One of our clients surprised us today, they let us know that they signed up for a Press Release Distribution service recommended by one of their partners where they could distribute their press release to over 500 different sites. I immediately groaned… here's why:
- Press Release Distribution services don't rank the content you promote at all, so unless someone's actively listening for specific press releases, they're often never found in search results.
- Press Release Distribution services are overrun by terrible, irrelevant companies. The resulting link often requires disavowed in Webmasters to reduce the risk of hurting your search engine results.
- Press Release Distribution services are ineffective. When we last used them we'd see virtually no traffic and no impact on visitors, search, or any other benefit.
If it sounds too easy, it's because it is. And not only is it too easy, spending a few bucks today can cause you thousands of dollars in time spent later to research and disavow the links.
Press Release Promotion over Distribution
If you really want to get in front of the right audiences on the right sites, the best process for you is to develop a list of target sites where your content is highly relevant and the sites are authoritative online. A great way to check for relevance is through existing search engine rankings using a tool like Semrush or popularity through a site like Buzzsumo.
If you can identify 25 to 50 sites that are both authoritative and popular on the topic, now you can do some digging and identify how to get in contact with the site owner. Platforms like Cision offer a company with the means to target and message influencers from those sites. Their systems also provide options for automating repeated requests, reporting on the impact of your public relations outreach, and even allow for feedback or opt-outs from the targeted journalist or influencer.
Spend some time producing a great pitch. Read a few posts from the influencer's site to get a feel for what kind of writing they do and what information they might need. Then craft a message to them informing them over your news, what angle it could be given on the site, and offer up any other assets like images or videos so the influencer can easily put together an article.
With this client, we've had them on one key television show regionally, we've had them mentioned in each regional business news resource, and we've had several mentions across key publications in the industry. The overall impact has been amazing and the site continues to rank well for relevant keywords.
However, given this distribution, we're now having to monitor the site for bad backlinks since we don't want their organic search rankings to suffer if Google believes they're out spamming PR distribution sites for backlinks. So, not only did the distribution not work, it's causing us additional grief as we monitor the site's rankings and organic search engine authority.