The Best Day to 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, and typically this is the most-experienced third, will tell you Monday or Tuesday is the best day to send a press release. A lot of this stems out of an age where news was primarily printed on paper or broadcast on TV at a specific time each day. I don’t think there is a ‘best’ day, but that’s just my opinion.

I decided to ask some experts about this topic via Twitter and 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, 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 and type of news. In some cases, it might not make sense to send a press release at all. If your news is strong – timely, relevant, localized or sensational – you probably don’t need a press release. 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.
  • Understand frequency and production limitations – how frequently does the media outlet produce content? How much lead time do they need to produce a story? Can they send out a TV crew before lunch, or do you need to schedule things weeks in advance?
  • 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 the word out there 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 again, you should 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 7:00AM distribution on a Monday – how about 10:37AM? Better yet, 10:37AM 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.
  • If your news has to be out at a specific time… – if your news has to be out there at a specific time, often due to financial regulations or other compliance requirements, you should know the ‘best’ time to send out your press release.
  • 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.
  • Ask your wire service – if you use a wire service to distribute your news (like PRWeb, PRNewswire, BusinessWire or Marketwire), ask your account manager 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.
  • Use keywords – do keyword research. Your press release is going to appear in dozens of places online. Select keywords people are searching for. 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.

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. I hope this post helps you figure out the best day to send your press release.

Do you have other suggestions for sending press releases? Please share your advice below.

(Image Credit: Time by alancleaver_2000)

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.

41 Comments

  1. Great post! As a newspaper reporter who just recently went into PR, I absolutely agree. Time doesn’t matter. It is all about the news. A journalist is just as likely to have breaking news on a Monday as he or she is on a Wednesday or Friday, day or night. The vast majority of press releases go straight into the trash unless they have hard news (police, fire, public health, etc.) You’re better off calling the reporter(s) you think would be most interested.

    • It’s great validation to hear this from a reporter. I always hesitate giving advice on how to contact a reporter, not being a reporter. I love it when reporters agree. Thanks!

  2. there is a small typo “Then again, you should put the rleease on your website and share it across your social media channels once before actually ‘forgetting’ it.”

    rleease

    just fyi

  3. Thank you for clearning this up! 😉 Indeed, there is no right answer, as it all depends on the news you’re announcing, the goals for the release, and what else is going on in the world. Good tips all around–thanks for the thoughtful post.

    • Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you liked the post. Please let me know if there are any other tidbits you would like to share of interest to readers.

  4. Jeremy took a cursory look at some statistics from PRWeb — and this is by no means comprehensive or statistically significant — however, the indication supports your thesis:

    Of all the releases PRWeb customers have submitted this year, the top three count two releases submitted on Wednesday and the third release published on Thursday.

    Next I look at what days PRWeb releases (in aggregate) drew the most page views. It’s not a perfect indication since PRWeb releases derive a lot of traffic from search, which is often residual, and also doesn’t account for volume of releases submitted, but at a glance, it’s also supportive. Top 5 days to date this year:

    1. Wednesday, April 21
    2. Tuesday, July 6
    3. Monday, March 8
    4. Tuesday, January 19
    5. Monday, January 11

    Aside from intentionally burying a release on a Friday, something that is perhaps more common in politics than business, what is the best time to submit a release? I think you’ve got it a pretty good answer already. Nice post!

    • Frank: thanks to you (and Jiyan no doubt) for your comment. Page views is an interesting way to test my hypothesis, and I appreciate you guys being open with your data (and willing to take the time to crunch some numbers).

  5. A learning from India is that since the weekend newspaper editions are often more feature-oriented, business-led releases do better during weekdays. Having said that, weekends work if the news can stand on its own as the beat reporters are usually off during the weekends and it’s the desk that decides what should go in.

  6. I think you’re not asking the right question. The question should be “should I be wasting my time with a standard press release at all?” If you’re not working your targeted reporters with targeted, engaging email with catchy subject lines, (and while they are at work and not on deadline), sending a press release by itself is lame.

    Instead, craft a short, targeted email and repurpose the information on your newsroom or blog. Use Twitter and Facebook when appropriate to push out your news.

  7. It is just as important to know when to end out a release that you don’t want to be seen.

    That is why we say “Take out the trash on Friday.” Most bulldog editions are set by Thursday PM, fluffs are filed, reporters are looking for the weekend and around noon Friday you’re getting the weekend staff.

    Granted the Internet has complicated this but still a good benchmark.

  8. Here’s my take as a print reporter and blogger: if you really want it in my publication, you will have asked about my deadlines and meet them. It is amazing how many press releases get sent that might work for a TV deadline but arrived too late for best print placement or sometimes ANY print placement.

