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Press Release Timing

Q: What is the best timing for a press release?

  • The timing of your press release is very important to its effect. While it's great to have lots of news about your company, putting out too many press releases, especially on top of one another, can spell disaster. At last September's Ask the Expert Forum on Public Relations, Susan DeFife, President, CEO, and Founder of Women's Connection Online had this to say: "You have to have something to announce. A lot of people will just put out press releases. But you have to really put it through the acid test. Is it newsworthy? Is it new? Is it a trend release? Is it an issues-oriented release? It has to be something new. I wouldn't advise putting out a press release for the sake of putting out a press release."

    Ms. DeFife recommends having a 3-, 6-, 9-, or 12-month plan of possible news your company will announce and scheduling your releases accordingly. Ms. DeFife continues that there is "No secret time frame for putting out a release every week or every other week. It's really driven by news and what your overall strategy is." Done right, she says, people will start becoming aware of your company, if you have news and you put out releases on a consistent schedule.

    Gene Austin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for NetStart agrees. "We subscribe to the Big Bang theory in PR in that we like to have a fairly significant announcement and not just, 'We added a partner here,' or 'We did this,' or 'We did that.' We like to have a couple of messages that reinforce our overall strategy." Mr. Austin says, "Every three or four months we try to look for something fairly big" to release to their target publications.

    It's also important to have credibility with reporters and with investors, so, "You have to be honest about what you can do and what stage you are at." Ms. DeFife found that investors were looking for proof of what their company could do on their own, without the investment. So, their press releases were tailored accordingly. "We announced what we could when we were ready and, as new developments occurred, we announced something else on top of it. You don?t have to have everything there ready and perfect all at once with the announcement and go out for one big bang, because then you?ve got nothing else to follow up with."

    Ms. DeFife explained that at their current stage, with so many announcements going out, "It's got to be newsworthy." They put a six-week schedule together of what to release and when. "We have to be very careful not to step on ourselves. Last week, we had a really nice Reuters story and we said, 'Hold everything else, because the Reuters story is out there. It's really great and we're getting a lot of coverage from it.'" So, while having too much news is a great problem to have, be careful to schedule your press releases so they don't cannibalize each other.

 

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