When Should I Put a Release Over the Wire?

Last Week, Business Wire came to present on the newest happenings at the company as well as how to get the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to putting a release over the wire.

While they had a lot of good tips, three in particular resonated the most with me – probably because they either answered a question I am consistently asked by a client or they were a pointer that I knew would actually make a difference when it comes to media coverage.

The first two tips came from a Webinar Business Wire hosted with the Associated Press, with whom they have a partnership.

1st AP Tip

If a release is not huge breaking news then the AP advises that the best time to send out is between 9:30 am – 3:30 pm ET, with :20, :40 and :45 after the hour an optimal time to release.

Since the majority of releases go out on the hour, setting your release during a bit of an “off” time will help reporters to actually see it, as they will not be inundated with news at that moment. While Business Wire didn’t mention specific days to send a release out, unless the news can’t wait, the rule of thumb is to avoid Mondays and Fridays. Just like in your own week, Monday’s are generally the busiest day of the week for reporters and they are less likely to have time to focus on news coming in from the wire. Likewise, Fridays may be slower, but reporters might be heading out early, so hit them up first thing if the news goes out on a Friday.
Most importantly though, make sure you know what is going on in the world. Chances are your news is not going to lose steam if it is not put out the second you planned for it – however you can almost guarantee no coverage if there is a terrorist attack or major hurricane coming. So do a quick scan and make sure there is not a major world event breaking at the time you are planning to put out news and adjust if necessary.

2nd AP Tip

Photos increase chances of news getting play, as there are always photo editors scouring around for images to use. Photos should be at least 2,000 pixels on the longest side, 1 – 3 MB in size. There is no max on the number of pixels.

While your release may not necessarily seem photo-worthy, you might be surprised at what you can come up with. If there are any images or screenshots that can be associated with the news you are putting out, it is worth it and worth the extra cost. Almost all articles run with images, and if a reporter doesn’t have to hunt down one, than that is half the battle already towards getting your story told.

3rd Tip

The last tip is not from the AP Webinar, but rather insight that the Business Wire presenters provided that I found particularly interesting: Subheads are essentially worthless. When any reporters receive a wire news feed, they see the headline and the first sentence – and that is it. The irony of that is that subheads usually have more details and information than the actual headline does.

To get around this, Business Wire suggested making the subhead the first sentence of the release and pushing the first sentence second or getting rid of it altogether since it’s typically weirdly-worded and overly-formal. The most important aspect is making sure to catch the reporter’s attention quickly, because unless they are seeing something worthwhile in the small snippet they view, they likely will not bother to click to see anything more. So take out the jargon and buzzwords and make sure that the actual news and information is readily available from the get-go.