Online press release distribution is key in your total PR campaign to let the pet business media, customers, prospects, and other key publics learn about your business, and what's new with your business.
Press release distribution can also be a terrific tool to help you garner higher Google, and other search engine, placement for key words that are important to your company and your product.
Free vs Paid
What are the differences between free and paid sites? A quick review...
Generally speaking, most paid sites will provide you with not only the ability to gain Google, and other search engine placements, but they will also provide you with statistics and metrics to see who and how many have viewed your press release.
Free online sites can be just as effective as paid sites in my opinion, but it does depend on your goal. While in some cases you may not be able to track how many people and who have viewed your press releases, they can get very good Google, and other search engine placements; many times getting the front page of Google for key search terms related to your announcement.
In addition, I see more and more pet business medias utilizing Google (and other search engine) searches, as well as press release sites, in gaining information, and new product and company announcements, just as much as searching some of the paid press release sites.
Free press release sites do have some limitations that paid sites can provide, like adding images, or multiple hyperlinks to your press releases. In many cases you can add those elements, but there is an additional cost on free sites. Most importantly, there is usually a delay in when the free press release will be pushed out online (sometimes 2-3 days). So if you have very timely news, paid press release sites are definitely the way to go.
What I recommend
In most all cases, I recommend my clients utilize several free press release sites to distribute their press release online, unless they have an extremely timely topic that would require getting the word out immediately. I also do the same when getting out announcements about my business.
I have found that it is a bit more time consuming and sometimes challenging to the 'computer novice' to submit your press release to these free sites. Like anything else that's new to you, there is a learning curve. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Also I have found that when utilizing free or paid sites, there isn't really any difference in how my press release for my business or my clients gets results. Free or paid, I see the same results in Google (and other search engine) placement, contacts and more.
Again, it depends on your goal before making a final decision on free vs paid.
A quick listing of my favorite press release sites
Pitch Engine - Pitch Engine is by far my favorite free press release distribution site.The only draw back is that now they only keep your press release up for free for 30 days. But the interface is very attractive and can make your business really stand out. And the social media sharing aspect is spot on with there system. You can purchase services from Pitch Engine to keep your press release up for a longer period.
PR.com - One of my primary recommendations for free press release distribution.
24-7 - I have had good luck in getting front page Google placement for key word searches with 24-7.
PRlog - Another one of my top free sites, allows links in free press releases.
PetPress.net - This site is free with approval of your press release. And specific to the pet business trade.
Pitch Engine - Even though I've listed Pitch Engine as one of my favorite free sites, they are also one of my favorite paid sites. Great interface, ease of use, and more.
Marketwire - One of the top three most visited online paid press release sites by journalists and medias.
Businesswire - Another top paid online press release site for distribution.
PRNewswire - One of the top three most visited online paid press release sites.
PRWeb - I see a lot of pet businesses utilizing this paid service and getting good results.
Online press distribution is only one part of your PR plan
Remember, online press distribution is only one part of your PR plan, albeit an important one. Other PR elements also play a very important part in your plan, from fashioning and scripting the writing of your press release to differentiate your business and your product or event, to distribution to pet business media and more.