Being able to write a good pitch is a key skill all PR professionals need to have in their arsenal. Pitches to media professionals should be sharp, succinct, targeted and tied together with a clickable subject line.
We’ve previously written about how to build a media list.
However, it doesn’t matter how great your pitch is, if you send it at the wrong time, you won’t get the coverage you hoped for. To make the most of your release, and capture as many eyes as possible, try following these timing tips:
- Time of the day
The working day can be hectic and all over the shop. Ideally, you want to target journalists at the calmest point of their day, when they aren’t too busy and are reviewing emails. Generally mid-morning, until around lunchtime yields good results before editorial meetings. This falls after the rush of settling in for the day and sorting through the morning’s emails, but before afternoon deadlines start to kick in.
If you’re an early riser, many people also check their emails en route to work so you might, in fact, gain some traction by sending your pitch out at the start of the day.
- Day of the week
Avoid Friday afternoon, weekends and Mondays. Friday afternoons can be hit and miss, but if you’re unsure, work under the assumption that people are either busy working on weekend deadlines or are planning to leave the office early. With weekends, unless you have a major breaking story, you most likely won’t get picked up and very few journalists will even be checking their emails. Come Monday, they will be clearing out an inbox laden down with two and a half days worth of emails, pitches, media notices and alerts, so you do take a risk thereof being deleted.
For best results try sending out your content midweek, Tuesday – Thursday. On these days, your contacts will be most receptive to new stories and more likely to take on your piece.
- Time of the Year
Keep track of seasonal events, that will either take over media coverage around that period (think Christmas, New Years, Halloween etc.) or mean people will have taken some time off. If your story isn’t urgent or directly related to the event, your best bet would be to hold off until the festivities have blown over to get the best coverage possible.
The same goes for relevant industry events if you’re trying to pitch a story about your new unheard of tech business the same week as the Web Summit chances are you won’t see much return. Unless your story ties in with the event, hold off for a few days or a week.
The biggest hurdle when it comes to getting coverage is getting your pitch opened. Obviously, you can help this by ensuring your content is sharp and your subject line is engaging, but at the end of the day, it comes down to hitting your target contact at the right time. These tips should help you on the way to becoming the most timely PR pro in the business. However, every journalist and contact is different. They work off different schedules, publish their work at different times and if you’re working internationally may even live in different time zones. But, over time you can try to become attuned with the people you’re pitching, know if someone is living a few hours ahead, or is more likely to open emails in the evening. That level of understanding comes with hard work and patience but to get yourself started, remember to think: Time of day, day of week and time of year.
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More About Jack
Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years’ experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner.
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