Paid & Free Press Release Submission Sites (for 2021) | Publicize

Something we’re often asked is where do you send a press release and what are the best free press release submission sites and press release distribution services.

So if you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve already written one and now need to find out how to do a press release submission. That’s why we’ve fully updated our guide to the best press release submission sites for 2021.

If you’re still yet to actually write one though, you can learn everything you need to know about writing a press release in our Ultimate Startup Press Release Guide. You can also download our press release template and examples here, to make the process super easy.

First things first, we need to talk about SEO

As we were writing the updated version of this page, we did what all good copywriters do and reviewed the other page-one search results on Google. To our surprise, a lot of the advice around backlinking for SEO was way, way out of date. Some of the pages were dated as far back as 2009, and as SEO years are similar to cat years, the advice was from another era.

The general consensus[3] within the SEO industry is that press release submission sites are no longer an effective means of earning beneficial backlinks[4]. Long story short, a few years ago Google got fed up[5] with people abusing these platforms to gain backlinks.

As a result most reputable press release submission websites now set all backlinks placed in press releases as nofollow[6] by default. This means no link equity[7] is passed onto the site that’s being linked to. While some paid and free press release distribution services still offer follow backlinks, the benefit is going to be negligible in 2021.

However, all this talk of using press release submission sites to earn backlinks slightly misses the point. If this is what you’re after, then these websites should just be seen as a means to an end. They provide a platform for journalists to look for stories. And if a journalist writes up one of these press releases as an article in a news publication site, the backlink in this article will pass link equity. So it’s through earned media wins that you can combine PR and SEO[8].

Here’s a blog post[9] we wrote about this subject, which explains the history and the current state of play in way more detail.

What is a press release?

A press release is a document that communicates your startup announcements to journalists in an effective way. 

Press releases have formulaic structures that are designed to get a company’s message across as clearly as possible. 

We know, writing press releases can be tricky. 

Yet, writing press releases is a valuable art that can propel your startup into the spotlight of industry influencers and journalists.

Where do I submit a press release?

While you’ve no doubt landed on this page as your looking for press release submission sites, it’s important to fully understand the context and process here. There are, broadly speaking, two main routes for sending out a press release:

  • Send a press release directly to journalists, in the hope they’ll write it up into an article. Our Ultimate Startup Press Release Guide[10] provides a step by step guide on how to do this.
  • Publish a press release onto press release submission sites. This is what this guide focuses on.

Moreover, as the news industry has changed so much over the last decade or so, these press release platforms have also evolved in order to stay relevant. 

Many of them now offer loads of other services such as contact information databases, social media influencer access, media monitoring and PR analytics. 

For example, sites dedicated solely to video press release services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses big or small. Video press releases allow businesses to visualise their story,  tapping into the growing consumer desire for video-based content.

What is a press release submission?

Press release submission websites are platforms that allow you to publish press releases that you’ve written. These platforms then serve as useful sources of news for journalists and reporters who are looking for stories. [Dodgy metaphor alert] Think of them as wholesalers or stockists for the news industry.

Here’s a really good video from Newswire[11], who are one of the industry leaders, explaining how their service works.

What is the difference between a paid and a free press release submission site?

There are both fee-paying and free press release submission sites available.

The free online press release submission services are very basic as you’ll see from the below list. If your objective is to earn media coverage is recognized publications, then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll achieve this using free submission sites. Therefore, set your expectations accordingly and just see these services as a way of getting a small bit of exposure at zero cost (although some question if this is even worth the effort).

It’s said that some free press release submission sites are great for technophobes given their easy-to-use interface. Trust us, though. Sacrificing quality for usability is a sure-fire way to condemn your press release to a journalist’s spam folder.

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