You have a press release that needs to go out. It’s an important one for your organization and you want to get everything to be just right – including the time and date of issuance. You have been tasked with getting the news out at the same time to all important outlets. Oh, and yes, the news needs to be sent globally!
How can this be done?
You might already know what time you need to get the release out in the U.S. and/or Canada. Maybe there is a specific time before market open, or after market close when your releases traditionally are sent. That’s one box checked. But should everyone around the world get the release at the same time?
Not necessarily. Issuing a release at the exact same time worldwide is difficult, and almost never optimal – especially for corporate or product news. One part of the world is going to be asleep at any given time, and you would need to decide which area is of least importance since business news is not often watched by overnight shifts.
You have a few options to consider when planning a global announcement.
Newspapers, television, and magazines, Oh My!
If you have timely news that is primarily aimed at non-U.S. newspapers, wire services and other forms of general media with a very tight deadline, then you need to make sure the press release is sent between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. local time Monday-Thursday, with a stretch at 10 a.m. That’s when the journalists are planning their spot stories. Friday is not a good day to send news you’d like to be seen in daily media because the weekend editions are almost set. Remember, most business stories are handled by the business reporters on their various beats, and never reach a hard-news desk.
Sending between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. local time will also ensure your local offices or agencies will have time to make follow-up calls, and do some specialized pitching. Beware of embargoing a release – in many countries, embargoes are not honored.
News only a Trade Pub will love…
If you have a release that is specifically designed for trade publications, and you’re sending it out on the wire because you want the release to be sent to the industry reporter at local newspapers, available to your customers online, and found in search, then it really doesn’t matter what time you send it out. It’s the day that makes the difference.
You would need to know which day that particular publication has a deadline for the print issue, and what restrictions that may have for copy destined for online versions of the publication. The editorial calendar would tell you most of that, and a simple query of a journalist or reviewing their profile in a database could help you identify this information. Monday through Thursday tends to be the sweet spot, but refer to their editorial calendar, because in some countries Wednesday is the accepted deadline. Sending between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. locally is still often best. Outside that time it may be missed, depending on the country. It also doesn’t have to be on the top or bottom of the hour to be effective. Be a rebel. Send it at 9:17.
It’s the people…
If you’re writing a content marketing piece, or a release that is aimed at consumers, customers or the general public, then focus on which day of the week the release is posted online. Some sites will carry the release longer than others – the typical range is anywhere from 2 hours for the busiest sites to 2 weeks for other sites. After that, the release will move onto various archives and databases.
If you’re targeting consumers, look at the trends for internet search and usage in your target countries and send the release out accordingly. In most countries, Thursday or Friday is a good time to issue if you’re not concerned at all with media pickup. Most websites will hold the release over the weekend – prime time for search spiders and consumer eyeballs. If you do want media attention as well, I usually recommend Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
But it HAS to go out NOW!
If you have a crisis, or the unthinkable happens, then rules go out the window. You need press release out, and you need it out NOW. No problem. With only a few country limitations, we can work with you to get your crisis message out during your time frame.
If you have a global entertainment or sporting event press release that must be simultaneous, then it can be done with some prior planning. You’d do much better if you have celebrity pictures or video to support the event, Otherwise, it’s just another text release that came and went in the night. If you want eyeballs on your release at off hours, more visuals offer a better chance of engagement.
So what’s best?
For maximum engagement, I counsel our clients to do a staggered timing approach. Issuing a release between 7 a.m and 8 a.m. ET will meet disclosure and get it out at the same time in U.S., Canada, Latin America, U.K., Europe, Eastern Europe (make the release closer to 7 if this is a goal), Middle East and Africa. For Asia, including India, aim to send the release later that day our time, which is morning of the next day their time. Private companies have more flexibility to choose to issue a release in Asia first, and then roll it out through the world at optimal local times. Changing the dateline to the actual date of issuance in Asia is desirable, but not necessary in most cases.
Of course, there are countries where there are specific customs and situations that will change the recommendations I’ve made above. For the most part, these rules stand around the globe. Which is round, by the way.
But of course, you knew that.