Press release distribution services are publishing millions of news stories every year. In 2016, a report showed that PR experts published an average of 1,092 press releases. For the whole year, PR professionals cranked out 236,356 press releases.
We all know that these releases don’t come cheap. There may be free services available, but companies who offer paid services charge between $200 to $1,200 per release. Based on these figures, the result is $47 million to $283 million in payments made to Press release distribution and PR services.
The question is, do they still work?
Shift Communications has extracted a sampling of 1,052 releases from 2016 and came up with these key metrics:
number of clicks : 0
social media shares: 2
inbound links: 1
MozTrust score : 0
MozRank score : 0
Based on the data above, no one is clicking on the releases, and no one is sharing them as well.
The Panda update is one of the reasons for this since it was implemented by Google a few years earlier. Press releases do not generate organic links anymore due to the mandatory no-follow links.
Spending between $200 to $1,200 for a release that does not get results is too much. The same amount can be allocated to hire a blogger who can write original content for your website which may get more significant results.
This is the reason why some companies don’t hire press release distribution companies anymore.
Even some PR firms don’t recommend these services anymore. They just keep their reservations to themselves when a client signs up for one of those expensive release services.
The content that you promote using press releases seldom rank at all; they are also never found in search results. Many providers are also scam artists who are fleecing clients of their money.
If you want to get in front of the right audience, the best thing to do is to make a list of target sites where your content is relevant. These sites should also be high authority sites online.
There are tools from SEMRush and Buzzsumo that can help give you the needed information regarding these metrics. List down 25 to 50 sites and find out how you can get in contact with them.
There are platforms like Newswire that can offer companies a means to target and message online influencers. Do the needed research and preparation before you make a pitch to the influencer, read their articles and find out what they are interested in. Offer content that will benefit them like images or videos that will help the influencer write a great article.
If you choose to hire a press release distribution service, proper monitoring of bad backlinks should be done on a regular basis so that Google will not penalize you and think you are spamming PR distribution sites.
Press releases are also sent in mass emails which looks like spam to many. Any PR practitioner should not do the mass pitching. Company news and announcements can be written in blog posts just like Google does.
Spend on SEO strategies that cost way lower and are more effective. A press release has no value whatsoever in your SEO. There are also a lot of other marketing tools that can give you a better ROI.
Reports are generated by distribution services that contain many charts, graphs, and stats that clients do not understand. There may be huge numbers involved like views and reach, but the bottom line is what ROI did you get from the release?
This is the beef some companies have with these reports, they can’t address the ROI question directly because most of the time there are no results at all despite the enormous numbers and statistics they present when it comes to other metrics.