    • Great point – there are tons of stories that never get written because the press release is too late. Thanks!

  9. Agreeing with Brian, it IS about the news. The news is timely, so your point about frequency and production is well made. A few months back I wrote about the Atlanta PRSA ICF meeting with local media, and per their respective production schedules, each had a best and worst day to send releases.

    Claire is also right about should it be a release at all. Maybe a quick pitch is the better option. The thing is to do your homework: talk to the reporters and editors about how and when they prefer news releases… if they are truly helpful to them, then they’ll be more receptive to your story. FWIW.

    • You can spend all your time writing and sending a release, or you can send a quick DM to the reporter – both can end up in a cover story… but one approach is much more efficient. Thanks for making the point Davina.

  10. Here at CNW — a Canadian newswire — “when is the best time to send a news release” is the question we receive most often. I think you hit the nail on the head with figuring out when the best time to send *your* news is, and also to make sure it really is *news* that you’re sending. Great tips!

  11. You provide some good advice.
    However, here is the bottom line, and it is the most important point that every PR professional should know: If your press release is truly newsworthy it will attract the attention of any reporter at any time.
    I know this because I’ve worked in several newsrooms for more than three decades. If a newsworthy press release came across my desk — and there weren’t that many —- I would act on it almost immediately or mark it for follow up to develop a story.
    A good story is a good story is a good story.
    End of story.

  12. I send some releases to journalists, but most often as a brief email with a link to a release on PRWeb or some other distribution site. I have issued releases every week on PRWeb the past three months, with release dates falling on every weekday.

    By PRWeb data for those releases, no day of the week has produced substantially better, or worse, results than any other. Keeping in mind PRWeb reaches a very broad audience, and not exclusively journalists, the best responses still come from the most intriguing headlines and most compelling news.

    To your point about keywords, Jeremy, I have always preferred “news release” to “press release,” but there are considerably more searches for the latter. So, for optimization purposes, I use “press release.”

    Thanks for providing some additional clarity regarding timing.

    Jim Bowman
    ThePRDoc®

    • You got me on that one. I was thinking “day and time,” but wrote “day.” There are far more day and time variations, but day probably limits you to one of seven answers. Thanks for clearing that up Mitch.

  13. The best time to send a news release (“press” is so old-fashioned) is when you have something newsworthy to say. The worst time is when you have something newsworthy and a major news story (e.g., plane crashes, major earthquake, etc.) takes up all the commentary.

  14. Disclosure: I am the SEM and Social Media Specialist @Marketwire.

    Another insightful post Jeremy. I agree with you in that there really is no best time. It also depends on one’s goals. If the goal is for SEO purposes, then day and time really doesn’t matter. If your goal is for editorial, media, social media, etc. pickup, then it will vary depending on the industry and the content of the news release. There might be preferences based on one’s experience, but there is no set rule. One thing I will note is, the stock market (NYSE) opens at 9:30 AM EST so take that into consideration if sending financial related news releases.

    Nick @shinng
    http://www.twitter.com/marketwire
    http://www.facebook.com/marketwire
    http://www.marketwireblog.com

  15. Why are you asking PR professionals about the best time to send a press release? The best, thing to do is ask the people who will be receiving the press release. TV, print, web, bloggers, whatever – they all have different deadlines and different needs. Meet those deadlines and needs, and you’ll set yourself apart.

    As a former newspaper editor and reporter, I will tell you what I consider to be the absolute best time to send a press release if you want to ensure that you get a story out of it: After you’ve called the reporter, pitched the story, and gotten their interest.

    As a reporter and editor, I threw out tons of releases. I read them all first, but that behavior was not the norm among my colleagues. The releases I acted on were the ones I was expecting. It was a very rare “blind” press release that got my attention – and that was usually only if I was absolutely desperate for a story.

    If you want to make sure someone writes a story about your news, call them. Ask whether it’s interesting to their readers. Make sure it’s relevant to their beat. Find out what parts of your story interest them the most. Let them know you’ll send a press release with all the facts and details as a follow-up to the conversation. Then hang up, make sure your release says everything the reporter just told you that he/she needs to know, and send. This builds your relationship with the reporter, shows that you’ll do exactly what you say you’ll do, and creates an atmosphere of trust between you.

    You absolutely can send a press release without warning, but that’s the equivalent of dropping a penny in a well and waiting to hear the splash. You’ll be waiting a mightly long time.

    (I’m just assuming here that you’ve already vetted your information and made sure you’re actually pitching news. I won’t let my nonprofit pitch anything that’s not actual news, in order to make sure that my stock stays high with the reporters I deal with. They know I won’t bother them with things that aren’t news, so they are more inclined to read what I send.)

