January 28, 2011

Are Free Press Release Sites Worth The Effort?

With so many budget cuts over the past few years, many PR professionals are forced to use all the free resources they can. I recently had a discussion with a local professional over the value of free press release sites. Here's how the conversation went:
She: Do you get much "benefit" from using the free press release sites? I wonder if my professional organization shouldn't take advantage of these, but I also wonder whether it's worthwhile to do?
Me: I have found great value in the free press sites. With one free upload, I saw over 600 hits on the free platform alone, generated three separate media interviews and propagated prime time television coverage.
There are different levels of "free" and even by paying a small amount, you are able to increase your visibility. In the past with the free uploads, I have seen an increase in SEO through using specific long-tail key words within the post and tags. I also frequently upload to local media calendars when the release is specific to an event. Of course, the more places I share the article and information, the more traffic it potentially generates. I send my media list the news release as well.
She: I was thinking submissions would probably get lost in the abyss, but it sounds like you've had good results with those sites so I won't discount them!
Newsletter content, community calendar information, social media updates and physical mailings are all valuable in public relations. Though every channel may not get the same amount of attention, each view the potential to generate more word of mouth.

One lone effort isn't going to get you the results you want. Instead, think of the acronym "RIG":
  • Re-purpose your content - don't let one article die alone, use it for several different things. Small edits can make a whole new opportunity for your content.
  • Integrate your efforts - online, offline and in person. All communication channels are valuable
  • Generate interest - spice up your content. Give value to your offer.
How do you make the integration of new media work for you? What are your favorite free release sites? I'd love to hear your feedback.

~Angela Frizell, PRSA Member

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