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Timing is Everything: Plan the Perfect Press Release Calendar

October 23, 2017  - Tips for Small Business
When to release press

As with so many things. . . timing is everything. It can make or break a relationship, impact a business opportunity, or determine if you catch the morning train. And, the timing around a press release can be the difference between a successful communication or missed opportunity.

Press release timing is more than just choosing what day and time to release your news. There are many different elements to consider and plan for on both a strategic and tactical level. To actively manage your news and optimize the best communications reach, SMBs should be sure to apply the basics of good planning:
Graphic with four phases of good planning for press release strategy

Developing a public relations (PR) calendar

Although some news events happen opportunistically, or without much warning, other events can be planned and included in your PR Calendar. Not all news can be planned, but your PR plan should include a news release calendar for items that come up at certain points throughout the year. This can include:

  • Financial results or business highlights
  • Trade shows you attend
  • Planned product launches
  • Major newsworthy events

Aligning your PR plan with the business is key. By focusing on long-term news you can give enough thought and planning around each event or milestone. This ensures your team has the right information ready for creating content, leveraging the press and avoiding any eleventh-hour surprises.

Preparing for each release

Now that you have a PR calendar, be aware of how these planned news items fold in with the business, external events, and/or constraints.

  • Understand constraints: Some situations are flexible, and other times your business has a tight window to ensure you are compliant or the news is relevant. For example, if you are attending a tradeshow, and it starts on Wednesday, get your release out the prior week so interested parties can plan and press can schedule time on the show floor.
  • Be timely: The timing of the release is very important. Is the news recent and relevant? If you bring in a new executive – it is relevant and newsworthy that day or within a few days, not a month later. If you want to cover forecasted industry trends – plan on January or early February. March or April is probably too late.
  • Do your homework: Scheduling time with engineers, partners, executives or whoever is involved with your release is crucial. You need their input to build your content and get your facts accurate.
  • Consider media outreach: Part of the timing issue around a press release is making sure the press picks up your story. It’s easier when they understand the news item and develop a story instead of regurgitating the same language as your press release. Consider speaking with the media under embargo. This essentially means that the company grants the reporter a sneak peek and they agree to hold their story until after it is released – but gives them a chance to write it and be ready.

The press release countdown

You have all your ducks in a row, and now you are down to the final countdown. Keep in mind these best practices for timing your release:

  • Stick to a schedule: Have one person make sure the final reviews are completed and signoff of the release is done before distribution.
  • Select a distribution time: The day and even the hour of your release can be critical in catching your audience’s attention.
    • Day: Most companies will avoid Monday and Friday as notoriously bad days to capture the attention of the press. With that said, you will often find negative news slipped out late on a Friday afternoon.
    • Time: People are creatures of habit and scheduling on the top of the hour seems natural. Resist the temptation and avoid the top and bottom of the hour and schedule at 10 or 20 minutes past the hour. Less releases are coming out at that time.
  • Public versus private: To avoid getting caught up in Public company releases that are distributed before and after the market, schedule after 9:30 a.m. or before 4:00 p.m., unless it’s breaking news and cannot be avoided. This levels the playing field with the big players.
  • Globalization: If this release is going out worldwide, be sure to consider time zones in scheduling to appropriately capture the largest share of your audience during business hours.

Post release priorities

Just because your press release got out the door there are certain timely action items that still need to be considered:

  • Place proactive calls to the press to help develop a story. This should be done right away to capture the interest and while the news is relevant.
  • Your release will drive traffic to your website so ensure that it is also placed on your website immediately before it is released publicly.
  • A company spokesperson should be available for calls – this is not the time to go on vacation!

Now that we have covered the Who (audience) and the What (format) in our previous blogs, and the timing of When with this blog, next up will be Where (distribution) before we get to the all-important: Why and How – developing topics and writing content.

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Ascentium Capital can help whenever the timing is right for your company. Our fast, flexible financing programs allow you to acquire the equipment and technology your business needs to grow.

Contact us today for a no-obligation quote.

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