The past few weeks have been a media whirlwind – not only the 24/7 election coverage but two major storms battered the Northeast – including the media capital of New York City – within 10 days. October through the first week of November is usually a busy PR time as companies try to get out any major news before the holidays kick into high gear but these planned and unforeseen major news events certainly put additional pressure on the news calendar and the PR teams debating announcement timing.
In this latest round of natural disaster media coverage, location mattered. As New York City itself sustained dramatic impacts during Hurricane Sandy, and the winter storm close behind, journalists there were even more focused on storm related coverage as many were also personally impacted.
There are a few schools of thought on PR-driven news announcements during holidays and media events – even natural disasters. Some believe that unless you are pitching the broadcast news or local media, the trade media doesn’t put much emphasis on other mainstream news. However, it is important to consider the value of your news story. If your story isn’t industry changing, one week or day versus the next isn’t going to make a huge difference in your PR or marketing calendar but it may make a difference in coverage. While not all trade media is covering the election or hurricane there is typically always a certain percentage of reporters that tie it into their appropriate beat. If there is no significant reason dictating a certain release day, better not to put the release out on Halloween (think newsroom costume contests) or Election Day.
A few outliers that may dictate a certain news announcement day: earnings releases, other news items that need to be released, advances that have already been shared with select media, or any seasonality of the release.
Next week is the last week before the holiday media season kicks into high gear, so get your Black Friday shopping report tie-ins and end of year wrap-up pitches ready.