There is much to consider when writing a media release; a catchy title, newsworthy angle, engaging details and solid quotes are all vital ingredients in the creation of a compelling story. However, there is one key factor many overlook – timing. This important element can ultimately make or break the coverage your media release gains.
Often, timing is only discussed in conjunction with the pitch – for instance, when determining the best moment to send a media release to a journalist to achieve optimal coverage. However, if you want better results, it is important to consider timing at all stages of your media engagement.
From the development of a story idea through to the day and time you choose to send a release to a journalist – timing is at the heart of good media relations.
With this in mind, below are five simple ways you can get make sure you get your timing right.
1. Timely announcements
While you are concentrating on growing your business or delivering a great service, it can be easy to let things like project milestones or important appointments slide by without much fuss. These types of announcements can be a way to get an easy win in the media, but they are reliant on timeliness. The media is interested in things that are happening now, so make sure you are sharing announcements when they happen, not two weeks later when your story could be considered old news.
2. Consider the time of day/week
This is an often-overlooked, but vital component of your approach to media outlets. Generally speaking, it is best to send a media release in the morning on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. On these days, journalists and more likely to be at their desks sifting through their story ideas and prioritising their workloads. As well as this, by sending your pitch in the morning, you give the journalist more time to consider your pitch and write an article.
3. Timing your insights
Timing an insight or announcement to coincide with important news can help you to leverage content which is more ‘newsworthy’ than your own announcement, improving your chances of getting the coverage you want. For example, while many journalists may not be interested in your insights into the retail industry on a regular news day, choosing to distribute your release on the same day that major sales data goes to market means you can insert yourself into the story.
4. Responding to an enquiry on time
If you are releasing news that directly affects your industry or business, responses to enquiries or a follow up press release may be necessary. It is imperative to prioritise your responses as time is certainly of the essence! A response should be issued as soon as possible, preferably on the same day. It’s also important to consider if you need to provide your response to a newsroom as articles for daily television bulletins and newspapers are usually locked in by around 3pm.
5. Setting aside time when an announcement goes out for interviews
It may seem obvious, but many people forget that when you engage the media, you need to ensure that they can contact you if they want to pursue the story. It’s not enough to send out a media release and cross your fingers hoping for coverage, you need to be prepared to answer a journalist’s questions, provide additional comment or even make yourself available for a radio or television interview. Many organisations miss out on valuable coverage because their spokesperson didn’t set time aside for an interview.
Timing can make or break your chances with the media. So, whether you’re launching a new product, announcing major organisational change, or pitching insightful commentary, think about how you can time your engagement for success.