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November 8, 2013

When to Release a Press Release for Highest Response Rates

Press Release
Photo Credit: US Mission Geneva via flickr

Timing matters in love, conversations, and in PR distribution strategies like deciding when to release a press release. What you want is to be at the top of the inbox the moment a news editor sits down to begin his search for what is newsworthy. When asked when to release a press release, we always say there is no guarantee, but you can increase your chances by making sure your perfectly-written PR is not buried under loads of spam.

Let’s start our discussion on when to release a press release with a couple of fast facts about editors (your first audience). The information below may seem obvious and silly, but they will impact your PR distribution strategy.

  • Most people, including editors, are asleep at 4 a,m.
  • People don’t check their e-mails and read PRs while driving.
  • Very few check their e-mails while they are eating.
  • Sunday is a rest day.
  • Other countries may be in different time zones.
  • People hate working at the end of the business day, which is sometime between 6 and 8 p.m.
  • People check their e-mails first thing in the morning, but not before they’ve had their first cup coffee.
  • Holidays are not business days.
  • People love holidays, so they think about holidays the day before holidays.
  • Most people are asleep by midnight. If they’re not, they’re doing something more fun than reading PRs and checking e-mails.

The best tips on when to release a press release are the painfully obvious ones. If you were an editor, on what day and at which time are you likely to be checking your e-mail in search for an interesting new story?

In strategically planning when to release a press release, remember that editors usually begin the business day by checking e-mails, but if you send your PR too early, expect to be outranked by other e-mails within an hour. writes that 23.63 percent of all e-mails are opened one hour after they are sent, and the rate drops as the minutes pass. This tells us that very few editors make the effort to dig into the bottom of the pile.

You should be distributing your material within the hour that it is most visible to your target audience when strategizing when to release a press release.  The same Entrepreneur article adds that between 8 and 9 a.m. is when click-through rates are at the highest. This is advice that GetResponse echoes, so 8 a.m. to and 9 a.m. is a pretty safe period to send out a press release.

Distributing PR sometime before 9:30 a.m. is especially critical when you are writing content that impacts stocks trading.  You have to be able to send it in before the Wall Street bell rings.

Is there an ideal day to send a press release? Definitely. Editors will check their e-mails all throughout the business week, but you should try to avoid three things:

  1. Heavy communications traffic;
  2. Holidays in other regions which you may not be aware of;
  3. Days when editors and virtually all types of workers are eager to skip out.

Mondays are busy days for everyone, not just editors, so prepare to be elbowed out by a ton of competition. Because of the influx of all types of communication on a Monday, working people have developed the habit of cleaning out their inbox on this day. If your PR title and email subject are not as strong as they should be, there is a greater chance of your work ending up in the virtual trash bin.  So Monday’s not exactly the best day when to send a press release.

The problem with Fridays is that most people are thinking “Thank Goodness!” TGIF. In their eagerness to end an exhausting week, most editors are not keen on going through a long roster of PRs.  In the case of paper publications, press releases picked out on a Friday are published in the weekend edition, so that’s not an ideal situation either.

Saturdays and Sundays are slow days for press release engagements.  Unless you historically have a high success rate on weekends, don’t go for weekends in deciding when to release a press release.

Finally, you have to take note of all the holidays that might affect your PR distribution strategy. In deciding when to release a press release, you should avoid releasing PR the day before a holiday and the holiday itself.  The key is to catch editors when they are in work mode, which means they want to seek out great and informative PRs to publish. On holidays and the day before one, people are thinking about rest and recreation, and quality time with their families. So even if you have a brilliantly written PR, your target is just not in the mood for it.

If you are targeting a global audience, you should be aware of time differences and special holidays. What time is it in London? What day is it in China? Deciding when to release a press release also involves studying business schedules in other regions not just your home city. Include international holidays in your Smartphone or computer calendar so you are instantly alerted.

Knowing when to release a press release has become an integral part of PR distribution, especially now that competition is tough and audiences are global.  If you don’t develop a keen sense of when to release a press release, your well-written PR may never get the attention it deserves.

Timing may not be everything in love, conversations, and in PR distribution strategies like deciding when to release a press release, but it definitely matters in this increasingly competitive world.

The best pointer on when to release a press release is to religiously track your own success, and to study the rhythm of your own target audience. If you do that and keep the above tips in mind, you should be able to decide when to release a press release that records the highest response rates.

Julia McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that began in 2011 with thousands of Web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers on the team. Her passion is copywriting and all that pertains, especially website content rules for rankings in SEO.


Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.