When it comes to national U.S. press release distribution there are a lot of companies promising to deliver media attention to a press release. In the age of information overload for journalists this is a big promise to make. What’s not so apparent? The nitty gritty details of pricing and reach of such services. That’s where we come in to help.
by Clark Covington
1 - Let’s Get Specific
To be more specific, there are many different types of PR distribution platforms selling services online today. Some national press release distribution services will send releases through a syndicated newswire, while others reach out to journalists via email. Yet others have sponsored content placements on specific sites to appear as if the media placed the content on the site.
This post aims to deliver concise information on what each major press release distribution service offers, and how much it will cost.”
We provide a list of the most notable seven national PR distribution platforms. Are there others? Absolutely. We choose the ones most likely to be used by small businesses and startups, as well as corporate professionals and PR agencies to send releases without an ongoing membership fee or other specialty service bundled on top.
Not included are online news aggregators like PR Web, since the focus here is on true online press release distribution to real media members, rather than pure media syndication across paid placements. Though many services offer some form of online aggregation as a value-add for using their distribution service, so you might find some of this mentioned below.
2 - Top Seven U.S. National Press Release Distributions with Pricing
Without further ado, here is a list, in no particular order, of the seven major press release distribution platforms with cost per national distribution, word count limits, and reach.
Brand: PR Newswire
Features: National U.S. distribution over newswire, online content syndication, and email outreach
Reach: 4,000 websites, 3,000 media outlets, 550 news content systems
Word count limit: 400 (fee of $245 for each additional 100 words)
Fee for images and videos: Yes, as of this 2017 report, here are the rates we were able to find - images, video and audio $325. Logo file is $495. Additional multimedia files are priced at $299. Multimedia files will appear on up to 2,500 sites with your release.
Distribution cost range: $1,000+ (we are including national distribution cost of $805 with required membership cost of $195)
PR person’s take: Using PR Newswire over the years has proven effective, but costly. The service becomes cumbersome to use if you are a small business or agency with a limited budget
Brand: Business Wire
Features: Patented news network, unique content formatting, good for investor relations releases, delivers to newsrooms including Associated Press, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg. Bonus free distribution to 200 vertical market categories
Reach: Does not disclose, but notes reach of over 100,000 media members worldwide
Word count limit: 400 (fee of $220 for each 100 additional words)
Fee for images and videos: Yes (each release comes with free logo distribution, otherwise fees range from $425 for each multimedia file, and $225 for each additional. Distribution is to AP’s 3,500 media points via their multimedia platform)
Distribution cost range: $905+ (we are including the national distribution rate of $795 with the required global mobile social measurable report fee of $110)
PR person’s take: Use this service often, and find it effective for general branding and announcement releases. Costly to use on a national level, and BW requires you to buy their social analytics report that clients would often prefer to do without to avoid the $110 fee
Features: Described as a top national distribution service, partnered with AP, and sending to media in all 50 states
Reach: Full list can be found here. One industry is included, and $199 fee is levied for additional industries
Word count limit: 500. For more words the cost is not specified
Fee for images and videos: Featured image included. Unspecified fee for embedding video
Distribution cost: $799
PR person’s take: Never used before. Looks like they partner with PR Newswire for online distribution. If you review their checkout process many upsells are offered that can easily take the rate of distribution into the thousands of dollars per release
Brand: Faselis Growth
Features: Large database of updated journalists segmented by industry. PR sent directly to the inbox of the journalist with real-time reporting on who opened the release and when
Reach: 10,000+ journalists nationwide
Word count limit: No limit. Since this service is focused on emailing journalists directly, users craft releases similar to an email with all the functionality you’d expect from one
Fee for images and videos: No image or multimedia fees
Distribution cost: $350 per national release. No additional fees for adding specific industries or target distribution lists
PR person’s take: Full disclosure I am a consultant for this company. Overall I’ve been very happy with the product. Real-time reporting and several stories picked up on my first distribution with Faselis Growth. Easy to use and very good at reaching press directly in their inbox
Features: Writing and press release distribution over a traditional newswire to media outlets - print, broadcast, etc., and online via AP, Reuters and more
Reach: 6,500 media outlets and the AP. More of a drill down of distribution lists found here
Word count limit: 1,200. Though the max is 1,200, a typical release should be no more than 400 or so words if possible. The reason for brevity is ,as you’d expect, media members are inundated with unsolicited news, and thus concise releases are preferred and will get read more
Fee for images and videos: No, free photo or multimedia included. Though it is likely there are some limitations to sending vast amounts of media through the wire, it is best to contact them to get more specifics
Distribution cost range: $199+
PR person’s take: Been around over 30 years and seem to offer a good value for distribution. Have not personally used the service
Features: National distribution service with simplified fees and distribution selection and list targeting
Reach: 1,500+ media outlets. Most info on the distribution specifics is gated behind the opt-in form to sign up
Word count limit: No. This is part of the company pitch - no word count, link limit, image limit, and so forth
Fee for images and videos: No. As mentioned above the company aims to target users that are frustrated with upsells and additional fees
Distribution cost: $695
PR person’s take: Product seems popular for investor relations, and publicly traded company releases. Accesswire have been certified as a Fair Disclosure Newswire for NASDAQ, NYSE, London Stock Exchange, and more
Brand: News Direct
Features: Send releases and standalone multimedia quickly at a fixed price
Reach: Does not offer specifics. 1,000’s of media outlets and websites according to website
Word count limit: No. The platform boasts of no per word overage fees. In an interview with founder Gregg Castano, it is mentioned that word count fees are a legacy of the old format of the new release business. This is when actual reproduction of content was inputted into a wire by hand, word-by-word, creating a labor cost, whereas now there is no such thing, thus no need for overage fees
Fee for images and videos: Yes. $500 per asset - whether it be written release, image, video, etc. Logos are included free. So if you were to send a written press release, and want to include an image other than your company logo, it would be an additional $500 as we interpret the pricing model
Distribution cost: $500 per asset
PR person’s take: Founded by the former Business Wire CEO, this new service looks intriguing, especially for those interested in a cost-effective way to distribute multimedia over the wire as standalone PR pieces
3 - Key Takeaways
The press release distribution landscape is a complex one. There are many companies targeting small and midsize businesses. Some offer bespoke software products to reach national media, while others rely on partnerships with established newswires and layer their service on top of it.
Many of the leading newswire services charge one fee for a standard national distribution, and additional fees for sending to additional distribution lists, adding on images, multimedia assets, and increasing word count.
With online PR becoming more common among businesses of all sizes, there is increased competition to get media attention. The distribution platforms that offer multimedia and specialized industry segmentation are well-positioned to assist in a release getting noticed by the media.
Clark Covington is a 17-year PR industry veteran. Covington’s firm, Brand Exercise, has helped land placements for clients on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN, and BBC, on shows like Today, Undercover Boss, and Shark Tank. Covington has also worked internally on PR teams for top-50 university Northeastern and national magazine Autoweek.