By Brianne Miller
According to writer Stefan Emunds, “Time is an illusion, timing is an art.” That holds true with news media relations as much as with all the other things in life that require us to “read the room.”
In the case of news announcements, that room is rather large. The zeitgeist of the media landscape changes by the moment, but there are a few ways that PR professionals can tap into that knowledge to amplify outreach or avoid disaster.
Here are a few tips:
- Bad global news – disasters, war, labor issues? Consider holding your announcement unless it isn’t directly related to that event. For example, the day that there’s a major flood isn’t the time to launch your drought-resistant landscaping kit. A real-world example from Landis Communications; we held the announcement of major medical news that would affect mothers and children when a labor strike was looming at major maternity hospitals.
- Use good news – time for newsjacking! How does your news relate to a current hot topic (especially in pop culture)? Ride the coattails of that interest to shine the light on your product/services. A real-world example from Landis Communications; when the royal Prince Archie’s birth was imminent, we had baby crowns knit for newborns at Sutter Health. Prince Archie was born, and we “crowned” our own local royalty. Media loved it, and the story was picked up internationally as a cute homage to the royal birth.
- Want to bury some bad news? Release it on a Friday afternoon when readership is low. This is often what happens with celebrity divorce announcements, which are usually released on a Friday at 4:00 PM PT, ensuring that it’s not the headline of a news day.
So yes, timing is everything. But time can also be on your side (with all due respect to the Rolling Stones).
Time is on My Side – Rolling Stones
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
I’ve Had the Time of my Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warns