The Best Free Press Release Distribution Services 

So you’ve written your press release and are ready to share it with a wider audience? Well, if your press release is going to be considered by publications, you need to pitch it to a targeted list o...

Intelligent Relations
By Intelligent Relations Team

So you’ve written your press release and are ready to share it with a wider audience?

Well, if your press release is going to be considered by publications, you need to pitch it to a targeted list of media contacts directly or get the help of a press release distribution service. The better distribution is managed, the more likely your press release is to be covered by the media.

In this guide, we’re going to give you a rundown of the year’s best press release distribution platform options that are free, along with answers to these questions:

Should you use a free press release distribution platform?

When it comes to press release distribution, whether to pitch to journalists directly or to use a press release distribution service can make for a difficult decision.

Below, we compiled benefits and drawbacks of using a free press release distribution service to help you make a more informed decision.

The benefits of a free press release distribution service

  • PRICE: The biggest advantage of free press release sites is that they’re, obviously, free. Costs of major paid press release distribution services can easily compound for just one press release, which makes free sites even more appealing.
  • WORKLOAD: Compared to manual outreach, which requires a lot of time and effort, free press release platforms are fast and easy to use. Publishing your press release on a free press site can sometimes be done in just minutes.
  • IMMEDIATE ACCESS: As soon as your press release gets published on many of these service platforms, you get immediate access to major media outlets that could see your press release and pick it up.

The drawbacks of a free press release distribution service

  • LIMITED REACH: Free distribution sites provide limited reach and impact. The fact is, it’s almost impossible to get your press release picked up in relevant outlets without a direct contact. So, while free platforms are quick and easy, they make it hard to reach your target audience.
  • NO RELATIONSHIPS: Once a media outlet covers your press release, it’s likely they’ll do it again. Building these relationships with coveted media contacts is vital to ongoing PR strategy. This only happens when you can contact journalists directly, something a free distribution site just can’t provide.
  • NO SEO BENEFITS: A disadvantage to both free and paid distribution services is an absence of valuable backlinks. While it was still permitted not long ago, Google got fed up with companies using distribution services for improving SEO rather than publishing something newsworthy. Since then, backlinks on these sites have been changed to “no follow”—it basically tells search engines to ignore them.

Looking to find out more about individual media outlet outreach? Check out our guides:

Submitting a press release to the Associated Press

Submitting a press release to the New York Times

Submitting a press release to Google News

Submitting a press release to Yahoo News

Submitting a press release to Reuters

What makes a free press release distribution service good?

You can determine whether a free press release distribution platform is good by comparing some key features offered, such as performance tracking or the ability to choose media targets, as well as the service’s domain authority and price of additional features.

1. Choose your media targets

Though most free press release distribution sites don’t offer this as an option, the ability to choose your media targets is very important. If your press release doesn’t reach the right target audience it’s not going to be effective. 

Always start the process of submitting a press release by studying your target audience carefully, listing all the media outlets relevant to them, then target these publications directly to get your message in front of the right contacts. 

2. Performance tracking

Another important feature not offered on most free platforms is performance tracking. 

Monitoring metrics like impressions and reach, as well as tracking engagement by measuring the click-through rate (CTR) of links and number of social media shares is necessary in order to understand the success rate of your press release.

3. High domain authority 

Domain Authority (DA) is a ranking score (0-100) that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine results. High domain authority indicates that the site is reliable and trustworthy. If you’re researching free press release distribution services, their DA should be at least 50. 

You can check a website’s DA easily by using a DA analysis tool, like this one from Moz.

4. Low additional feature costs

Most free press release distribution services make money charging for additional features. While these features might prove to be useful, it’s a good idea to compare their prices before choosing a distribution site, then selecting a service with lower additional feature costs.

What are the best free press release distribution services? 

Many press release distribution sites provide freemium services, meaning only the most basic aspects of the service are available for free. Below we have listed some of what we consider to be the best free press release distribution services currently, along with pros and cons.

PRLog

Despite an old-fashioned look, PRLog is the most highly rated free press release distribution service available. The platform offers free press release distribution, press room hosting, and free distribution to search engines and RSS feeds. 

The platform is simple, easy to use, and offers the widest variety of features for free.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Offers free distribution to search engines
  • Offers free distribution to RSS feeds
  • Ability to include up to 2 clickable links for free
  • Ability to publish video press releases for free
  • Offers free press room hosting
  • Offers distribution to specific news sites and journalists for low additional cost
  • Offers social sharing features and QR codes
  • Offers free basic analytics
  • Offers free advanced scheduling press release publishing
  • Strong media reach (500+ sources)
  • High DA

CONS: 

  • Front page listing costs additional price
  • Limited word count (500 max)
  • Search-optimized photos costs additional price

PressReleasePoint

Similarly to PRLog, the look and user interface of PressReleasePoint feels like another era. Still, it’s one of the better reviewed free press release distribution sites. It offers a limited free plan, but a variety of additional features for a relatively low price.

PROS:

  • Offers one free press release every three months 
  • Offers variety of additional features for relatively low price

CONS: 

  • Charges an additional $15.00 for distribution to other PR sites
  • Most available features not included in free plan
  • Poor user experience with dated interface
  • No possibility for SEO optimization, embedded media, or revision services 
  • Weak media reach (40+ sources)

PR.com

This is the best option if you have a clear media target industry in mind. PR.com’s free plan includes up to 5 targeted industries, and publishing on PR.com and RSS feeds. The platform is sophisticated, easy to use, and offers a wide variety of advanced paid features.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Sends releases to subscriber list of opt-in journalists and end users
  • PDF versions of press releases easily available
  • Wide variety of advanced features
  • High DA
  • Offers free limited distribution to general search engines, some third party and news websites, and RSS feeds

CONS

  • Additional charge of $29.95 per link
  • Free plan has very limited reach

Online PR News

Online PR News is a great option if your press release is time sensitive. This platform offers free press release submission for 90 days, after which, it’s deleted. It’s easy to use and the free plan offers a downloadable PDF of your press release and a live URL link.

PROS:

  • Paid plans include wide variety of advanced features
  • PDF versions of all press releases easily available
  • Platform experience and interface is clear and visually appealing
  • Wide reach (5000+ sources)

CONS:

  • Free plan very limited and includes ads
  • Free plan doesn’t allow for images or anchor text links
  • Free press release deleted from site after 90 days
  • Additional features are expensive

Newswire Today

Newswire Today’s free plan offers press release distribution to their own site and around 2,000 basic RSS feeds. This, however, is available only for non-profit organizations. It does offer a wide variety of paid services specifically tailored to reach issuer goals.

PROS:

  • Each plan has wide selection of features to best suit goals
  • Free distribution to thousands of RSS feeds.

CONS:

  • Free plan very limited and includes ads
  • Free plan only available for non-profit organizations
  • Poor user experience with dated interface
  • Paid plans are expensive

Final thoughts on free press release distribution services

Well, a free press release distribution service might sound like a good option at first, but when you really look at the breakdown you realize the benefits are really only gained through the paid features. Sometimes, even with the paid features, the impact can be debatable.

Though it takes a little more time and effort, developing personal relationships with journalists is much more effective in the end and worth all the time and effort it takes. 
If this still seems like an approach that you don’t have bandwidth for, let us help. The PR experts at Intelligent Relations can offer a variety of bespoke services, from crafting your press release to building your target media contact list. Whatever you need, we have a solution.