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The Free Press Release Experiment Part Two

January 19th, 2012 8 comments

The Exciting Conclusion!

I know that you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for the results of my groundbreaking free press release experiment.

…not the edge?

At least the middle of your seat then…oh…not even that huh?

Mild curiosity?…come on, don’t make me beg.

Alright, so you’ve been mildly curious to learn the results of my free press release experiment.

Last week, I put together a little experiment to test the integrity of the free press release options on the web. Sure, there was a little scientific curiosity in the mix, but mostly this experiment was spurred by my lack of marketing budget for my new ebook Falling – Girl with Broken Wings.

 

I spent three hours putting together a press release announcing the book’s release and two hours submitting it to five press release websites:

The release went out on 01/11/12. It’s been a full week now, and the results are in. Was my five hours of time worth the investment? Do free press releases provide any type of reach? Am I now a multi-million dollar author who can afford to clone my favorite goldfish so that me and Hans the guppy will never be separated? (Hint: the answer to that last one is no, but I’ll find a way Hans. I swear it!)

They say that the vast majority of scientific experiments end in failure. It’s comforting to know that I’m in good company. Below is a screenshot of a Google search I did using the exact title of my press release.

 

You’ll see that I got a whopping three results. I’m no math major, but I do understand that, with the exception of the numbers one and two, three is pretty much as flimsy as it gets.

The top result is from the 24-7 Press Release website. The second result got picked up from I-Newswire, and the third result was from the PR Log site. It’s disappointing enough that these three companies provided only a single link each, but what the heck happened to Online PR News and PR.com? Does their free press release option distribute to an Internet that exists in an alternate reality (and do these alternate reality web suffers even have access to Amazon?)

It’s interesting to note that the press release I posted on this blog (not exactly a search engine powerhouse) made it to the second page of search results. Therefore, I can only conclude that this humble blog is a better PR site than PR.com and Online PR News. (Thus, I will soon be rolling out an online press release service called “Shy Writer Diamond Plan – sure, you’ll only get one link but we’re still better than Online PR News and PR.com”)

Just for kicks, I searched for the title of my press release on Google News, which brought back zero results. This was not surprising as most PR distribution services require payment to submit to Google News. Googling the full title of my book did not bring up any of the press releases on the first two search results pages. My efforts weren’t a total waste, though. I did learn that there is a song called “Girl With Broken Wings” by Manchester Orchestra.

By the way, I have heard a crazy rumor that other search engines exist that are not called Google. A quick Google search quickly laid these rumors to rest. (This is a joke. Bing and Yahoo! do exist, I think. I’ve never used them.)

Lastly, combing through the Google Analytics for my book’s website, I was not able to find any indication that my press release adventure had resulted in a bump in traffic.

These results point to a non-surprising, non-revolutionary conclusion that will not rock your world in any way, shape, or form (won’t even jostle your world a little bit). Free…sometimes sucks.

If you are looking for a cheap way to market your company, I suggest taping your cat for five hours. You’re bound to catch it doing something that will garner a few hundred hits on YouTube. Adding your company’s website address in the video’s background should result in some decent exposure, certainly more than you’d get by spending five hours putting out a press release through free websites.

Don’t have a cat? Well, then you might need to dole out some bucks. Most of the same press release companies I used in my experiment offer basic distribution packages starting at $22 on Online PR News and $49 on 24-7 Press Release. I-Newswire offers monthly packages, PR Log is a free press release site, and PR.com…well, that site just looks ghetto. I’d recommend staying away unless you want to get your car jacked as soon as you look the other way.

In the past, I’ve used the 24-7 Press Release $49 service with decent results. They put together a nice report with over a dozen links to distribution sites, which I appreciate.

I know that there are additional press release sites out there on the net. Some of them may even have free options with a little more push behind them, but I’ve learned my lesson. Free press releases aren’t worth the effort. Plus, I don’t have time at the moment. I’ve got to go walk the fish.

The Free Press Release Experiment

January 13th, 2012 3 comments

So, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. I’ve released my ebook, Falling, and I want to let everyone know about it, but I have a marketing budget of roughly zero dollars.

Luckily, chance/fortune/providence/a broken condom saw to it that I ended up right here in this time and place where access to bunches and bunches of people was just as easy turning on Torgo (my laptop) and hopping online.

Free is the new black, so why not take advantage?

The traditional way to announce an important piece of news was to launch a press release. Now, many people are satisfied with posting an update on Facebook and Twitter. Press releases are still around however, and so are a growing number of press release distributors (the companies that actually release the press releases to news and media networks).

I’ve written many press releases; first as a worker bee at a public relations agency, and more recently for my own clients as part of my copywriting business, Endeavor Writing.

