The best time & day to successfully send a press release in 2023 is…
You poured your heart and soul into your PR. Now you want to know the best time to send a press release to get the maximum coverage. Hint: the answer is going to make you mad.
Okay, that might be a little bit dramatic. But we're going to look at some of the myths and misconceptions about the best time to send a press release and give you our recommendation for the absolute best time to send a release for maximum efficacy. And hopefully not make you that mad.
A cursory glance around the Internet will give you many different answers regarding the best day to send a press release. Of course, we are big fans of data-informed strategy. But even data only shows part of the story when it comes to the best "day" or "time" to do anything. You may have isolated the exact millisecond that a press release should be sent, but does that matter if you're sending it to people who don't give a crap?
Well, we at Prezly think it's more important to focus on getting the right information to the right people in the right way, as opposed to blasting the wrong people with useless information at the Witching Hour of Press Release Optimization.
If we had to pick the wrong time to send a press release, maybe Friday at 4 p.m.? But even then, it's not like your press release won't be sitting in their inbox on Monday morning.
Getting the proper information to your intended audience in a timely manner is more important than some arbitrary time and day of the week. Especially as audiences become more global, deciding on the perfect time and day is no longer relevant outside of your specific time zone anyway.
Let's put it this way: a good relationship with a journalist means that they will open your pitch, even if you sent it at 4 a.m. on (God forbid) a Thursday. If they know you to be a reliable source of credible, engaging, relevant information, they will prioritize your story regardless of when you send it.
Backlinko even did a study on this topic that found very little difference between when email pitches were sent and whether or not they were opened. That same study found that:
- When you send a pitch matters, but only a tiny bit
- Wednesday is the best day (by a small margin)
- Subject lines are important
- Personalized pitches are the most successful
It's not like journalists are only sitting at their inbox for certain hours of the day and only responding to emails that happen to catch them at the exact right moment. I'll let you in on a little secret: emails typically sit there until somebody reads them or deletes them. Very few emails spontaneously combust.
If you find the right journalists to tell your story, make it easy for them, pitch them the way they want to be pitched, and have a compelling story to tell, the rest is just details.
We're being a little bit cheeky with the exact day and time you should send your press release, but knowing how far in advance you should send your PR is quite important. It's good to keep in mind that journalists need to have timely news to pitch to their editors. They don't necessarily want to run a story about a business you opened seven months ago. But, they're also busy, so telling them about something that won't happen for a long time is also not ideal.
The truth is, journalists don't always have control even over their own stories. A writer or journalist can pitch an idea, but ultimately it's up to the editor and publication to run the story or not. All you can do is get them the timeliest information possible and hope for the best.
We would certainly err to the side of sooner rather than later because news cycles can be unpredictable. But don't pitch so early that you overpromise and fail to deliver.
This goes back to that relationship-building thing we keep harping on. When you have a good, working, collaborative relationship with the media folks in your life, you can ask them:
- How far in advance do you want my press releases?
- Do you prefer a specific time or day to get your email pitches?
- Are there particular assets you like (or loathe) in your pitches?
Journalists want to run your story. They have a professional incentive to provide quality content to their audiences and editors. They don't want a bunch of irrelevant information they can't use, or that is out of their wheelhouse. They'd rather get a good press release at the wrong time than a bad press release at the right time. So focus on quality, not on minor details.
Connecting with journalists is so important that we've had a number of them on our PR Roundtable series:
- How writers want to be pitched with Kelsey Ogletree and Holly Brockwell
- Making your email pitch land with Jacob Hauge and Karen Schellekens
- Pitching to podcasts with Christina Nicholson
- How to pitch to anyone with Dmitry Dragilev
We really love this topic. And we know from experience as PR software nerds that how you pitch will make or break your communications strategy (oh yeah, we also talk a lot about strategy).
If you're relying on wire distribution services as a major part of your press release strategy, you may want to factor in the press release pitch timing a little bit more than if you're distributing your PR to the media directly. The wire distribution services handle a high volume of press releases, which means yours can certainly get buried. (Come this way for a lengthy diatribe on why wire services aren't god's gift to PR, or compare which tools best suit your needs in our riveting Cision vs Meltwater vs Prezly showdown.)
Cision's 2021 State of the Press Release Report indicates that Tuesday is the best day to reach journalists through their distribution service, but also… all of the other days. This again reiterates the fact that quality is of a higher priority than timing.
Focus on the quality and relevance of your pitch, not when you send it. If you'd like an ideal time and date, shoot for Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But outside of that, how you pitch and the relationships you build will be infinitely more important from a strategic standpoint.
If you're ready to send those pitches, see how Prezly can help you out!
Or if you were blown away by how many PR Roundtable episode references we managed to fit into one short article, subscribe to the series.
Updated June 2023