July 20, 2017
24-7PressRelease.com, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau has been in the press release distribution business since 2004 serving all sizes of companies from "mom and pop" companies, right up to NASA, which uses our press services on a semi-regular basis. Over the years our experience has grown as we have answered customers' questions and completed research.
Although we have discussed the origin of the press release in a previous article (Some have said that within the United States, public relations as a profession was originally founded by either Ivy Lee or Edward Bernay, we didn't go into too many details about what happened after Ivy Lee or Edward Bernay first used it, and what are the roles of people who typically submit a press release.
So, can anyone distribute a press release to the media?
We ask this question because there still exists the perception that distributing a press release to the media is only reserved for big corporations. Part of this perception is because the costs of submitting a press release in the past were so high that it only fit within budgets of big corporations. Over the years, with advancements in technology like the Internet, (which according to a posting at Wikipedia, has actually been around since the 1950's), the cost using a press release service has become more affordable and while their impact has become stronger. The reason the cost has become more affordable is in part because of more competition within the market place and better targeted distribution to the media.
Prior to the Internet, the way to distribute a press release was either through the mail (printed documents) or through newswire services. There were only a few wire services available, including PR Newswire, which was founded in March of 1954. 24-7PressRelease.com uses PR Newswire as one of their press release service partners on its Mass Media Visibility package. PR Newswire was purchased by UMB plc, a global business to business events organization headquartered out of London, England.
Another interesting fact is that in 1971 the Western Union Company, which was the provider of the telecommunications lines and tele-printers to PR Newswire, purchased the company. In 1972, electronic terminals were introduced for copyediting. It was not until 1978 that the Associated Press (American multinational non-profit news agency which is headquartered out of New York City, formed in 1846) computerized message handling and its transmission platform was embraced.
What About Before the Internet?
The Internet, which we discussed earlier, changed the landscape for not only how people write a press release, but also the type of information that is included in a press release. But what about before the Internet took over?
One could argue that compared to one hundred years prior, the methodology used to distribute a press release was significantly different from today. In the earlier days, distribution was simply a paper based method. This eventually changed to include wire services and facsimiles, also known as faxes, plus eFax, or tele-copying over transmission.
Distributing a press release via fax meant that you would print your press release and then electronically fax your press release to the phone number of media outlets that had a fax machine attached and ready to receive information. These were dedicated phone lines. Workers at the office would continually monitor the fax machines and pick up the piles of paper and place for review by editorial.
You could also include images to enhance the press release, even though the images were not of the best quality. Before the Internet was as easily accessible to the public as it is today, a PR company could have a list of radio, television or newspaper outlets to which they would fax a story. The stories would typically follow a set press release format that only those who were familiar with the journalism industry would understand. This created a bit of a barrier for those not familiar with the structure of a press release--they would typically pay someone to write it in press release format, then send it to a select number of journalists who cover their industry. This was a good business opportunity for marketing and communications companies who had the expertise to write good releases and for those with in-roads in the journalism industry who knew some of the journalists. If you weren't as familiar, it could be tricky because journalists over time move, get promoted, etc. and you could lose contacts if you are not in the thick of the industry.
Shortly after the Internet became a hit and became adopted by the general population, online press release distribution services emerged, like 24-7PressRelease.com, which was founded in 2004 and which in a recent posting at The Business Journals, was recently recognized as a top press release service by AdvisoryHQ. Other press release services soon evolved, bringing on more competition, lower prices and easier accessibility to businesses.
Effective press release distribution in today's world is more sophisticated because of integrated technologies like email, wire services (like 24-7PressRelease.com), social media, posting to websites and of course the integration of content marketing with press releases.
Internet search engines also became important factors to consider when writing press releases, but the way search engines rank content has also evolved over time. Some individuals will attempt to incorporate search engine optimization into their press release, or "optimize" their press release for search engines by including many "key words" and hyperlinks, a strategy that is not all that effective these days. Search engines are increasingly looking at the overall value of the content to its intended audience and its originality when ranking it. In short, all press release media should be written with your audience in mind, not a search engine.
Where Does Timing Come into Play?
24-7PressRelease.com decided to drill down and uncover further details on an already popular article we published about distribution of you press release over the holidays.
What is the best day to distribute your press release over the wire and share it on social media? This is a question that 24-7PressRelease.com faces nearly weekly, and is all too familiar with. Here is what we've learned: The best days to distribute a press release to the media are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is because typically on Fridays, many individuals--both journalists and their audiences--may take an extended weekend off, particularly in the summer. Mondays are usually spent as a catch-up day, particularly if there are any fairly significant events that have happened over the weekend, and so journalists won't be looking for new story content as much as they do on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
As far as the time of year is concerned, we do see a bit of cyclical activity. We might see a little bit of a bump in the second week of January, after holiday reporting has been completed. However, things will typically remain flat until around mid-March. Press announcements then tend to pick up in April, May and June, with another ease-off in July and August (many people are away on summer vacations, etc.). Then, there is another bit of a pickup into September and October and the first couple weeks of November, and another cool down as the Christmas season approaches, from the end of November to the end of December.
