Oftentimes sending out a press release through public and free channels is not good enough. Sometimes there is an important message that you or your organization or even your client wants to get out and share with the public. Free press releases sites are great and usually get great traffic. Most are websites with a high page rank such as www.prlog.org, which is a page rank 6, or www.prsync.com, which is a page rank 3.
There are plenty more than just these two, and often they do a great job spreading your release. For Prlog in particular, I get on average 400 to 800 views per article. But in the long run, getting on to websites that is more mainstream is potentially a much better way to advertise your press release. Of course, this means = not free, but that is not a problem when you find the right kind of website.
One of the websites that I use is www.businessnewswire.com. I have tried a couple of others such as PR Newswire. This particular website did not offer regional locations that I wanted to get my press release to. Plus in terms of "popping on Google", PR Newswire didn't pop as much. As for Business Newswire, I have seen many "pops" with my articles, and there are really good options for locations. For New York or California, they are the most covered states, but there are plenty of other locations in between.
It's really easy to use Business Newswire, but of course, not very cheap. One press release starts at $385 for the first 400 words and an extra $100 after that. For the dozens of websites that the press release shows up on, it's definitely worth it. It does allow for a link to a website, a contact area, and a logo to keep your branding.
To be able to spread the word to a larger audience is always something that us writers try to do. Sharing is the most important, so working with a company to be able to do this is beneficial should you be able to do so.
So what's the best combination? Use a few free sites and share on paid ones too if you can. In reality, it really depends on the topic that you are trying to share.