When's the best time to send a press release?
Despite changing digital landscapes, press releases remain one of the top story sources for journalists.
This is great news for most PR professionals, who won’t need to make any big fundamental shifts to the way they approach story pitches.
It is important, however, to be careful of the little details that could be the difference between a pitch getting lost in a flood of other content directed at journalists, and making national news headlines. One such detail is making sure to send your pitch at the right time of day and week to maximise media pick up.
What day should I send my release?
Earlier in the week was found by Medianet’s survey to be journalists’ preferred days to be contacted by PR. Monday is one of the preferred days for 74 per cent of journalists, and each subsequent weekday declined in popularity.
Unless your press release is time critical, for example it responds to a breaking news event, generally it is probably best to avoid contacting most journalists on the weekend.
What time should I send my release?
Morning is the preferred time to receive pitches and press releases for 70 per cent of journalists. Make sure the send time is tailored towards the needs of the journalists you are contacting, however. For example, producers working in breakfast television or radio are probably setting their news bulletin and talking points as early as 4am, while print journalists might only begin to check emails from around 8am.
Download the free 2022 Australian Media Landscape Report for more insights into the work and preferences of journalists.
The news agenda
Another thing to beware of is the broader news agenda at the time you want to send your release. For example, many great stories may have been overlooked if they were sent in press releases in May 2022, as so many journalists were busy covering the federal election campaign.
On the other hand, most PR campaigns are more likely to gain media attention if linked effectively to an issue or event already gaining media traction.
Before sending your press release, make sure you tune in to what’s happening in the news cycle at the time.
It can also be useful to use a media events calendar to plan around possible clashes or time newsjacking campaigns to fit with other events or observances.
Finally, don’t forget to target your pitch
These tips are a good place to start in terms of planning when to send your press release. However, it is always crucial to target your press release distribution plan based on the story you are sharing and the journalists who will be receiving it. There is not much point contacting a weekend chief-of-staff with your response to a breaking news story at 8am on a Monday morning.
A good database of media contacts will help you find the right journalists to pitch your story to, and will even include their unique pitching preferences so you have optimal chances of media pick-up.
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