In an effort to uncover what factors make a press release more effective, we asked more than 125 professional journalists and industry analysts for their opinions. We wanted to know what attracts their attention, thus making the press releases more effective and more likely to spur some editorial content.
Best time for a press release
Common wisdom has always said that press releases get the most attention from journalists midweek rather than Mondays or Fridays. We were quite surprised that 66.4% of respondents said it doesn’t matter which day releases are distributed! I guess that is a result of our always-connected world. But it might also mean that Monday and Friday are the best days if most suppliers stick to midweek distribution! However, of the remaining respondents, most preferred to receive releases early in the week, with 34.4% preferring Monday or Tuesday.
Responses were almost evenly split between preferring press releases in the morning (47.2%) and not particularly caring what time of day they come in (49.6%). Again, likely a function of our always-connected society.
Based on these responses, duomedia recommends press releases be distributed primarily early in the week, and in the morning. Of course, some news is quite tie sensitive, such as acquisitions or product announcements tied to a specific event. The timing on those can’t always be fit into a Monday/Tuesday AM slot, but with a compelling headline and valuable content (see Part 2), they can still garner good attention.
Preferred format for a press release
Should we just send a PDF, or a Word document, or only place content in the body of an email? Or is some combination of the above better?
In terms of how to address those emails, 45% prefer getting an email addressed individually to them, with 44% not having an opinion on the matter. Some respondents (20%) indicated they are annoyed by press releases sent via a general email address, making it seem even more impersonal with the journalist perhaps feeling they are one of thousands graced with this information. For the majority, however, this is not particularly an issue.
Putting these two together, and in an effort to maintain personal relationships with journalists, duomedia recommends using personal email addresses as much as possible, and to consider the specific needs or areas of coverage for each journalist. Keep in mind, however, that releases can, and probably should, be sent to general email addresses for the publication. For some publications, especially those that have an online presence (don’t they all??), sending to the general address in addition to the personal address can be beneficial since decisions to run the press releases might be separate from a journalist deciding to write about it.
More than half of respondents prefer getting a press release in the form of an attached Word document, with 28% preferring to have the copy available in the email. duomedia recommends doing both, since the copy in the email can make it easier for journalists to quickly preview the information.
Download the full report
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will share tips on making content effective; and Part 3, where we will share preferences about visuals and how they affect perception of the value of press releases, how important it is that suppliers also advertise in the publication in order to gain coverage (always an ongoing discussion!), and the opinions of our audience on the future of press releases.
Want to see the other parts?
- In part 1, we looked at methods, best days and times for distribution, and preferred formats.
- In part 2, we discussed how we make the content of press releases more compelling.
- In part 3, we covered the value of visuals in press releases.
- In part 4, we took a look at the importance and added value of advertisements.