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Publishing press releases at the right time

by Bianka Boock

“Half of success is knowing the right timing.” This quote from French politician Maurice Couve de Murville is as relevant to his life as it is to publishing press releases. It’s not just the content that influences whether an editor will pick up a press release: it’s also about when the company puts out that release.

It’s clear that not everyone has come to this realisation yet. For example, businesses regularly send out press releases announcing that four weeks ago – or even longer – they celebrated the anniversary of their founding, appointed a new director, attended an event or won an award. Then they act surprised that few to no media outlets paid any attention to their message. The reason why is right in front of them: the news was simply too old.

Why sooner is better

Media outlets are anxious to publish up-to-date news. In other words, this means announcements and reports on events and subjects that are relevant to their readers right now and will be of interest in future. Events that have already taken place can remain newsworthy for perhaps a week if something else happens in reference to them, perhaps a little longer if they achieve significantly greater relevance. That kind of relevance, however, does not come simply from the fact that a particular company attended the event or drew a positive conclusion from it.

What does this mean in practice? It means that companies would be well advised to publish post-event reports – which are always worthwhile in and of themselves – immediately at the close of the event or no later than one week afterwards. Advance announcements should also be made at the proper time. For businesses attending trade shows, for example, a good time to announce this is around four to six weeks beforehand. This has a particular benefit: many event organisers agree partnerships with media outlets, which often results in things like special publications in advance of the event. These publications, of course, can only feature companies that have already supplied some amount of information. You can usually check an event’s press kit to see when these kinds of publications will be released and when submissions close.

Invitations to your own company’s events should go out in time for editors to plan their visit with a minimum of stress. Four weeks’ notice is usually a good guideline; shorter deadlines are justified if the event is more significant. Job changes within the company are best announced immediately in advance, no more than one or two days before the effective date.

Planning also demonstrates competence

This doesn’t take a lot of effort – it just requires planning. You will usually know well in advance about these kinds of events, which gives you time to properly schedule and plan your communication. When working out the timing, aside from the considerations named above, think about things like large events in your industry, holidays, weekends and even the time of day when you publish. It’s best to take your target media outlets’ work cycle into account: for example, your message is most likely to get people’s attention if you send it out on a weekday morning. It makes less sense to publish a statement about a new software release in the middle of a huge IT trade show where your software isn’t even on display.

In summary, choosing a good time to send out press releases is decisive in their success. This doesn’t just improve your prospects of getting noticed by media and gaining more attention: it also forces you to plan ahead with your communication. And that shows your competence as well.


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