Worst Time for Press Releases

The press release has become a staple of the PR industry. Writing press releases is only half the battle. The rest is about distribution, or who sees your content. If you want to get noticed, it logically follows that the worse time to send a press release is when everyone else is.

Using four weeks of publication data from our partner MarketWire, we looked at what days and times the wire services are getting swamped with press releases. First up to bat? The day of the week.

pr-days

Mondays are popular, but Tuesdays even more so. MarketWire registers the most number of press releases on Tuesdays. Fridays are the least busy day during the work week, and almost nothing comes over the wire on the weekends.

What about timing?

time-pr

Note: times shown are Eastern.

The 8 to 9 AM ET times are when MarketWire is deluged with new press releases. On the surface, this makes sense – after all, companies want to get in front of the news cycle for the day, so they publish in the mornings. The problem is, everyone publishes in the mornings, and thus if you’re a media publisher looking for something interesting, you have a needle in a haystack challenge from so much noise.

What do you do next? If you’re doing a media release, you have a couple of options. First, you can test counter-cyclicality. In the mobile age, there’s no such thing as work-life balance (if we’re to be totally honest about it), and thus sending a media release on a weekend or at a very off-hour might get more notice. Test it to see if that works for you.

Second, you can extend the life of a media release into other parts of the day and week by using the SHIFT Earned Media Hub model. If it’s truly a significant piece of news, share it with your social networks, publish it on your website, turn it into a social media release, buy some paid ads to promote it, blog about it, add it to your content distribution strategy, ask others to blog about it, and do everything you can to get more sustained, longer-term attention to it than just a “fire and forget” press release.

Disclosure: The press release sampled data comes from the MarketWire feed and was collected for the period 1/14/13 to 2/12/13. No filtering was performed on the feed, and thus it includes all press releases from all categories. No press releases were included from other wire services. Data was collected using the Google Reader software and is set to the Eastern Time Zone (UTC -5). Graphics from Google Reader were edited in Photoshop to remove Items Read category as it’s not relevant to when the items were published, but no other manipulations were performed.

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Worst Time for Press Releases
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About the Author

Christopher Penn
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About / Bio
Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing; Marketo Corporation named him a Marketing Illuminator, and PR News nominated him as Social Media Person of the Year. Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s the author of the best-selling book Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.
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