There’s a lot to think about when distributing a press release. For starters, the content should be newsworthy, well written, and adhere to a well-regarded and widely recognized press release format. But what about timing? How far in advance should you send out a press release?
The answer is, it depends. Here are several guidelines on how far ahead of a launch, celebration, special occasion, or other event to distribute a press release.
First, Establish Your Goals
Optimal press release distribution lead time can vary depending on whether it’s intended to raise awareness about an upcoming event, generate extensive earned media coverage, or anything in between. Decide what the release should accomplish before determining when it should be released.
Current Affairs, Trends, or a Name Change
For a press release related to a current issue, such as a change in regional or national policy or law, distribution should be timely to have maximum impact. For example, increasingly, large multinationals distribute press releases to express support or dissatisfaction with social justice or political issues. In fact, leading business management publication Harvard Business Review provides a framework for developing corporate policy on the practice.
Another example in which press release distribution should occur adjacent to the event is for a flash sale or other one-off experience. In this case, little to no advance notice is designed to generate buzz and a sense of urgency. If consumers were informed about a flash sale two weeks in advance, they might forget about it by the time the event rolled around.
When a company changes its name, typically the announcement is made on the day the change takes effect. Promoting this type of message in advance can easily confuse people on how to refer to the company in the meantime, or they might forget the new name or the reasoning behind the change once the transition occurs later. Two examples include the name change of Perfect Timing, Inc. to The LANG Companies, Inc. and Facebook’s rebirth as Meta.
Online Calendar Inclusion
To include an event on an online calendar, such as a sponsored running race, issue a release well ahead of time. Find out how far in advance the site posts events, and send out the release as early as possible to maximize the opportunity for attendance.
Events With Ticketed Attendance
For an event requiring tickets, advance promotion is key, and the larger the audience, the longer the press release lead time needed. Large concerts, shows, and sporting events are often announced months or years ahead of time, with subsequent “reminder” releases distributed closer to the date.
A large annual corporate conference or trade show might fit into this type of schedule, with an initial announcement released eight to 10 months in advance. Several additional releases could be sequenced closer to the event, perhaps in intervals of two months until the last, and then every other week, and so on. The distribution schedule for press releases should also complement other components of your public relations/advertising campaign for the event.
Events Without Ticketed Audiences & Announcements
Other large events without ticketed audiences or announcements, such as introducing a new service line or product launch, also benefit from advance press release distribution. To generate chat around the topic, consider a two- to three-week lead time, followed by a second press release on the launch day.
The advance release is especially important if you’re hoping to entice a journalist or two for earned media coverage.
Journalist Coverage Ahead of an Event
To enable journalists to cover a newsworthy event or announcement, send your press release well in advance一but not so far ahead that the journalist overlooks the release or is distracted by another, more timely topic. It’s a delicate balance resulting in different lead times for different types of journalists and the individuals involved.
As a rule of thumb, allow journalists two to three weeks to create a piece leading into an event, but this can vary. The best approach is to do your research early about whom to target for your topic. Journalists have specific beats, angles, and voices, and for good and consistent coverage, it’s important to target them accordingly. This piece on reaching the right audience provides excellent insights on this topic.
Journalist Coverage During an Event
To invite journalists to an event, send out a media advisory rather than a press release. A media advisory functions similarly to an invitation, with basic information such as what, where, and when. It should also include details on whether a press pass is required, and if so, whom to contact. To maximize photo or video coverage, include program specifics: when, for example, the CEO will be introduced or new product unveiled.
Post Event Coverage
For post-event coverage, send out a press release immediately after the event. Chances are, it will only be newsworthy for a brief period一perhaps a day or two一so it’s essential to distribute a press release during this period.
News Direct for Press Release Distribution
Regardless of when you disseminate your press release, partner with a distribution service that makes workflows easy and distribution a breeze. News Direct is a best-in-class news distribution service with a proprietary, self-directed platform for seamless and secure content creation and distribution.
Unlike legacy newswires, News Direct enables you to create, collaborate, and fully control your content from start to finish. From the same cloud-based platform, you can distribute releases across a global network of media agencies, news outlets, trade press, targeted lists, and more. Simply select your distribution preferences, submit or schedule for later一no human third party intervention is required. And News Direct uses an asset-based, flat-rate model that’s straightforward, predictable, and fully transparent.
Contact News Direct for a demo of its revolutionary press release distribution experience today.