Over the past few weeks we have had several interesting conversations with clients about “timing the market” in terms of when to release news. Here are some basic rules of thumb that I believe are important to consider.
The most opportune days of the week to release news has historically been Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Mondays are tough because the media is coming back from the weekend and they have priorities of things to get complete and they typically spend some time that day planning their week. Fridays have always been light as well because the “news hole” (amount of space in Saturday newspapers or viewership of Friday night and Saturday morning news shows) is very low, so less space is devoted to hard news and more to feature stories that have been planned and produced days before. Also, like the rest of us, journalists are anxious to begin their weekends.
But as most of us know, the “news hole” has actually increased. Since most media uses a “digital first” deployment strategy, a story will appear on line in some cases a long time before it reaches print or broadcast. That story can post Monday morning or Friday afternoon. The other changing dynamic is social media. Your employees or customers who get wind of an announcement might start posting or tweeting about it and the story could get picked up accidentally as a result. If a story breaks in this manner, you can lose control of the message.
The new rule of thumb must be that once a company starts talking about its news –to any stakeholder group (customers, employees, suppliers) it must release its information to the media in order to maintain message control. Great if it can happen midweek, but if an event requires a Monday or Friday –or even over the weekend, best to be in control of your message and plan your media release accordingly.