What Should It Cost to Distribute a Press Release?

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In our content-saturated world, attention has become the currency of choice. A well-written press release chock-full of newsworthy information remains a key component of most organizations’ communications and marketing mix, and for good reason. It can inform and engage large audiences, or entice an influential journalist to write a featured article. Press releases create interest in a company’s news and brand and provide opportunities for earned media attention beyond the release itself.

However, in the 70 years since the press release first “crossed the wire” into the country’s newsrooms, its distribution process and pricing model have scarcely changed. The digital revolution of the last 20 years has transformed the way content is created, distributed, and consumed in ways unimaginable just a generation ago. And yet, most newswires haven’t made the shift.

If today’s press release distribution model better reflected these technological and behavioral leaps, things would look a lot different, including pricing. Intrigued? To find out more about what it should cost to distribute a press release today, read on.

Crafting Press Releases Has Changed, Somewhat

When it comes to writing a press release the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How remain the meat and potatoes of the matter. Clean, direct prose一perhaps with a splashy title or quote一is still often the standard and appreciated approach.

However, today’s PR pro’s tools include word processing software and online networks such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs, respectively, that significantly streamline the creative process. And since audiences tend to engage more with visuals than text, images, video, hyperlinks, logos, and other assets are also deployed frequently to promote more views and time on the page.

But Press Release Distribution Hasn’t Changed

After a press release is written, in most cases, it’s still handed off to a human newswire editor, who reviews it for adherence to guidelines and editorial standards. And while we’ve moved on from the days when editors would retype hard copies of press releases into a teletype machine, the process remains laborious, punctuated by review cycles, distribution set-up, and third-party editorial involvement.

Once finalized in the system, the press release is finally posted online and distributed digitally to a broad range of traditional print and broadcast media outlets, syndicators, search engines, subscribing journalists, bloggers, and influencers. Whew.

From the time a press release is first sent to the editor at the big legacy newswires to when it gets distributed, then, can take several hours or even a full day or more.

How Press Release Distribution Is Priced Today

Pricing today for press release distribution is primarily based on two components: word count and geographic dissemination. Both factors harken to the old days of traditional press release distribution, with little connection to today’s digital technologies in content development and distribution.

For example, newswires will generally quote a fee for a press release of up to 400 words, with each additional 100 words costing extra. Each embedded image or other media also comes at an additional fee. Unlike the days when wire service editors had to retype all content by hand then manually upload content to “the wire,” technology of today has eliminated the manual workflow and in turn the associated labor costs that were the origin of word count pricing. Today, distributing a press release of 1,000 words should cost no more than one of 400 words. Yet, the big legacy wires don’t want you to know that.

Furthermore, with the advent of online news and media outlets, pricing based on geographic distribution is also outdated. Once a release is distributed online, it’s essentially accessible globally. And with today’s digital distribution, sending your news nationally versus regionally or to specific metro areas shouldn’t incur a premium.

It’s also important to note just because a press release is distributed far and wide doesn’t mean those additional outlets will pick it up. More output does not always equal more outcomes. It may be more cost effective to identify the target audience and/or geography and distribute the release to maximize opportunities for relevant pick-ups.

Today’s Cost of Press Release Distribution

Distribution services today come in many flavors, with several specializations such as number and type of distribution outlet, niche targeting, client base, and so on. Some provide pricing upfront, and some don’t, which can make head-to-head comparisons challenging.

However, in general, distributing a press release with a maximum of 500 words with one embedded image across major U.S. media outlets is estimated to range from $550 to $1,700. Additional features cost more.

For example, geo-targeting across regional, state, and local outlets can cost an additional $100 or more each. International distribution can start as high as $3,500. Other add-ons can include words (about $200 per 100 words), media embeds ($200 to $300 and up), even your logo,  influencer and social media distribution, writing services, tracking, and expedited distribution.

There are distribution services available for less, though they tend to be limited in one way or another. For these platforms, it’s important to read the fine print very carefully.

What Should It Cost to Distribute a Press Release?

Today's press release distribution industry is ripe for disruption. In line with today’s modern technology, products should deliver an improved customer experience, with more efficient workflows, more versatile offerings, with less friction and time required.

And while it’s difficult to put a number on it, distribution pricing should decline significantly to reflect these efficiencies.

News Direct Is Disrupting Press Release Distribution, Including the Pricing

A case in point is news distribution newcomer News Direct.

News Direct is a best-in-class news and content distribution service designed with the modern user in mind. This self-directed, secure, cloud-based platform empowers PR and IR pros to create, collaborate on, and fully control their content一regardless of word count or amount of multimedia included. No human, third-party intervention is needed.

From the same workspace, distribution preferences are selected from a top-tier, worldwide network of media agencies, news outlets, trade press, targeted lists, and more. Geo-targeting across regional, state, and metro area distributions is available for no additional cost. International distribution is also available in a basic or premium package, or by region or country. The user alone decides when to submit the press release for distribution.

News Direct also offers their Digital Asset Direct release which enables users to distribute standalone multimedia, such as infographics, videos, or images, in line with modern consumer and journalist preferences.

Finally, News Direct uses an asset-based, flat-rate model that’s simple, clear, and fully transparent.

Contact News Direct for a demo of its revolutionary press release distribution experience, today.