Timing matters: 4 timing tips to keep top of mind when pitching media
You may have the perfect story, backed up with great stats, images and a great pitch to go with it but, if the timing is wrong, it could result in little to no coverage. Whilst it can be hard to predict other news that may land on the same day, there are some things from a timing standpoint that are worth considering to maximise your chances of success.
It’s all in the planning
To really set yourself up for success, it’s essential that you plan ahead and give yourself enough time to effectively pitch your story to the press. Are you centring your story around a particular national day or are you launching a product that’s hitting shop shelves for a certain date? If so, you’d typically have this window way in advance meaning you can prepare accordingly. Pinning your story to a particular notable date/event/launch ensures it’s timely and, more importantly, newsworthy.
When tying your story/pitch to a notable date in the calendar, it is however worth noting that there should be a clear connection between the brand and the event, in order for this avenue to be successful. While, if you’re pitching a product launch, it goes without saying that this should rollout prior to the product’s release to generate as much buzz as possible. If you can, you should also always offer your friendlies advance access, under embargo, enabling them to be the first to break the news.
Utilise editorial calendars
While not every outlet has a regimented forward features calendar, incorporating editorial focuses for the year ahead, those that do can prove incredibly helpful when planning your pitch. Having insight into what journalists are working on in advance of pitching your story can be a valuable resource, enabling you to map out relevant stories to lean into for the duration of your campaign.
React to the news before someone else does
Planning ahead is all well and good but, reacting to relevant industry news in a timely manner is another great way to ensure your brand has a voice in important/relevant conversations. For instance, if you know a relevant bill is going to be discussed in parliament, or important legislation that impacts the industry you’re operating in is about to be passed, take the time to reach out to some of your media friendlies to ask if they’re planning to run a story on the matter and offer up your opinion. That way, as the story starts to rollout across the media, you already have a share of that voice.
If there’s an instance a relevant story lands that you didn’t have advance insight into, reach out to the journalists covering it to offer your brand’s opinion on the matter for inclusion in any follow up stories they may have in the works; while also pitching your other relevant contacts, who haven’t yet covered it, to offer your support with any prospective pieces they may be working on.
Know your media and the deadlines they’re working to
As a general rule of thumb, determining the best time to pitch media is contingent on the type of outlet you’re pitching. While each and every outlet and journalist can differ ever so slightly, for short-lead media like your national newspapers and broadcast, weekday mornings are traditionally the best time to reach out - as this is when much of their planning takes place. Long lead media typically work around three-four months in advance so, if you’re looking for a quick win, this probably isn’t the best avenue to be exploring.
However, as all journalists and outlets work in slightly different ways, the key is to build relationships to fully understand when does and doesn’t work for your important contacts, their deadlines and any pet peeves they may have when it comes to receiving pitches. Above all, working to deadlines and ensuring you send your story well in advance of a journalist’s deadline ensures you have ample time to iron out any additional requirements before the story is published/airs.
With all this considered it’s also important to remember that, as we’re working with the media, things can always happen that are out of our control. Sometimes a bigger piece of breaking news may well land that you had no insight into, which no amount of planning could have avoided but, for the most part, ensuring you’re organised, you understand your target medias’ schedule and you time your pitch right, will set you up for success.
We’re incredibly proud of our media relations work and the strong relationships we have with our network of press contacts. If you need help getting your organisation seen in the media, get in touch!