There are a number of ways to put out a press release in a cost-effective manner. It all depends on how much time and money you have, how many media pickups you are aiming for, and how high-quality those pickups are.
Doing it yourself
In order to issue a press release yourself, you first need to research the names and contact information of journalists who cover your niche or industry. Visit some of the top sites and blogs, see what types of things the writers cover, and get their full name and email address. You might have to dig for the contact information, and perhaps even put in a phone call to the publication.
This is the cheapest solution for sending out a press release, but the preliminary research can be very time-consuming.
So, too, can tracking your media pickups. The goal it to get as many placements as possible, but not all journalists you contact will let you know if they have chosen your press release as the basis for one of their columns. You will have to track your results yourself on your spreadsheet, which can also take a lot of time. Setting a Google alert for mentions of your company can help.
Free distribution services
Free distribution services can help you connect with many more journalists than you trying to do it yourself using your own database. However, some marketers complain about the quality of the pickups. They also complain about the level of reporting regarding how many media pickups you get when you issue a release.
In general, it is a cost-effective way to connect with a much wider audience without having to do anything other than copy and paste your (really interesting) press release into the distribution service interface.
Paid distribution services
There are a number of reputable press release distribution services that are favored by journalists looking for ideas for their columns. Prices vary considerably, depending on the level of service offered. For example, some services will actually have a professional write the press release for you, while others will edit your press release as needed. Those which publish press releases which are required for publically traded companies to announce their quarterly financial results tend to be the most expensive.
One way to make these services more affordable is to stick to the basic service with no frills added. You can also often get a substantial discount if you are willing to buy a package of press release publication slots, such as 3, 4 or 12. You will have to pay for them up front, but buying in bulk can lower the price of each release considerably.
Another thing to consider when it comes to determining the best value for money and how good your return on investment (ROI) will be is to look at the level of reporting the service offers. They should track your media pickups for at least a month after publication. They should provide a list of the top pickups, and the number of actions on your page, such as clicks, downloads of a free special report, and so on.
Before paying for any press release distribution service, ask how many journalists tend to use the site, and how regularly.
Finally, be sure you know the rules of the road when it comes to writing a professional press release. It’s a waste of time and money if your release is just going to get passed over because it isn’t good enough compared to the hundreds of others being published that day.