There are a lot of press release distribution services out there. When I ran my agency, I used several different services based on the varied preferences of our clients. Not to avoid picking a favorite, but I generally liked all of them. The services I used most for clients included PRNewswire (the most popular), PRWeb (favored by the SEO-minded crowd), BusinessWire (most often larger clients), and Marketwire.
Over the course of the past five years, I’ve used PRWeb (owned by Vocus) the most. PRWeb is one of the most cost-effective services out there for tech startups – and it was really the first press release distribution service to embrace SEO, without charging a ton for these extra features. I also like the analytics provided by PRWeb, which are on par with the stats packages offered by others.
Since these are my personal preferences, I figured I’d open the question up for comment on Twitter. I created a TwtPoll to ask others what they used most for sending out press releases. I wasn’t surprised to find the mix was pretty balanced. As you can see from the graphic, from the 85 unique responses I received:
- 29% use BusinessWire
- 29% use PRNewswire
- 14% use PRWeb
- 11% use Marketwire
- 5% use PitchEngine
- 1% use BurrellesLuce
- 11% use Other (Not Disclosed)
What surprised me most in the responses were those using PitchEngine. I’ve checked out PitchEngine the other day, and it’s the new PRWeb. PitchEngine has picked up on news distribution innovation where PRWeb left off, providing a comprehensive social media release and online newsroom solution. I like the look of this one. While I haven’t used PitchEngine yet, I look forward to trying the service for our next press release.
So what press release distribution service should you use?
It really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. The best bet is to evaluate each service on your own, based on your needs. I’m drawn to PitchEngine for social media applications. For news that I know is strong, such as seasonal tie-ins with big brand names involved, I’d probably go with PRNewswire. PRWeb has been my favorite, but there hasn’t been enough innovation on this platform as of late. PitchEngine has a smart team, well-versed in the needs of today’s PR professionals. Some factors to consider when evaluating press release distribution services:
- Cost – services can range from $200 to more than $3,000 for distribution
- Add-Ons – some services charge additional fees for more than 400 words of copy, additional distribution categories or regions, SEO-friendly features, and more. PRWeb is one that gives you a lot for your money.
- Financial News – BusinessWire and PRNewswire have specialized distribution offerings for financial news distribution for example.
- Analytics – stats packages for distribution vary greatly from one vendor to another. Being able to tie press releases to ROI is critical in PR, so you want a service with great analytics.
- Focus – are you sending your release to one local market, or do you need national or international distribution? Do you want to limit your release to a specific industry sector? Each service provides different types of options for targeting distribution.
- Pickup – while I’m against counting online press release pickup as a “placement”, clients do value this type of result from their investment in distribution. It can take some trial and error, but you should try different services to see which one gets you the best online pickup.
What press release distribution service do you use and why? What factors are most important to you when selecting a press release distribution service?