I recently stumbled upon a blog post about “60+ Free Press Release Distribution Sites” (from the PR In Your Pajamas blog). The headline took me by surprise – I had no idea there were that many different free press release distribution options out there. And in truth, it was a little disturbing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of about six of the 60+ services referenced in the post, and some of them could be useful for SEO purposes, but I doubt many of the services would help you generate much favorable media coverage. At least not in any credible media outlets. In conversation after conversation with journalists, I consistently hear about how bad the press release problem is: journalists and bloggers receive too many releases, and most of those releases are poorly written or off-topic (I’m being nice in my paraphrasing here).
If you’re just starting a new website, and you’re desperate to increase the number of inbound links you have (an important factor in determining the relevancy of your Web content – as far as search engines go), these services could give you a jumpstart. I would only consider them useful for this tactic alone. If you’re looking for a service to support your media relations efforts, I would lean towards more modern, reputable, and social media-friendly distribution services like PRWeb or PitchEngine. The latter offers a FREE option, as well as several very affordable options for distributing your news across media and social media channels.
Now there may be some services on the 60+ list worth trying out, but in my experience trying several of the services (for SEO purposes), they are really just SEO spam tools – designed to mass-distribute your content across a bunch of different sites, many of which will do little to help you reach your target audiences or boost your search engine rankings.
Finally, if you’re serious about using a press release as a media relations tool, use a proven distribution channel to get the word out. If the press release doesn’t merit distribution on a mainstream service, consider not sending the release out at all. You’ll do more harm than good by sending out PR spam. That’s my two cents on the topic.
Now in defense of the PR in Your Pajamas blog, there is always good content there, geared towards the “Time-Strapped, Cash Crunched Mom Entrepreneur.” If you’re looking for great advice on PR for your small business, this is a good blog to follow.