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What is the best day and time to send a press release?

What is the best day and time to send a press release?

Press releases are the most important elements of a public relations toolbox and there are millions of blog posts and content that provide hints or guidance to formulate the best layout. However, as the world is getting smaller with the development of the information and communication technologies, the timing of the news release services is also becoming as important as its content. Especially if the company’s subject to the press release is a global one, the timing of the global press release distribution becomes more complicated because of the different time zones since one market can be England and the other Japan. So, take a look at the brief guide we drafted for you to avoid the tragic end of “press delete” for your “press release”. 

When to release the news?

Choosing the right day and time to release your news might be a crucial factor in determining your media coverage. But what is the ideal time to send a press release? According to Prowly the answer in short is Thursdays (with open rates up to 27%) followed by Tuesdays (averages 19% open rate) and timewise, the open rates peak between 10 am and 2 pm when editors click about one-third of all the emails they've received.

The best times to send a press release

However, the more painstaking but right way to figure out the best timing necessitates a thorough evaluation of your target audience in addition to many other things. Here is a list of things to beware of while deciding what the best day and time is to send a press release. 

  1. Your target audience’s lifestyle and working times 

As with identifying the distribution list, analyzing your target audience comes first when you are deciding on timing. 

For example, the standard release days and timings will not be valid for you, if your target audience is mostly composed of night owls. Again, if you are addressing finance journalists, breaking a news about company financials, mergers, acquisitions or alike might have to wait for the market closing times to abide by certain local regulations. Or, as in the HubSpot example, if your buyer persona is a professional with a nine-to-five job you might choose to send emails between 8-9:30 AM ET which is the ideal downtime window for this profile. 

  1. Time zones

Another thing to keep in mind is the time zones. Your press release can be addressing many people and journalists both locally and internationally or it might be embargoed. 

It is almost impossible to distribute your news release at the same time and seize the best email opening times in different markets, if the time difference between them stretches to six or more hours. Let’s say you want to distribute your press release in the US and Turkey at the same time and you want to take the advantage of the 10am-2pm window. Since the time difference among the two countries vary between 8 to 12 hours, you will end up having to decide the more important market for your coverage and send the mails at the same time at the cost of the other or you’ll send the mails in two batches to catch the best times in both markets. For the former, you can try exploiting the “virus factor” which we mentioned below to synchronize your press release distributions.  

PS: Regarding time zones, sometimes your press release can include time info about a global online live event or alike. Hence, you might need to specify the event timing with GMT or UTC. If you are also confused by the GMT or UTC expressions (which basically are the same) we have a brief informative box below. 

  1. National events, holidays and other big announcements 

You would not want to send your press release e-mails when journalists and publishers are on a holiday or have a very busy agenda. Hence, you should check out the holidays and national events as well as insider infos on the upcoming big announcements. For example, if you are going to send a press release regarding the launch of a technological product on the same day that Apple is going to present its latest iPhone model, the chances of your email getting noticed is slim.    

When to release the news?
  1. The content of your press release

The content of your press release can also necessitate specific timings. You can find some of the advocated timings for press releases based on their content type below:

  1. Breaking News

Some news can be too important to wait for specific times and should be reported immediately. For example, your client may recognize that one of its already released products has a flaw and may have to call back all the models that may have this flaw. Press releases with a content of this sort should be sent right away. When sending this type of releases, it is wise to state that it’s intended for ‘Immediate Release’.

  1. Product/Service launches with or without embargo

The launch of a new product or service should be announced at least one month before the event. This should be followed with a reminder a week before the launch. 

These types of press releases can also be sent with an embargo, meaning you can send the release but specify that the news should not be covered until a certain date. To do this, you should clearly state that the information is "Not For Immediate Release" and distinctively note an official publication date.

Embargoed press releases can be sent two to five days ahead of the official announcement depending on the event. These events can vary vastly from a product launch to a merger or acquisition or a new store opening. Embargoed news releases will allow media outlets time to prepare their story. But you should also be prepared for leaks. Of course there is neither an easy way back once the news is released online nor a punishment but you can choose the carrot way and provide additional special content like exclusive photos, videos, corporate statistics or interviews with executive level to media outlets that honored the embargo agreement. 

  1. Event announcements

Planning an event can be a long and difficult task, whether it is a webinar, conference, or the launch of a new product or store. Hence, to make the best of it you should also take the time to plan the email sequence for its promotion. All data regarding the interval of this sequence point out that you should inform the interested parties (including the media) at least three weeks before the event takes place, with follow-up releases as the date gets closer like a week before, the day before and on the day of the event. Depending on your strategy you might choose to send your releases only to journalists that cover similar events. Just don’t forget to check the A, B, C’s we mentioned above.

  1. News-jacking opportunities

Sometimes the potential coverage opportunity can be too irresistible to wait for pre-defined times. In the instant communication and constant news era, traditional PR needs to be more agile to catch these opportunities which are called news-jacking. David Meerman Scott, the inventor of the practice itself defines news-jacking as a form of real-time branded communication wherein you inject your ideas into a breaking news story at just the right time for it to spread and reach a massive audience.     

If your press release content is timely and relevant to a building online conversation you can jump on and let the waves carry you to your target audience effortlessly. Relevant is the crucial word here meaning you should find a unique angle that relates your brand to the news. Otherwise, it might backfire with many disappointing results. Generally, PR agencies using this strategy are prepared beforehand (especially if there is an upcoming event that can potentially stir the online media) and have alternative drafts waiting on the side for these opportunities.   

Content with a follow-up interview prospect

If you are intending to nail a follow-up interview you should plan to send your press release in advance to give journalists the time to discover your news. In such cases, you should send your press release at least a week in advance as opposed to three to five days for standard news releases heading for only publication. 

  1. The virus factor

The truth is COVID-19 might have already changed the best press release times in 2021 since remote working made significant life-style and habit changes in the employee world. Many people, especially who those have kids and family, are working early mornings or late nights, so if your targeted journalists or publishers are working remotely, you can send your release during these times. It would at least pay very highly, if you can run A/B testings to check if sending at these times will be more fruitful.

A time to revisit your pitching abilities or visit an online PR company?

If you believe you are playing the game right and abiding by all the rules above but still have disappointing open rates, may be it's time to freshen up on how to pitch a press release via email or try a press release distribution service to see if it makes a difference. Since most of the online PR services or companies have both professionals to work out a perfect press release and the most updated distribution channels it may be worth a try.

What the heck is GMT and UTC!

The pandemic somehow left nearly all of us compelled to use the screen more often for our business and personal lives. The internet and online world also accelerated the globalization of the firms in any scale and all these facts force us to become time-zone literate. The universal time abbreviations are not used limitedly to follow up the international online events and meetings. You might sometimes need to mention them in your press release or if you are sending a release with embargo you might need to specify the end of embargo timing with GMT or UTC. But what do the GMT and UTC abbreviations stand for and how do they help to synchronize the time?

First of all, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) are basically the same thing. So, without dwelling on their meanings let's choose one of them and proceed with an example for a clear understanding.

Let’s say you are based in Turkey which is UTC+3 and want to distribute a press release about an important company takeover with an embargo (since it will be illegal to spread the news before market closing times at 5pm in Turkey). Then you should specify the embargo with a date followed by a “5pm UTC+3” expression for timing.

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