by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco
A couple of years ago, Business Wire polled 215 communicators to find the best time to send a press release. The consensus was that Tuesday morning is the best time, though the blog post presenting these results included the general disclaimer “it depends.”
Well, apparently that opinion still holds—or a lot of people read that blog post. I did an analysis of all Business Wire releases that were distributed in 2012 (through the end of November), and the most popular day was Tuesday. But Monday, Wednesday and Thursday weren’t too far behind.
Releases running on Tuesdays accounted for, on average, 24% of total release volume for the year. For Mondays, it was 19%; for Wednesdays 20%; for Thursdays, 19%. What this also means is that the first four days of the work week accounted for about 82% of all the releases that have run on Business Wire through most of this year.
The significance for communicators is that, if you want company for your release, run it on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (If you REALLY want company, run it early in the day, or right at market open/close.) Competition for attention isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending upon how “hot” the release is and what else is going on at the time. For instance, if your product works with a well-known product that you know is about to announce an upgrade (iPhone, anyone?) you can piggyback onto the mad rush of ensuing attention.
Timing around holidays is another consideration, as Business Wire L.A. editor Alexander Howard outlined in a post on staying relevant during the December holiday slowdown.
The most important factor to keep in mind for those who want to reach particular media outlets is, of course, knowing their deadlines. That goal, and market close, also provide the rationale for beating the end-of-the-day East Coast time. But timing is way less exacting in reaching the masses. Sometimes you’ll want to join the crowd and other times try to stand out. If you’re targeting particular consumer/buyer segments, know their internet usage habits and when/what they’re most likely to be reading
One thing that HAS changed in the communications business is that “burying” bad news on a weekend is not necessarily seen as an effective strategy. Former journalist and current communicator Brian Adams recently wrote a good blog post called “Buried Alive: Social Media Helps Bad News Rise From the Dead” which debunks the notion that bad news can be effectively hidden at 5 PM on a Friday or behind the popularity of another event.
So, what’s the best time to send a press release? Take all relevant factors into account, know what you want to accomplish, and then pick a time—you’ll probably be just fine.