Timing your press release: 3 schools of thought

Landing your client’s or organization’s big news with a journalist takes more than just writing it up and hitting ‘send’ regardless of day and time. Consider a few key factors.

It’s Friday afternoon around 3 p.m., and you have finally finished the press release that you worked on all week.

You have major news regarding your organization, and you’ve spent time crafting the headline, the lede and the perfect quote. The problem is that it’s Friday afternoon, and you know that journalists and reporters aren’t going to be looking at their email.

So, when should you send the press release?

That answer varies. Some people will argue for a certain day or time; others will contend it depends on the news organization you are pitching. A third group will say there is no best time or day and to just send it.

The hard part is knowing which group is right. Let’s look at data-based insights from SpotlightPR, Journalistics and BusinessWired:

SpotlightPR suggests that the best days to send a press release are Tuesday through Thursday.

Why? As is true for most professionals, a reporter’s inbox is full on Monday, so it would be easy to overlook your press release. On Friday, most reporters are looking to finish their work and head out the door, so they might not even glance at your press release.

The data also suggest sending your press release early in the day to increase the likelihood of its being read.

Journalistics doesn’t suggest a particular day or time, but it advises that you learn the needs of your targeted news organizations and what time they prefer press releases. A key question is: How much lead time does that particular news organization need?

Journalistics also reminds us that if a press release has a specific deadline for compliance, a company should keep that in mind.

BusinessWired’s survey is a little older (2010) than other research. However, the data concur with SpotlightPR’s finding that Tuesdays are the best day to send a release and that it is better to send the release in the morning. BusinessWired surveyed over 100 PR professionals for its advice.

So, let’s go back to you toiling away that Friday afternoon-what’s your answer?

If your news can wait until Tuesday, hold off on sending the press release. If your news has to be sent out that afternoon in order for your company to be compliant, go ahead and email it.

Last, if you know the news organization and their lead times and preferences, use your best judgment about sending your press release. Remember when you are emailing the journalists to put the headline in the subject line and make sure that it is eye-catching.

Finally, be persistent with submitting news stories. If your first press release doesn’t get picked up, keep trying in the future with different news stories. Continually sending valuable information is a great way to have the reporter view you as a trusted news source.

What’s your opinion on the best time to send a press release?

A version of this article first appeared on PR Fuel.

Topics: PR

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