How to Get Your Press Releases to Spread Online

by Susan Gunelius on February 9, 2011
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Generating publicity for your business through press releases requires two key steps: Writing your press releases well and distributing your press releases smartly. We covered the first part recently, now we turn our attention to the second, looking at both free and paid ways that you can spread your content across the web in an effort to drive conversations and buzz about your business and brand.

For many small business owners, the challenge is finding the right places to jump start the distribution process. Of course, publishing your press release on your website, blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page, and so on are essential. If you’ve already spent time connecting with people on the social web, building relationships, and developing a band of brand advocates who will talk about your brand and help spread your news by sharing it with their own audiences, then you’re on the right track. However, you also need to look for other distribution points to reach beyond your own audience, and some of those opportunities might require you to think outside the box.

Following are a variety of ways you can distribute your press releases online.

Free Press Release Distribution Options

There are many websites that distribute press releases to smaller audiences and publications than major paid distributors (like PR Newswire, see below) reach, but no free distribution service guarantees that your press releases will get picked up by major sites or news organizations. However, every little bit of positive brand exposure online that you can get helps!

  • PR.com. PR.com offers free press release submission and distribution services.  Press releases are distributed to a variety of online news sites, search engines, and the PR.com syndicated feed, which is published on a variety of sites. Press releases are also emailed to an opt-in list of journalists and media professionals.
  • Free Press Release. Free-Press-Release.com offers both free and paid press release submission services. The site is easy to navigate and press releases are keyword-indexed by Google.
  • OpenPR. OpenPR.com offers free press release submission services. Press releases are published on the OpenPR.com site and distributed to the OpenPR.com email list. Gmail and other free provider email addresses are not allowed in submissions, and the site does try to eliminate spam submissions through editorial review.

Paid Press Release Distribution Options

There are a number of paid press release distribution services that you can use to give your news greater exposure, but even paid distribution doesn’t guarantee a huge surge in brand buzz and business. Your news has to be interesting enough or journalists and other media professionals won’t be motivated to write about it. However, it’s a great first step to get your brand in front of that influential audience.

  • PR Newswire. PR Newswire is the most well-known press release distribution provider, and the company offers a Small Business Toolkit that offers special packages and help for small businesses. PR Newswire requires that you pay an annual fee plus a per-release fee, but you can target your press release distribution and get both online and offline distribution options.
  • PRWeb. PRWeb.com is a great option for local and regional press release distribution. There is no annual fee and the price per release varies depending on the level of distribution you choose.
  • PR Leap. PRLeap.com offers pay per release submission services that are far less expensive than other paid services — but distribution is also far more limited.

Outside-the-Box Free Press Release Distribution Options

There are a number of blogs that accept and publish press releases as well as syndication opportunities that can put your content in front of wider audiences. Following are just a few of those creative options.

  • Small Business Trends. SmallBizTrends.com is one of the most popular blogs for small business news, tips, and information. You can also submit press releases for possible publication on the site (links also appear on the home page) for free.
  • WomenOnBusiness.com. WomenOnBusiness.com is one of the leading blogs for women in business. You can submit press releases related to women-owned businesses or female business professionals for publication on the site (links also appear on the home page) for free.
  • Content Syndication. If your business has a blog, you can syndicate your blog content through a licensed syndication service like Newstex or a free syndication service like Demand Media to get that content in front of more people both online and offline. Just publish blog posts about your press releases, and your news will be included in your syndicated content.
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