When it comes to pitching stories to the media, it’s all about the timing. Any PR strategy includes a pitch to journalists or other relevant professionals, and email is often the primary tool used for contact.
This means, however, that your contact’s inbox is most likely receiving hundreds of other PR pitches, news stories, and alerts.
While you may have a perfectly worded email to send, it’s critical to get your pitch at the top of the inbox to make sure it gets read. If you’re working in PR or email marketing, this article may be helpful to you as it explains the best time to hit send on a PR pitch to increase your email open frequency.
Below are the Guidelines for a PR Pitch
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What days should you avoid sending a pitch?
It’s important to avoid certain days when emailing pitches to the media. For any major release, stay away from the send button on Friday afternoons and Mondays. Most people who work Monday to Friday usually have no interest in reviewing or taking on something new at the end of the week, and Friday afternoons are a common time for the last-minute scramble to meet a deadline.
As for Mondays, the day is usually busy with clearing out emails from the weekend and planning for the week ahead. If an important email pitch is sent on the weekend or on a Monday, it’s likely to get caught in this email purge and won’t be read.
What days are best to maximize your chances?
With that being said, have the middle of the week as a target for emailing a pitch. It’s much more likely that your contact will have the time and inclination to read your email on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
What about the best time of the day?
So now you know what days to send your PR pitch on, what about the time of day? It’s best to send pitches either in the morning or early afternoon, at which time your contact is most likely to be reading through their inbox. Most people check their email as soon as they get to work, or on their way in, and also after taking a lunch break.
In fact, a study from PR Daily has found that more than 70 percent of Americans check their email sometime between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Furthermore, if you’re not an early riser, you can also think about emailing your pitch in the evening. About 70 percent of Americans have reported that they look at their emails after 6 p.m., usually before going to sleep.
It may also be helpful to consider whether you’re pitching to a morning or evening news writer, and send your email the evening before, or in the period of the day before they start, respectively.
Be aware of major events and holidays, and avoid them if possible.
In addition to being aware of the timing during the week, the time of year is also important. You should avoid emailing your story during a major event or the holidays. A holiday like Christmas is pretty obvious and easy to avoid, but consider regional and cultural holidays that may affect your recipient’s region of the world. For example, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving more than a month earlier than in the United States.
It’s also critical to be informed of other industry events and conferences that could be given priority at that time. For example, if you are in the tech industry, it’s best to avoid sending out a pitch at the same time as Google or Apple keynotes.
It’s also good practice to check that there are no major events in your contact’s region if you’re emailing journalists. If there’s an important story happening, the media will likely be too involved with this to read your pitch.
In short, if you’re emailing a pitch to someone who’s on holiday or busy with a major event in their region, your email may be passed over entirely or put on the back burner for a while.
Don’t forget about time zones!
Before pressing send, double-check the time zone in your recipient’s region. For example, if you’re working in Seattle, and you want to send an email at 8 a.m., but your contact is in New York, they’ll receive it at 11 a.m., which is outside the optimal pitching time.
This is even more important to consider when dealing with a global network with bigger time differences. Make sure you know where your contact is based before you press send, and plan your email dissemination for a time that is best for their schedule – even if it means you have to stay up late or wake up early!
Sending is better than not sending.
With all that being said, it’s obviously always better to send your PR pitch than send nothing at all, even if that means sending it on a Friday or in the afternoon. More and more, journalists are working from home and are on their phones on the go, and these rules laid out above wouldn’t apply to them.
If you can wait and get the timing right, please do so to maximize your potential impact, but don’t let these guidelines prevent you from sending out anything at all.
What can we take away from this?
We all know there is more to a successful pitch than timing, and a lot of it comes down to the writing – engaging, personal, and short. Writing these pitches can be done at any time, any day. But it would be a shame to ignore the timing of the distribution and risk your brilliant pitch not being opened at all.
If you follow the guidelines above, and send your pitch during the middle of the week, early in the morning, or right after lunch according to your recipient’s time zone, and steer clear of major events and holidays, it could make the difference between your great pitch being read, or deleted without a look.
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