There are some top tier (means expensive) press release distribution sites like PR Newswire and BusinessWire that PR agencies typically use to cast a huge net. There’s also a growing crop of smaller distributors. These guys don’t have quite the distribution muscle of the big guns, but they’re also within the budget of most small business owners. Some even offer free press release options.

Free, the magic word.

I’ve always been curious about these free options. I’m well aware that they don’t have the distribution power behind them of a paid press release, but do they get any love at all?

No time like the present and a non-existent budget to try it out. Earlier this week, I spent roughly three hours creating and polishing a press release. It wasn’t one of my best, but I am a big believer in the idea that “perfection is the enemy of actually getting stuff done”. Next, it was time to hunt down these free press release sites, upload my little baby and see what happened.

On 01/11/2012, I ended up submitting to five different sites that offer free press release distribution options:

In all cases, these sites offered a free press release option that was ad supported. That means my baby could very well be announcing my book and pushing weight loss diet pills at the same time. It’s not a comforting thought, but I’ve little room to complain.

Most of the programs restricted free press releases to one per week, or even one per month. Understandably, the free press releases were allowed very few extras in the way of category choices, keyword options and image inclusion. Bare bones means bare bones. In fact, only one company – PR Log – allowed me to add an image.

On a side note, PR Log is a free press release site and was, by far, the easiest site to use. Many of the other sites kept hounding me to switch to a paying option throughout the submission process. One company in particular – I-Newswire – was really bad about this.

It took me just under two hours to submit my press release to these five sites, making it a five hour adventure from start to finish. Now we’ll see if my time was well spent. I’ve created Google Alerts for a few terms related to my book. These alerts will pick up any mentions across the web and let me know what type of distribution my press release got. I’ll also be checking the Google Analytics on my book website to see if any traffic was generated from these websites.

All in all, I think I should be able to track the results of this experiment pretty well. I’ll give the press release a couple of days to land, and then I’ll report back the results on this blog.

On a last note, if you are considering performing this same experiment, don’t rush the process. Make sure you develop a compelling press release (Google “How to Write a Press Release” for help). You’ll need to create an account with every press release distribution service that you use. You’ll also find that each company has a slightly different submission process. Some of these sites are not very intuitive. Some of these sites, in fact, seem to take some malicious pleasure in watching you impotently click on every conceivable links searching for where you can actually submit your god damn press release! Read all of the instructions carefully and double check everything before you submit. Once your press release is out, it’s out.

THE CHANGE IS ONLY THE BEGINNING IN J BENNETT’S DEBUT NOVEL, FALLING

January 11th, 2012 No comments

Falling, A Paranormal Ebook Now Available For $0.99

 

SAN DIEGO, Jan 11, 2012 — Fans of paranormal fiction are in for a treat when they pick up a copy of J Bennett’s debut novel, Falling, which was released as an ebook January 5th for $0.99. Readers will appreciate the quirky and unapologetic narration of the novel’s protagonist, Maya, as she explains how her normal college life was shattered when she was kidnapped and changed into something beyond human.

 

J Bennett lavishes care on her characters as she slowly unwinds a story filled with paranormal action, wry humor, and terse family drama. The strong narrative voice of the novel feels natural and engaging as Maya faces a new life, a new family and a new body.

 

During the change, Maya’s senses sharpen, her body becomes strong and agile, and she develops the ability to visually see the emotions of those around her as colorful auras…beautiful auras…tempting auras.

 

Struggling to control the murderous appetite that fuels her new abilities, Maya must accept her altered condition and learn to trust two vigilante half-brothers she never knew she had. As she joins the battle against a secret network of powerful and destructive beings that call themselves “Angels”, Maya vows to find and destroy the one who changed her.

 

“The novel includes plenty of action as well as exciting paranormal elements,” said author J Bennett. “But at its core, Falling is about family. Maya and her brothers confront extraordinary challenges, both internally and externally, and the only way to survive is to learn to trust each other.”

 

Falling, at approximately 70,000 words, is the first novel in the Girl With Broken Wings series. The ebook is available for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. As an introductory promotion, the novel will retail for $0.99 throughout the month of January and will then increase to its regular retail price of $2.99. The second novel in the series, Landing, is slated for release in 2013. A novella that takes place between the first and second book is also in the works and will be released in the second half of 2012.

 

J Bennett is a professional copywriter and copyeditor as well as an author. She lives and writes in San Diego. To learn more about Falling or to read the first part of the novel, visit www.GirlWithBrokenWings.com. J Bennett also writes the blog www.ShyWriter.com.

 

Falling contains some violence and explicit language, and may not be appropriate for children and younger teens.