


At Onison, we use press releases as a tool for our broader branding efforts and to reach wide target audiences in targeted industries. Our marketing department was given the goal to consolidate successful marketing tasks from a wide spectrum of commonly accepted activities and to eliminate those that were ineffective. The Intention was to focus each marketing activity and the overall branding efforts on their individual results. Thus, we approached the task with a rigorous 'isolate, deploy, and measure tactic' in order to find out what works and what does not. Over the years, we have gained a grasp on both the effective and ineffective ways to ensure that our news is being heard. There is a wide selection of press release distribution websites (paid and free) that you are able to submit to – it can be difficult deciphering between the different options.


When considering the distribution of your press release, there are two roads you can take: paid or free distribution services. Each has its benefits and disadvantages.


Free Press

You may ask yourself, why don’t I just submit my release to all the free distribution companies I can find? While this is an option, it takes a substantial amount of time and effort. Our tactic has brought to light that there is a very limited number of free PR distribution sites that actually produce results. For the most part, these sites do not reach the people you are targeting and do not create much noise online. Free press release distribution sites are typically web-based and will post the release on their website only. They may or may not let you include media, tagging, or any HTML formatted content. Our list of top free press release sites was compiled with the main criteria being visibility.


Top free press release sites:                            Free vs. paid Press release distribution

  •   (no longer free)                                          
  •  (no longer free)
  • (free reduced distribution)
  • (no longer free)


Having submitted our press release to these free sources, they all appeared very searchable on search engines whereas many other free sources did not. Furthermore, most of them offered links, tagging and image inclusion. All of these sources are credible with a high Google page rank – a very important criteria to consider when selecting sources.


Paid Services

In addition to posting your press release on a distribution website and its RSS feed, paid press release sites usually have a press list they will send releases to. They also offer benefits like tagging, photo inclusion, meta data, grammar checking/formatting, and often include your release on their social media pages as well. Furthermore, you are provided with a visibility report that allows you to track various analytics such as how many people have viewed your release.

Top paid press release sites:




These paid press release distribution sources offer a wide range of tools for optimizing your release. PRNewswire is reported to have the best overall distribution, however, it comes with a high price (can cost over $1000.00). Ereleases is partnered with PRNewswire and uses their distribution network to offer more economic pricing options. With prices starting around $100.00, both Ereleases and PRWeb offer activity and SEO reporting, as well as a visibility report that reveals detailed information about the traffic of your release. Furthermore, all 3 of these reputable sources are known to retain your press release indefinitely and have themselves a high page ranking.


More info

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