As public relations professionals, we are in constant contact with editors, reporters and producers, whether connecting them with sources to comment about breaking news and industry trends or pitching stories about high-profile executives and industry leaders. We are keenly aware of deadlines and the importance of only sharing information that is relevant to an audience and a beat. We often counsel clients about the best way to approach the media, the right time to announce news and when to post on social media.
We must walk a fine line of providing relevant news while understanding the ever-changing news cycle. We often advise clients to stand down during a national crisis because an aggressive media strategy can seem tone-deaf if it has nothing to do with the situation at hand. We suggest putting media pitches about industry trends and new hire announcements and promotions on hold during major breaking news events.
The best time to put out a press release can vary depending on the nature of the announcement and the audience you are trying to reach. However, there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
Know the Deadlines of Targeted Media Outlets
Pitch a story when a reporter is on deadline, and you can lose a potential placement, as well as upset the journalist. It’s all about when you get that pitch into the newsroom. If you send a pitch during a busy news time, it might get lost in the shuffle. Journalists are overwhelmed by their current 24/7 workload and juggling multiple streams of communication. Knowing when to share relevant information will radically increase the chances of garnering interest for your story.
Generally speaking, it is best to send a media release on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. On these days, journalists are more likely to be at their desks, sifting through their story ideas and prioritizing coverage. By sending your pitch in the morning, you give the journalist more time to consider the topic, get back in touch and write an article. It's best to avoid releasing news on Fridays or over the weekend, because many journalists and media outlets are not as active during these times.
Consider the Industry and Audience
Depending on the industry, there may be certain times of the year when it makes sense to release news. For example, if you're targeting the retail industry, the holiday season is a prime time for announcements. If your news ties into a particular holiday or event, consider releasing it a few weeks before the actual event to give journalists enough time to research and cover it. If your announcement is aimed at a specific audience, such as investors or industry insiders, consider releasing news during business hours on a weekday when they are most likely to be paying attention to news in their field.
Avoid Competing News
Avoid distributing your press release on the same day as a major event or announcement that could overshadow your news. For example, if a major political announcement is scheduled for a particular day, it may be best to wait until the following day to send your press release.
Make Yourself Available
It may seem obvious, but many forget that when you engage the media, you must ensure that they can contact you if they want to pursue the story. It’s not enough to send out a media release and cross your fingers, hoping for coverage. You have to be prepared to answer a journalist’s questions, provide additional comment, and make yourself or your firm leadership available for an interview. A journalist whose response goes unanswered is a journalist who won’t contact to you again.
This Also Goes for Social Media
In PR or marketing, is there anything worse than creating a social media post and graphic only to have no one like, comment on or share it? You spent time making sure the image was esthetically pleasing, the text aligned with the key messaging, the caption was pithy, the colors matched the brand and the content was relevant. Why didn’t it resonate with your audience? Perhaps this apparent failure had nothing to do with the post, but rather the timing of when it was posted. The best time to post on LinkedIn, for instance, is toward the middle of the week, between Tuesday and Thursday, and at times that correspond with the morning and evening commute, as well as the lunch hour.
Ultimately, the best time to release a press release will depend on the specific circumstances of your announcement and your target audience. It is always a good idea to research the media outlets and journalists you want to reach out to, and tailor your approach based on their preferences and schedules.
Do you have questions about how to time your firm communications to generate the greatest impact? Contact me, Lisa Altman, at email@example.com.