Home > Marketing, Public Relations > The Free Press Release Experiment Part Two

The Free Press Release Experiment Part Two

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.

  1. January 21st, 2012 at 19:35 | #1

    Great post, and I love your sense of humor! Although I’m sorry your venture proved to be fruitless, I was glad to read this post. I too posted a free press release on those sites, and got zilch out of it. I don’t think I’ve had one click to my site from any of them. Lesson learned here as well. I think we might be better of painting “Ask me about my book!” on our cars than using the free services.

  2. January 21st, 2012 at 21:48 | #2

    Have some patience. I just did the search for your book and it is doing much better today. I have found PRlog to be good. Do a search on my story “How To Identify Top Sales People Before You Hire Them” released 1/07 and you’ll see PRlog did quite well.

  3. January 22nd, 2012 at 16:07 | #3

    I enjoyed your post………..very informative………..

  4. January 23rd, 2012 at 04:35 | #4

    I understand your disappointment but to be honest with you I am not sure your using the tool correctly?
    If your not getting picked up by news wires there is something in your article that is not getting traction with out going into detail I could only guess why..
    what were you trying to accomplish by doing a press release?

    We have been doing press releases and having successes along with Google picking them up as well,if the story is compelling enough if might get looked at by someone that may need a story to write.

    Good luck with your book

    • JBennz
      January 25th, 2012 at 01:29 | #5

      Hi Pete, I’m glad you’re having more luck with your press release campaigns. Just curious, are you using free services or paid? I’ve used paid services with some of my copywriting clients and have gotten good results. This experiment was all about seeing if I could get any reach with the free press release services. I’m sure quality of the press release is a factor, but I also think that the free releases just don’t get a lot of love from the distribution companies. What services have you used that you’ve found to be successful?

  5. January 23rd, 2012 at 04:36 | #6

    on other thing are you including links back to your site or landing page using key words?

  6. January 23rd, 2012 at 11:27 | #7

    Wow, that’s disappointing. I’m getting lots better results than that just from my LinkedIn network and my own website. Take a look at the results from a google search of “Street People Tales”

  7. January 23rd, 2012 at 16:39 | #8

    Thanks for your article. It was useful and entertaining. It will save me hours of work… Marketing new books is a task, but I’ve just decided to send out 3-5 new announcements every day for the next 30 days with each book release…. I think with time and attrition, we will all become more fruitful in our goals as ebook authors. I wish you success. I don’t have gold fish, but I have wisdom on prosperity by the power of our mouth. If you are interested, check out my latest ebook at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Dr.LalitaSmith

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