The number of press release services out there is mind boggling.
I am an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) with a niche software program, and I'd like to send out a Press Release to the software industry when my Version 1.0 is ready.
Which service would you recommend, and which would you not recommend?
I ended up using PR*Urgent at: www.prurgent.com They have an automated system that gets your announcement out within a few hours.
They have different levels of announcement: Free, Express ($10) and Sponsored ($25).
I had good success with them. The news got out to hundreds of sites quickly, and was thereby seen and posted by important bloggers in my industry. This brought several weeks of relevant directed traffic to my site. The links remain at the sites and left me with more traffic daily than I started with.
Also they have a lot of good writing tips on how to properly and effectively write Press Releases at their site, along with all the releases they issue so you can compare style and substance.
For news-like announcements (e.g. announcement of the 2009 awards at my site), there is nothing like a Press Release. Don't believe Web Tech Guy.
IMHO press release services are useless. Your goal is to have an outlet pick up your press release and write about your release. Putting it on the wires will not get that to happen, unless you have some special spin in the headline. "Netscape Founder launches 1.0 of niche product" would likely get picked up. "Random Company You've Never Heard of Launches Product You've Never Heard Of" will not get any copy written.
Philosophically, press releases are very 1.0. They imply top-down communication of information from the press to the readers. That's not a good model for what happens today, and that fact has eroded the value of press releases. Conversations with interested people are where you want to be.
Better to post it on your blog, twitter, and to any relevant sites you can think of. Send personal notes to the editors of those sites and ask them to include your release. They get a ton of these, so make yours stand out. Then, white-hat SEO your blog like crazy. Keep posting relevant content to your blog and twitter. 1.0.1 deserves as much press as 1.0. Get loud and stay loud.
First of all, press releases ARE very good for communicating directly to customers, prospects and the media. Some of our clients get news briefs just by issuing a press release over the wire (if the news is relevant, which is whole other discussion). Press releases also provide valuable backlinks to your site, and build credibility for your business. Your prospects will certainly search for info about your co on the web and it's great to have a press release on dozens of news sites.
That said, with newswires, you get what you pay for. I would recommend going with one of the big three -- PR Newswire, Business Wire or Market Wire. I have most experience with PR Newswire and Bizwire. You also get great reports!
You will have a better chance of the media seeing your press release with one of the paid services AND they distribute to thousands of sites, providing valuable backlinks. Some of the Internet press release services do not have the same level of stature with the media IMO.
They also have professional editors who look over your press release - but they do not write it for you. That being said, be careful to write your release in an editorial style, not marketing speak, to ensure the media takes you seriously.
For more tips, you can visit my site www.WebPRpro.com. Happy to help. Good luck!
Bonnie at WebPRpro.com
I just came across this blog post about free press release sites: http://www.ryanlee.com/make-more-money/10-free-press-release-services/. I have not looked into in any depth but it looks interesting.