In a recent conversation in the Spin Sucks Slack group (a sister group of our Analytics for Marketers Slack group, join both of them!), Meredith asked, “any updated best practices on timing to issue press releases, with regards to days of the week? For years, from my agency days, I had understood Tuesday or Wednesday, but curious if that has changed at all more recently.”
Questions like these are always great excuses to dive into data, so let’s go.
Caveat About Best Times
A quick word of warning about any content – including ours – promoting a best time to do anything. These analyses, even when done well, are aggregates. That means they’re a compilation of everyone and everything in a space – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And everyone is not your customer, not your audience. Your audience is (and should be) unique to you, even if you’re a leader in your space. Your audience will perform differently than the group as a whole. Thus, use information like this as a starting point, not as an absolute word. Use information like this to set up testing plans and analyses of your own, not as an article of blind faith.
What’s the Best Time To Issue a Wire Service Press Release?
For the purposes of this inquiry, we define a press release narrowly as a news release issued to a commercial wire service like Businesswire, PRWeb, etc. – a distribution outlet you pay money to have your press release published. We exclude news releases that you publish on free services, as well as self-publish on your own website.
The first question we have to ask is, what constitutes a “best time”? Presumably, we want people to read our press release, to consume the news within. Thus, the logical metric to judge the effectiveness of a release would be page traffic, the number of visits it received.
How would we know such a thing? Most SEO tools have some form of traffic estimation; for our examination, we’ll use the AHREFS tool. We’ll examine pages on wire service sites that earned at least 1 visit, published in 2022. When we examine the data, we see that of the many, many news release services, only a small number have pages earning any traffic whatsoever: Globe Newswire, BusinessWire, PR Newswire, Prowly, and PRWeb. These services and their associated page data will make up the corpus of our dataset.
So, when do press releases that earn traffic get the most visibilty?
Thursdays, followed by Wednesdays. When we dig deeper into the data, we see that mornings around 8 AM Eastern Time generally do well, and Thursday afternoons around 3 PM Eastern Time also do well:
Based on this data, what should we conclude about press releases and the best day or time to issue them?
The one thing that’s missing from our analysis is what isn’t there – the number of press releases that earn absolutely no views at all. Just in 2022, 52,000 pages earned one visit or more, while 50,834 pages earned absolutely no visits whatsoever. Now, keep in mind that means that even the issuing company didn’t look at their own release. That’s the business equivalent of your parent not even looking at your work and admiring it.
In fact, even of the press releases that garnered at least one view, the vast majority – 28,823 out of 28,336 – earned 16 or fewer views. Thus, while choosing a day and time that tends to attract more attention is an overall sound strategy, our expectation should still be that we won’t see massive, outsized results from issuing a release on a wire service.
If we want to maximize viewing of our news, we would need to consider how to drive more traffic to our content rather than just relying on wire service distribution alone. Social media promotion, email promotion, and paid advertising can help round out our news distribution strategy.
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