Free Vs Paid Press Release Services: Know the Differences Before Making a Decision

Boris Cumboby:


Paid press release services provide tiered distribution plans, depending on how widely you want your press release to be distributed. But, there are free press services that you don’t have to pay for anything.

Now you’re up to make a decision. And no-cost pr distribution service seems so tempting to try. Paid distribution costs a few to hundreds of dollars even you buy the basic plan.

If you want to know how you can make a good decision, read on to see the differences between them. There are big differences between the two and some major advantages selecting a paid press release service over a free one.

Remember that you may be making a big announcement about your business. If you’re not going to make the most of your distribution, there’s a tendency that your campaign will fail.

What is a press release distribution service?

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A press release distribution service or newswire is used by brands to announce their news to the public. When you distribute release via a service, your news reaches different sites and locations giving you the boost for your exposure and brand awareness.

Journalists use newswires to find releases. They use it to find industry trends, fact-checking and look for feature stories. For the media with a strict deadline, using it streamline their work of research to ensure that the information is factual.

There are two kinds of distribution services: paid and free newswires:

What are paid distribution services?

From the word “paid,” the brand pays for the distribution of its story across different channels. The cost depends on the type of plan they are going to get. The pricing varies on the extent of distribution, features, and add-on.

What are free distribution services?

Free press services publish your news only to their sites for a certain period of time. It doesn’t reach any other sites or locations.

Here are the most notable differences between the two distribution platforms:

Price The cost depends on the package. The basic plan runs from $99 up It’s free. Some services ask for a payment to distribute it to other sites
Traffic It attracts site traffic, especially if the release is optimized for the search engines. Receives little to no traffic
Media Coverage There’s a possibility that you get mentions or coverage. There’s no chance that you’ll get coverage.
Media Distribution Your release reaches different reporters, influencers, sites, and locations. It appears on Google News and Yahoo. It is only published on their own websites for a limited period.
Analytics report Newswires provide monitoring reports to give you insights of your campaign. There is no monitoring.
Customer service or support Most press services have a team of customer service staff who assist clients. The majority of free sites have no customer service support from beginning to end.
Access to journalists Journalists who subscribed to the service’s RSS feeds will receive your story once it goes live. Journalists can’t subscribe to RSS feeds.
Audience Targeting It provides industry-specific and geo-targeting, so it reaches your target audience. It’s not targeted that’s why it is impossible for you to get noticed by your audience.
Writing Service Some sites offer writing services for an additional fee. Most free sites don’t offer a  writing service.
Multimedia Inclusion Most paid wires allow the inclusion of images, videos, and audios. You can’t include it in your release.


Paid newswires ask for a fee in exchange for their features and services. The saying, “You get what you pay for” applies here.

Using paid newswires may cost a few to a thousand dollars because they can produce the result. If you are making a big announcement for your business, such as business launching, new product or service launching, making a big collaboration, reaching a milestone, or receiving an award, you need a press release service that will distribute it far and wide.

It can be accomplished only by paid newswires. You pay for the package they offer. In exchange for your payment, they are going to give you their promised result.

Paid newswires can help boost your site traffic because your news appears on Google News, Yahoo, and Bing. If your content is optimized, it can also be on top of the search engine result pages (SERPs), contributing to more traffic.

It offers tiered plans that provide a different set of features. Your story reaches different sites and locations giving you a wide exposure and reach.

The higher the cost of the plan, the wider the distribution and the more features. The basic plan usually costs $99 up.

Although press release distribution doesn’t guarantee media coverage, getting a paid service can increase the possibility to get mentions and publicity. Since your news reaches the journalists through RSS feeds, they can get your news once it goes on the wire.

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If you’re getting a monthly or annual plan, they will notice you. Writing newsworthy and relevant stories can easily catch their attention. They will notice you and may find you as a great source of information or an expert in your field. The more frequent your distribution is, the higher the possibility of getting publicity.

You’ll get analytics reports as part of the package. You’ll gain insights into the metrics like page views, click-through rates, open rates, engagement rates, and so on.

Getting insights into your campaign is very important because it helps you improve your nest campaigns. You’ll be able to spot the errors and identify what works.

Most paid sites have customer service staff or support who assist their clients throughout the process. Take, for instance, Newswire that has been awarded and rated 5/5 by most review platforms due to its excellent customer service.

Their customer service helps brands from beginning to the end of their campaign. They accommodate questions and return to their clients the soonest time possible.

If you don’t have writers to write your release, most paid wire services offer a writing service for an extra fee. It makes your task easier because you no longer have to think about how you’ll craft your own story.

These days, including multimedia assets in content, is important. Your story gets more reads, clicks, and shares on social media. It promotes engagement and can make your story go viral.

Paid services are legitimate sites that have high authority and credibility. It gets your story in front of your target customers because it offers geo-targeting and industry-specific targeting.

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On the other hand, free sites lack most of the features mentioned above. Since it is “free,” you should lower your expectations when it comes to getting results.

These sites would encourage their clients to get upgrades which is not free. They will encourage you to pay for services like posting live links or publishing your release beyond the limited time frame.

Your release is posted on their sites with several links including Google ads. Sometimes those links would direct to the page of your competitors.   

Releases with too many links look “spammy.” Google doesn’t like it and may treat you as a low authority site.

Your news has limited exposure because it is only published on free sites. This means that only few people can get your news or are able to know it. What if you have a breaking story to share?

Don’t expect to see your news in front of the newspaper or heard on the radio. Your news is buried on their sites for a limited time.

That means that it can only be seen by people who know their site. There is little to no chance that your story will be covered by the media.  

Once you distribute your content via the free wire service, you will not know the outcome of your campaign. There are no monitoring reports, so it is impossible to track its performance. You have no clue how many people read it, how many people visited your site, how much engagement rate you acquired, and so on.

If your goal is to increase sales, boost brand awareness, or become a thought leader, it is impossible to achieve it. Since you don’t know the performance of your campaign, it’s possible for you to repeat the same mistakes in distribution.

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You don’t know what works, and what’s not. You don’t have any reference to improve your future stories.

Unlike paid sites that allow the inclusion of images, videos, and other visual elements, free sites don’t offer this feature. Your potential to be seen via social media is restricted. It impacts your exposure and your chance to promote awareness.

If paid sites provide a writing service, don’t assume that you can find it with no-cost press release sites. Free sites have a very limited feature that’s why it’s called “free.”

A zero-cost option may provide you with the freedom to invest in other aspects of your business. However, it doesn’t create much impact. You may save a huge chunk of your investment but there’s no result.

If you’re expecting some improvement in your business, a free wire service is not the answer. It requires a lot of legwork on your part. And it’s not a reliable solution to your content and marketing campaign.

Use a paid release service even though it charges you. The impact matters a lot.

Although getting a no-cost service can be inviting, it’s not recommendable especially for brands that are announcing major news. Again, Google labels most of those free sites spam.

If you have an important story to tell, get a paid service to distribute it. There are a lot of options in the market, such as PR Newswire, Newswire, Marketwired, and a lot more.

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