A press release, when properly optimized and distributed for search engine visibility, can be a good source of traffic, depending on how newsworthy your press release is and how popular your industry (or rather, your target keywords) is.

By tracking the traffic from your press release distributions, you can accurately measure the success of each press release and do the following:

  • Use the ROI to determine how much you can afford to spend on further press releases.
  • Determine what you need to do to improve your results (better content, increase distribution, more optimization, etc.)

Tracking the success of a press release requires measuring four important metrics:

  • Distribution – how many media outlets your press release was effectively sent to?
  • Publication – What is the conversion rate for your press release, or in other words, how many reporters ran your story?
  • Traffic – What sort of traffic to your website / interest for your company has the press release generated?
  • Costs vs. Benefits – Do the results of your press release distribution justify the costs?

Let’s look at them one by one.


Online press release distribution services usually provide hard numbers on distribution up front to woo customers. This is precisely why PRWeb boasts about “more than 100,000 media contacts in our database”.

The truth is a bit different. Packages usually allow you to target only one or just a few sub categories / markets. To go further, and significantly increase your distribution, you’ll have to pay more.

Make sure that you have a clear idea of your distribution figures, and that you know where your money is going. This will in turn allow you to determine if what you’re spending on a particular service is actually worth it (considering the results), and allow you to decide if you need to try out a new service.


This is tough to calculate, and almost impossible to predict. One tactic to find out if your press release has been used for a story is to use a very neat feature, Google Alerts. It sends you email updates of the latest relevant Google search engine results and fresh content based on the search terms you provide.

For our purposes, this is a powerful tool for measuring the impact of your press release. Simply use your company’s name as a search term, enter your email address, select “News” as category and you are set to go. Here’s the link again: Google Alerts.

Note: At the time of writing the top ranking website for ”Google Alerts” is a venture by Indigo Stream Technologies, http://www.googlealert.com. They are NOT affiliated with Google.

Google Alerts will send you regular updates on your search engine visibility from your press release. Alternatively, some press release distribution services also offer tracking facilities, which are far more advanced (and therefore cost accordingly) than Google Alerts, which is free.


A quick-fix method of measuring the increase in traffic for your website through a press release is to use a specific URL in the press release in the contact information section.  For example, instead of using http://www.yourcompany.com use something like: http://www.yourcompany.com/press. This will allow you to directly measure the hits generated from each press release.

Of course, there will always be an overlap as some readers will manually enter the URL and thus miss the special page, and some people would probably arrive at that special page through another link of your website. A complimentary technique is to use your website’s traffic tracking software / service to measure the number of hits from particular URLs.

This technique might not be so necessary as all distribution services offer a minimal hit tracking service, but this allows you to monitor things at your end instead of going to the distribution service and checking traffic statistics every time. If you are tracking your press release across multiple press release distribution services, you’ll need an easier method of accessing your traffic data.

Once again, PR services offer comprehensive press release traffic monitoring services that go far beyond what you would be able to manage on your own. This includes detailed traffic analysis and reporting, and as always the only downside is the cost. Luckily, all such services provide free trials, so use that to your advantage and find out if you need it.

[box]Cost Benefit Analysis[/box]

Costs for writing and distributing one press release through a single distribution service can easily exceed $500. With such expenses, you’ll want to know where the money is going, and more importantly, whether it’s bring back comparable benefits in terms of publicity and revenue.

It is important to break down your costs into individual components to see how much you spend on press release writing, optimization, distribution and tracking. This will also help you pinpoint where you can cut your costs for your next press release. In addition, you need to look at the benefits of a press release.

Theoretically (and I say this without sarcasm), a press release is supposed to announce your product / service / business event to the media. As such, it is a wonderful tool and no price is too less for promotion.

In reality, a press release is only useful if it is effective – that is, it generates an interest in the media and inspires a newspaper or news forum, however big or small, to run your story. Those are the only hard results you should be looking at.

Sure, traffic statistics sound very pretty – getting 1,000 hits on your website through your press release is great, but if you have spent $500, and all you get for that is a mention in two small publications and $200 in sales, the venture is an unfortunate failure. Also, you have to take care to measure the results within a certain time frame, usually a few days (3 minimum, a week at most) at least.

Also, ensure that you can differentiate between regular traffic and sales and promotion due to your press release.Tracking your press release is a must if you want to use it as a marketing tool.

Just as you would measure the results from a regular advertising campaign, and test your market with a trial period, use your first press release as a trial. In other words, if your first press release is not a success, don’t throw the idea out of the window. Go back to the basics and try to determine what you can do to improve results, and see where you can cut costs without compromising on results.

Do you have any tips on how to to test your market with press release?


  1. Reply

    Thank you so much for this info Bill Achola. I really never heard about this but i read one article long time ago.
    Its seem great way to generate huge traffic. Thanks for the explained points.
    Amit Shaw

  2. Jolie


    Good article on press releases and thanks for the reminder on Google Alerts. I currently use it for a couple of keywords, however I need to add one more.

  3. Anton Koekemoer


    True – Most times the first press release is monitored closely in order to evaluate and if necessary change the next one to come to suit the needs of your Business Strategy. Thanks for the informative post. Well worth the read.

  4. Zeeshan


    Seriously Bill Achola i never use press release because i am still very new to blogging. I know it can bring Hugh traffic but i personally think that it difficult to write press releasees.

    • Bill


      Hello Zeeshan, i truely feel your concern, at the begining writing a press release would be a challenge because it’s like a learning curve, but for you to overcome the fear of which i know it’s theone, i would encourage you start by writing 2 or 3 release per month and submit them to affordable paid service and see how it works.

      This will measure your level of success and i can assure you that it will work. For more information you on how you can overcome the fear, you can read more here: http://www.seoarticlewriteservice.com/2012/05/how-to-write-press-release-for.html

  5. Shalu Sharma


    I have done press releases before and it does wonders. I remember doing a press release about 6 months ago and it still gets me traffic for one of my niche blogs.

  6. Reply

    Press release help to increase traffic and popularity of website. There are many free press release websites available to share business information. Your given information includes all necessary topics, I don’t need to add any more.

  7. Reply

    Hi Bill,

    I haven’t tried a press release before but I am learning on what promotion I should take for my eBook this year.

    Your explanation on press release matter is short and simple. Google alerts seem to be great tool to try. The most important part for me is the last one, cost and benefit analysis. Such an analysis is important for business people, moreover if we can cut the unnecessary costs.


    • Bill


      If you take advange of it you will get massive exposure, but before you that iwould recommend you learn first on how to write a killer press release, this is because the success of news story comes from a well written release.

      An epic release will reduce the number of times you will be distributing your release. From my own experince, its best to write 4 press release per year. I hope this helps

  8. Reply

    Hi Bill, I like your idea of using google alerts to check the distribution of your press release that is a really good idea. I suppose you could use a particular phrase in the press release to decrease your false positives.

    I also liked what you said: “Make sure that you have a clear idea of your distribution figures, and that you know where your money is going.”

    I’m not so sure that many people are able to do that. I’d say that verifying these numbers is very important. If you are not getting enough exposure for your advertising dollar or ‘enough results for your money’ – it just isn’t worth it.

    Thanks again Bill good post.

    • Bill


      Thanks Dave for the appreciation. Sometime i wonder why some of the internet marketers dont like to dig deep by quantifying there traffic statistic, this approach alone can be advantageous to your target location.

      I think online marketers should start to be serious when spending their Dollar Traffic.

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