Depending on your business or company, it is not uncommon to see businesses using the fourth quarter of the year for planning all their press releases, including distribution dates, for the following year. They often make sure that their press release content and distribution dates coincide with their social media posts.
In a previous posting titled "Your Press Distribution Plan and Timing Over the Holidays - Tips from 24-7PressRelease.com" (the link is above), we further discussed taking advantage of time when larger, more prominent businesses are not stealing the spotlight in the news. This timing may help you plan your distribution strategies. As a press release service provider that has been immersed in the industry for over 13 years, 24-7PressRelease.com has noticed that some smaller businesses effectively take advantage of what appear to be slower news periods for the bigger companies.
Increasing the visibility of a press release
A key strategy to increasing visibility of your press release is to also post it to social media. However, as we mentioned with distributing your news, there are better times than others for posting your press release to social media. We decided to check with who we thought were the experts and came across an article at Co Schedule which looked at 20 studies to find the best times to post on social media.
When social media posting a press release, it is ideal to catch your audience of journalists when they are accessible--much easier said than done. Let's take a look.
One of the first points to consider (and who you select as your press release service provider will have some stake in this), is when you distributed your press release, was it to a local market (neighbourhood, suburb), DMA (combination of regions), state or national? If your news only affects your immediate or near immediate area, then you probably do not need to consider time zones. If your press release is national, then time zones could be a consideration to factor in.
For instance, according to coschedule.com's article, were you aware that 50% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone; and that both the Eastern and Central time zones together represent nearly 80% of the entire US population? In short, that means if you are in Seattle, Washington and post to social media about your press release at 9:30am, it is a time when 50% of people are potentially at lunch, with another 30% thinking about leaving for lunch or taking an early lunch.
Let's look at the information from coschedule for the best posting times on various social media.
Facebook - For posting to Facebook, it is more effective to do it later in the week in the afternoons, and on weekends. The best time on the weekends is between noon and 1 p.m. On Thursday or Friday, the period between 1pm and 4pm is most effective. On Wednesday, 3pm is the best time. In general, for any day of the week, 9am, 1pm and 3pm are the most active times for likes and shares.
Buffer, initially released in January 2010, is a tool that you may want to consider working into your workflow to help manage your social network accounts, particularly if you are using it in conjunction with a press release service (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffer_(application)). It was designed by a group of ex-patriots from Europe, and included Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich. By May 2017, the team had grown to a total of 75 people working in 50 different cities around the world. Buffer has demonstrated that engagement rates are increased by 18% on Thursdays and Fridays.
Twitter - If you are not familiar with Twitter, you should be. Twitter is an online news and social networking service with a user base that posts messages called 'Tweets' that are limited to 140 characters. Twitter is over 10 years old and was developed by 4 individuals including Jack Dorsey, Biz Sone, Noah Glass & Evan Williams. Twitter is publicly traded on the NYSE under TWTR.
So when is the best time to send out a tweet? Particularly if it is about a press release? Wednesdays at noon, or Monday through Friday from 12pm to 3pm.
LinkedIn - A platform that is mainly focused on business and employment was founded December 28, 2002 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant, according to Wikipedia.
Because LinkedIn is a top business social hub, 24-7PressRelease.com recommends posting your press release on LinkedIn to help increase your online visibility. So, what is the best time for posting? Midweek is optimal, and Tuesdays between 10am and 11am is a hotspot. Other popular times are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30am to 8:30am, noon, and 5pm to 6pm. Forbes typically advises between 8am and 5pm on weekdays.
What is the Best Press Release Service?
24-7PressRelease.com is frequently asked, during comparisons, what makes it the best press release service provider, in our opinion and how is our distribution different or better than other companies?
This is a perfectly fair question to ask by anyone doing research. We typically advise our customers that, based on the feedback we receive from our clients, although we may not have the most thorough distribution, the distribution that we do provide at the price point provided is the best bang for buck in the industry. 24-7PressRelese.com makes your stories available through the AP Exchange and AP WebFeeds, where stories are made accessible to more than 30,000 journalists at publications across the globe. Stories are also distributed to top US papers including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today, along with RSS feed subscribers, our media desk for journalists and websites.
For those not familiar with The Associated Press, it is an American multinational not for profit news agency out of New York City which operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. In fact, the Associated Press is owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States and was founded in May of 1846.
For those still wondering, 24-7PressRelease.com press release service, at the time of this article does have a 5 star rating at "DoesItReallyWork" and 4.6 review through Google Reviews. In addition, 24-7PressRelases.com has an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau.
24-7PressRelease.com focuses on where we can send your news to help increase your visibility and get traction for your stories.
In review, the ultimate success of a press release is based on how well it is written, and perhaps a little bit to do with timing. We have mentioned that there are ups and downs when press releases by major companies go out and sometimes taking advantage of their slow news periods can be beneficial. Do keep in mind that sometimes journalists also go on vacation or are busy covering seasonal news, like the Christmas and New Year holidays. Following up with your social media is also an excellent way to help increase the online visibility of your news. Don't forget to also keep up the frequency of your news--but only when you have a story that is worth sharing! Don't send a press release out just to send a press release out.