The Importance of Timing
This article focuses on the use of good timing to achieve positive coverage for your news in the press. Let’s assume that you want to launch a new product. You have identified some key media and have drafted and re-drafted your press release to the point where you are happy with it (for tips on writing a press release see my blog).
At this point timing becomes critical. There are some key factors you need to consider:
1) Does your story fit nicely with the time of year? For example, stories about new lambs in fields tend to be popular at Easter, similarly, July would be a good time to promote a fresh brand of ice cream. Think carefully if you want to launch a range of woollen clothing in April.
2) Will you be around to pick up any press interest after your release is sent? Are you about to go on holiday or start on a project that will make it difficult for you to drop everything and rush to your nearest radio station?
3) Are you on social media and if you are have you started to ‘trail’ your event or launch? Are you available to really push it on Facebook and Twitter just as people are reading about it on your website and in their local paper?
4) Do you want to embargo the news for a certain date and time, how does that fit with the media you are sending it to? If you want to keep things simple don’t worry about embargoing your news.
5) When do the media you are targeting go to press? If you are sending your release to your local paper and it comes out on a Thursday bear in mind that the journalists working on it are likely to be up to their necks in last minute decisions until late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The best time to send the release would therefore be the Thursday or Friday when they have time to look at it. If you are contacting broadcast media never call them until after their hourly news broadcast. Phone calls at five minutes to the hour are rarely welcome. However, if you are trying to interest a magazine in your story you may need to approach them 3 – 6 months before you would expect to see it in print.
6) What else is going on in the media? If the Olympics is in the news you are going to be fighting with a lot of other stories for space. The best time to sell a story is when the media is a bit short of news and that is often during holiday periods.
Following these points won’t guarantee column inches but it will certainly help. Good luck!
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