Timing Matters – What Day Do You Send a Press Release?

What is the best day to send a press release? That is one of the most popular questions people ask PR pros – especially from the people that think PR is just writing and sending releases.

You can ask 100 PR professionals this question and get 100 different answers. At least one-third, typically the most-experienced professionals, will tell you Monday or Tuesday is the best day to send a press release. This stems from when news was primarily printed on paper or broadcast on TV at a specific time each day. No doubt, social media has changed the thinking on this.

In a recent survey via Twitter, I received some helpful responses from the news wires. PRNewswire suggests sending news in the middle of the week and to steer clear of Mondays and Fridays. Business Wire on the other hand, suggests early in the day and early in the week for most press releases. readMedia, a social media release start-up, sees little difference in weekdays, but advises against sending releases on weekends for obvious reasons.

That settles it for me. There is NO best time to send a press release. The ‘best’ time varies depending on your targets, type of news and industry. If it’s timely and geographically pertinent, just pick up the phone and call the reporter (or shoot them an email). If your press release is weak (be honest), why send it out at all?

Assuming you do have some news of value, and decide to go the release route, you’ll need to figure out the best day for yourself. Here are some suggestions that may help you figure out the best time to send your press release:

  • Figure out where you’d like your news to appear – if you’re targeting daily newspapers in major markets, distribution timing is more critical than if you’re targeting monthly magazines.
  • Use keywords – do keyword research. Your press release is going to appear in dozens of places online. Use keywords people are searching for on Google. I picked the headline for this post based on the number of searches for “best day to send press release” versus “best time to send news release.” This stuff matters if you want to improve your pickup and get more ROI from your PR efforts.
  • Email distribution guidelines – most email marketing service providers publish reports on the best times to send email. If you rely on email distribution for your press releases, use these guidelines to improve your open rates.
  • Make sure you really have ‘news’ in your press release – you may think you’ve got a ‘hot’ story to share, but are you a journalist? Read the release out loud – does it read like a news story? Could you imagine reading the release that way in the paper or magazine you’re targeting? If it doesn’t read like a news story, go back to the drawing board and make it more interesting.
  • Traffic is an okay outcome for a press release too – you don’t have to always get a bunch of press for a press release. If your goal is to get exposure on the Web for your new service or office move, send the press release out on an SEO-friendly news wire and be done with it (don’t pitch the release – just send it and forget it). Then, put the release on your website and share it across your social media channels once before actually ‘forgetting’ it.
  • Know the news peaks and troughs of your industry – figure out when everyone else is sending their news to journalists and send yours at a different day and time. A lot of agencies send their news for 7:00 a.m. distribution on a Monday – how about 10:3 a.m.? Better yet, 10:37 a.m. on a Thursday? If your news doesn’t have to be out there at a specific time, distribute it at off-peak times to improve your chance of getting noticed.
  • Ask your wire service – if you use a wire service to distribute your news (like PRWeb, PRNewswire, BusinessWire or Marketwire), find out what the best day is to distribute your press release. Ask them to let you know what peak distribution times are for your industry or geographic segment.
  • Holidays and other conflicts – are there any big holidays coming up? Is there other seasonal news in your industry that will affect your press release pickup? Don’t send press releases the week before or after Christmas, unless you have timely holiday news.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to sending your press release, but these are a few guidelines that have served me well over the years. We are constantly monitoring situations like these for our clients and customizing what we do for each one.