It’s the age old question. As long as companies and PR practitioners have been sending releases, everyone has wanted to know when is the best time to send my release? In fact, one of our most popular blog posts took this question on three years ago.
Everyone still wants to know because there is really no true right answer. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to research the past and give an armchair opinion, but until Google starts mining data directly from our minds (Google Thoughts anyone?) predicting the future will continue to be a difficult endeavor. However, with the power of free tools and site search it’s become relatively easy to get a read on the present and measure short term opportunities.
Here’s my basic premise: using tools like Google Trends and site search on the major press release distribution sites like Business Wire to gauge the amount of competition, you can increase your chances of catching a wave and contributing to a hot story.
Sometimes the trends are obvious. You can tell from this chart that Father’s Day trends upwards as the holiday approaches (it’s June 20th in the US this year).
Searching headlines on Business Wire shows only a handful of Father’s Day related headlines so far in May and June. To me, this looks like a great opportunity for interesting Father’s Day stories to get the jump on the trend. If I were creating such a story, it might be a good idea to get it out now or keep watching the wires and distribute it just as things start to pick up.
Of course, many news stories aren’t as clearly cyclical as holidays and here is where it gets more difficult to spot the right time. The concept is still the same though. Most news stories tend to spike and then decline over time. Let’s look at the trends for a big story this month, Facebook privacy.
It looks like this started trending around mid-April and is likely at its peak since Facebook recently revised their policies (although it is always possible that it could keep surging), so maybe you missed the boat if you were hoping to push related news.
On the other hand, the volume of related releases is small, just three in the past week, so the opportunity is probably still there if you move quickly.
Now let’s take a look at another hot topic: the iPad. You can see the two peaks corresponding with the announcement and US release, followed by a recent peak probably helped along by the international release which appears to be ready to move downward along with consumer and journalist interest.
Jumping to Business Wire search we see a tremendous volume of iPad related releases battling for attention. Compared to our previous examples, there is much more press release competition compared to the trends suggested by Google.
So if your news has a weak connection to the iPad, it might be a good idea to go with the trends and wait until there’s upwards movement or try a different angle.
- Taking time to do competitive research to improve your odds of success
- Opportunities lie in positive gaps between interest and press release volume
What do you think? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for press release timing?