Unlike the NFL, there is no RedZone for reporters to immediately switch to when your fresh, exciting company announcement is made. Journalists are more than likely juggling multiple priorities, beats, and assignments, and don’t have the ability to drop what they are doing to pivot and cover your news. Given this, it’s extremely important to make strategic decisions surrounding the timing of company announcements and outreach approach – all things a skilled PR agency like KCD PR can assist with.
There are plenty of debates regarding the best time to issue a press release, be it a specific time of day or a certain day of the week. The rules have changed in recent years. Many journalists have unique preferences about when they receive company announcements. When it comes to distribution timing, you should consider a variety of different factors before making your decision.
What’s the news?
If you are a publicly traded company, you may not have the flexibility to influence when news that is material is issued, as it is often reliant upon strict rules that are laid out by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Private companies have more flexibility. You can keep track of when competitors are issuing large public announcements to ensure you avoid distributing your news at the same time or can time a big piece of news – like an acquisition or significant executive move – around an industry event. For example, if you have a big fintech announcement leading up to the forthcoming – and much anticipated – Money 20/20 conference, it would be a smart move to plan your announcement during that time given the heavy press presence and conference’s focus on the future of fintech.
Do you have flexibility?
Another thing out of your control: breaking news. Say you have an announcement planned for Tuesday morning. Your release is ready, your team is prepped to hit the ground running with the pitch when BOOM! – Robinhood releases its own crypto wallet, markets start tanking, or worse, a crisis on Capital Hill occurs. Rather than compete with news that is likely to overshadow yours, consider shifting your company’s announcement by a few days. This allows reporters time to digest and publish their other stories and prevents the dominating headline of the moment from stealing your thunder.
How can you plan ahead?
The media landscape has changed significantly since 2020. According to Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media Report, reporters require longer lead times on pitches and news in order to craft their stories than in previous years. Many journalists want two or three days (or longer) to look over a pitch with 25% reporting they plan their stories a week in advance. If you want your announcement covered on the same day, consider offering a select group of journalists (no more than five) an embargo. That way, they have time to review the announcement in advance, ask relevant questions, set up briefings, if needed, and provide any feedback on whether or not they plan to cover the story. In addition, shrinking newsrooms have reporters covering multiple, often unrelated, beats with pressing deadlines. Forty-seven percent of journalists cover five or more beats and nearly the same amount file seven or more stories per week. Giving them more time will allow them to adjust priorities accordingly and give your news the focus time it deserves.
All this said, regardless of how well thought out your press announcement plan is, you will always be competing with other companies, market activity, and breaking news. Therefore, it’s important to make your press releases as relevant as possible to the current media landscape and the trends occurring in your industry in order to stand out and break through the noise. If you aren’t already, consider working with a PR agency that can offer you strategic counsel and help you make decisions that will lead to positive press coverage and long-term success.