    • The press in our metropolitan market are so busy they NEVER answer the phone and I don’t blame them. E communication is so much more efficient.

    • Hi Lea (or anybody else that can answer this question)
      What’s the best way of finding reporters contact information and email? Is there a source / database somewhere? Of course you can go to their site or find stories they wrote and find their information that way.. but that would take months. Any suggestions?

      • Hi LadyTravels – thanks for the comment. There are a lot of different options on the market today for researching journalist contact information. From my personal experience, I’ve found it best to go direct to the source first – many journalists are now pretty open with their contact information. If you go to the specific publications you’re looking to contact, most list editorial contact information (sometimes right on the articles) for specific journalists. If that doesn’t work, step two would be to research the journalists via social media (LinkedIn, Twitter) to see if you can find them there. If that doesn’t work, and you’ve got some budget, you can look into software like Vocus or Cision that are built specifically for this task. If you don’t have budget, ask some of your peers in the industry, some of them might have relationships with the journalists you’re trying to reach. I hope this helps.

  16. I’ve found that the conventional “Friday is trash day” mentality (remember “The West Wing” — saving Fridays for announcing unfavorable news?) doesn’t apply universally. A Friday news release may not be the ideal time for a daily paper, but if local weeklies are important to you like they are to me, that often is the best day. Same with local radio or to a lesser extent TV. The formula of story ideas, available air time, and staffing makes for a different dynamic on weekends (holidays too). They have to have content of some kind, why not yours? Sure, it’s less ideal than weekday drive-time radio or the 6-o’clock news, but coverage on the weekend is better than no coverage at all. The biggest news-talk radio station in our market is always looking for local sound on the weekends. This can be a good home for your evergreen pitches, and more importantly, maintain your relationship with the news staff and show producers. But yes, more than anything else, the pitch seldom goes farther than the strength of the story takes it. And of course there’s nothing that says you have to send the same release to the same people on the same day!

  17. It seems that all reporters are scared to ask the most important questions when it comes to the debt crisis. It is so simple. Reporters need to ask why can’t the United States cut back on the money that is being given to the foreign countries to help resolved the budget crisis; instead of hurting the American people. Social Security should never be touched due to this is money that Americans pay in all their life while working. Another important question to ask that is not being asked; is why is there no mention of the Republicans nor Democrats talking about cutting or freezing their salaries, trips and spending accounts. The American people have had enough of government building into the budget to give billions of dollars to the foreign countries and they never pay a penny back, but left on the debt for the American people to repay. I am not saying cut out all the money, but at the present the government needs to take care of the United States first and the American people. So, why is it that none of the reporters have the guts to ask these questions to resolving the debt problems.

    A very concerned citizen,

    Bruce Long

  18. Thanks for the insight – i’ve been reading about promoting a website. I’ve typically been a developer/designer on sites, never a marketer. I’ve found myself in this position – Once i have a press release (news release for Bill at ABC) what do i do with it? Where do i submit it? How do i submit it? Who should I submit it to? If you could point me to a place that says, “so you have a press release – now what” that’d be great.

    Thank you again for the info.

  19. Great advice! I very much agree with you on the importance of using keywords in a press release. I actually tested this by distributing 2 press releases that were almost exactly the same, except with different headlines. The press release with a headline that did not include common search terms only got picked up on 10 websites. The press release with a headline that used popular search terms got picked up on over 100 websites. Using keywords that people are searching for often really does improve your pickup and ROI.

  20. Thanks for advice. I am working for non-profit event and trying to work out the how’s, why’s and wherefores of media release and found your article very helpful. cheers Sarah

  21. Thanks for sharing this. We’re in the media field, specifically marketing through video and animation, and we’re trying to see what would be the best way to make an impact with our PR. Your advice has greatly helped.

    • I’ve researched this topic thoroughly in the past, and the best advice I can give is to use a test/learn approach. Try different days and times for your releases to see what gets the best response. You can cheat a little bit by looking for the best times to engage audiences in these industries across other media (such as social media or email marketing). Since all tactics are competing for attention, it makes sense that response rates for press releases would be similar to those for email or social media. Services such as Buffer.com help to home in on the best engagement times – and Dan Zarrella at HubSpot regularly shares research on the ‘science’ of engaging with audiences (search Google for his posts on the science of social media and content marketing). Then again, the day/time you send a press release is less important than the content of your press release. If you have legitimate news to share, and you target the right journalists with that news, you will see a greater response rate on any day or at any time. Sorry for the delay in my response – I hope this feedback helps.

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