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Paid press release sites - are they worth the money?

We think so….

Following our research into the most effective free release services, we decided to share the paid-for distribution sites that we use. There are lots more of course, but sometimes we will only use them a few times and then we don’t bother again as they aren’t quite right for us.

These are the ones we would recommend based on our experience, paying particular attention to the size and quality of the media database they boast and how much it will cost to get your release(s) out to relevant media targets.

It is worth noting that the majority of these websites have editorial teams who will first approve your release and ensure it is not badly written or contains any libellous statements. They will usually distribute your release within 15 minutes to two days depending on which distribution package you select.

  1. PR Newswire – this is the daddy of newswires….but it also comes with some high pricing. Through this wire news releases go out to journalists and also appear online. Pricing starts per 400 words and then goes up as you add more. They have an ‘Online Visibility Package’ which makes using this system slightly more attractive as there isn’t a word limit and your release is syndicated to lots of online sites and journalists have access to it. It’s also great for SEO. For a single OVP, you will pay £295. They also offer a useful translation service if you are sending news out far and wide. The release process includes calls from the release team to ensure that everything is present and correct e.g. if you have missed the dateline or city, so do it right first time.
  2. Businesswire – a major rival to PR Newswire, this site is good for distributing to the financial sector and has a comprehensive media database with opt-in journalists. Like PR Newswire, Businesswire charges extra for additional words but a regular 500 word press release will cost around £225 + VAT. As a global site, Businesswire offers translation on all PRs distributed internationally. From our experience of Businesswire, this site offers good reporting and has a very helpful sales team.
  3. Sourcewire – a fast UK and low-cost wire service that processes your news for distribution within three hours (but usually faster in our experience). Releases go online and are also sent out to opted-in journalists across a number of sectors. Costs per release range from £50, for two distribution categories, to £100, for more than ten distribution categories (but then do you really want to send your release to 10 different industry categories….what about targeting?). They have some neat additional features including adding images (£20 each), issuing via the Press Association newswire (£70 each) and requesting a stats report (£25 per release). Priority distribution costs an extra £15 per release. If you send out regular releases, you can apply for an account and they have a friendly customer services team down in Croydon.
  4. Realwire – 10 years old, this newswire has an impressive media distribution database and offers traditional PR distribution (Sendit) from an affordable £125 per release and social media distribution (Blogit) from £200. Their distribution list has been built with lots of love and attention by a team up North (well sort of…Lincoln is North to most people in the London PR industry). They have a good evaluation tool called Proveit which can be purchased when the release is set up – it shows where your release has been picked up and also ranks the coverage. It’s charged at an extra cost of between £100 for two days and £225 for ten days. Their opening hours are between 8am and 6pm so any news you want distributed outside those times will incur an additional £50 charge. For casual users, you have to pay per release up front. Tip: ask for a discount for multiple releases!
  5. PR Web – this US site has a London base and accepts all types of news and says that it distributes it to every major news site and search engine and allows you to track the impact of your release by detailing who has read it. The UK operation is not as sophisticated as their US parent, but the team is working hard. Support calls are often answered from the US and editorial queries are always answered by a US team, which can be annoying if you want to speak to someone in the UK, but great for a 24/7 service. Frustratingly, if you schedule a release a few days in advance, your confirmation email may only appear at 3 am on the day of despatch….so if your release is put on hold, you might not make an 8 am distribution. They have a range of packages from ‘Basic’ at £40 per news release, to a ‘Premium’ service, £200 per news release, that sees your release sent out to premier news outlets through the Associated Press. We like the Advanced option at £110 per release. The ‘Premium’ option also allows you to include video, attachments, images and links to engage your customers and encourage people to share your story. Tip: read their rules and regulations carefully as an unconfirmed ticker symbol can delay your release, as could too many hyperlinks!

For anyone without the budget for premium distribution sites like these, or who just wants to see how useful these release services are before committing to paid for wires, take a look at our blog investigating 60 of the best and worst free websites.

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