Performance-based digital public relations agency Cherry Digital conducted an analysis of 4 years of data to investigate the perfect time to blast off press releases by state – to the absolute minute – in order to ensure the highest possible open rates.
It sounds obvious, but the most important factor to consider when sending out a press release is the location of your time zone and where your recipient is based. The last thing you want is an e-mail going out during your working hours but at 10pm for your recipient!
Avoid pitching on Fridays
Remember that journalists are constantly hard at work and as evident from the analysis, the worst possible day to send out a press release is on a Friday – you simply won’t receive high open rates. Given that it’s the last day of the week, many reporters may be working on deadlines. Additionally, you want to avoid sending anything out on a Monday morning. Not only will your release likely to be buried under the weekend’s e-mails, but many publications have their team meetings on a Monday morning – by the time they get back to their desks, your press release would have been pushed considerably down the inbox. However, there are outliers to this rule – journalists in states such as Utah and West Virginia are more likely to open your emails on Mondays, however, the overall trend shows higher open rates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Morning pitches should be sent before 10 am for west coast journalists
When sending press releases in the mornings to west coast journalists, such as Washington and Oregon, there is a notable trend showing higher open rates earlier in the day i.e. before 10 am. This may be due to the fact that they are in later time zones, therefore, journalists here might subconsciously feel that they are behind and need to catch up. While west coasters may start work at the same time as their east coast colleagues, it could be the case that they are checking emails on their phones more often before beginning their workday – perhaps during their morning commute. Hence, higher open rates tend to be earlier in the morning the further west you go.
Send mail outs to journalists in metropolitan areas later in the week
It is also evident from the data that more densely populated areas – such as in New York, Florida, Texas and California – tend to have the higher open rates later in the week. Perhaps this is because, having more news to cover, their inboxes are filled more with press releases after the weekend and it takes them longer to get through it. Therefore contacting later in the week is more likely to be reciprocated.