Timing can easily make the difference between getting picked up and getting ignored.
There are two angles to timing.
Responding to a journalist when they are writing an article, and when they need a business quote, case study or image. This is when they really need you and your business and their eyes and ears are wide open.
So, when a journalist is actually looking for a business comment this is the very best time to hook them.
This needs a business either to use one of the online services that watches for such requests and makes businesses aware, or to be watching social feeds for requests being posted there, although this can be quite time consuming.
Whichever route the key is to respond to the journalist as quickly as possible, even if they say that their deadline is not urgent.
When you, as a business, has something to say, or some news about your business to share. This is when the journalist is not actually proactively asking for comments, and the business has to work harder to be noticed, which means that the news story has to be compelling, and critically the timing has to be right.
There are three things to focus on:
- Ideally the story should have a connection with news that is, or is likely to be, trending in the media. In other words, it must be relevant in the eyes of the journalist. For example, if a pandemic lockdown has been announced there is likely to be an interest in how this might affect businesses.
- Anticipating when journalists will be planning future articles, such as Christmas gift guides. Preparation for these will, for example, be underway in September and October and press releases looking to be featured should be distributed then rather than waiting until December.
- Knowing the deadline days for target journalists. If individual journalists are being targeted, as opposed to distributing news broadly, then understanding and working to the journalist’s planning cycle is important. Weekend journalists will be wanting to have most of their columns planned, if not written by Tuesday or Wednesday for example, so news distributions by noon on Tuesdays will have a much better chance of pick up than releases on a Friday.
There are several online PR services available to help businesses both with timing and content creation, as well as connecting businesses to journalists when they are looking for comment.
JournoLink is one such platform, built for small businesses and agencies wanting an affordable and easy to use way of engaging with journalists.