Hedge your bets and pitch smart

By Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

PR insiders tell when the best day is to send press releases

Many organizations get hung up on the same quandary: When do you send out your most important news to the media to ensure that it doesn’t get lost amid the noise? For years, public relations veterans have debated this topic, suggesting that, for example, poor earnings news should go out after market close on Friday in an effort to decrease the potential of the news getting reported. Others maintain that Wednesdays are a slower-than-average news day during which the press trolls for good news items to scoop.

So, what day is the best day to announce your latest whiz-bang gizmo that will change the world? Any business day you pick will be a fine day, and here’s why:

1. Media has limitless access to information. Before the dawn of the Internet, newsrooms would cull newswires and press release distribution services to locate germane topics of interest – be it local, national, government, education, health or sports news. Today, the media has a bevy of digital and human resources from which to select news tips. Even if you’re sending a news release via PR Newswire on a Tuesday, the media may have caught wind of it from an investor on Monday and have your news covered digitally before it ever actually hits the wires.

2. Press is “on” 24/7. Information travels at the speed of light. News organizations have on-call staff nearly 24 hours a day, tied together through smartphones and reached at a moment’s notice as news breaks. Stealth bloggers, social media virtuosos and news hounds exist in even the furthest reaches, so anyone can consume news in some fashion, instantaneously. If a grocery store chain believes that news of the closing of 15 out of 25 stores will go unnoticed if it releases its information late on a Friday (assuming that the press has sauntered home or is out enjoying happy hour somewhere), that chain would be wrong. Journalists still compete to be the first to break every story. Accomplishing this requires them to constantly monitor their beats, and if your company has viable news, they will cover it – regardless of day or hour.

While there is no “best” day to distribute your news release, there are several tips to consider when preparing your press release or pitch that will ensure your news gets read and, hopefully, reported.

  • Share real news, not fluff. Sometimes, desperate-for-attention businesses distribute news releases containing no real news. While they may do this to increase the SEO value of a website or traffic to a blog, it does nothing more than temporarily clog the real news pipeline. What’s more, it upsets savvy journalists and editors. Therefore, before you write a release, be sure it’s relevant and interesting, and that it contains hard, factual information, not simply positioning blather.

  • No weekend specials: While media is on round the clock, one surefire way to devalue your news is to distribute it on the weekend. Most news organizations scale down to skeleton crews on the weekends (mainly to avoid burnout with staff), so news coverage tends to be on breaking, urgent news. If your news falls into that category, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re sending out a new product announcement, the chances it will get covered are significantly smaller if distributed on a Saturday or Sunday than on a business day when newsrooms are fully staffed.

  • Stand out. The team at Axia PR is often asked, “What’s the best way to make our news stand out?” To rise above the seemingly insurmountable informational noise factor, always remember that news releases are tools to share news. Sadly, this once useful tool is increasingly overused. Therefore, follow the critical rule of news release writing: tell a good news story.

Journalists receive upward of 200 emails each day. That’s a lot of verbiage to sift through, wouldn’t you agree? The best news stories fit into less than three sentences. If you can tell your news in three sentences or less, the news media will not only appreciate your news/pitch, but will likely reach out to learn more.

For example: “Scientific research has proven that my company’s new product turns back time. Our unique face cream will revolutionize face creams, guaranteed. Our CEO can explain how the use of this unexpected ingredient will change the face of the beauty industry forever.”

Ultimately, you can test this theory yourself. If you’d like to learn more about how to successfully disseminate news to the media from the media experts themselves, download Axia Public Relations’ “Learn Media Relations from the Media” guide. Better yet, join me on Nov. 6 for my free webinar, “Confessions of CNN producers,” through which you will learn how to create the perfect media pitch.


Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to running her own business and serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England teams.

Featured image credit: www.politicalcampaigningtips.comCNN Confessions
 

Topics: Public Relations, Featured, Social Media

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