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Timing is Everything as it Relates to Your Utility’s Public Relations

image credit: Photo 17038449 © Liseykina |
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner, Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,042 items added with 541,806 views
  • Jan 13, 2023

The concept of time is a frequent and important concept in music, movies, TV, theater, sporting events and so on.

And time is an important component in any efforts your utility makes to secure media coverage.

For example, if you pitch at the wrong time of day, you’re less likely to receive coverage. For example, as I type these words, it’s 3:14 p.m. on a Friday. Media outlets set their content budgets hours ago, so unless your news is earth-shattering, you’re out of luck. And reporters – remember, they’re people, too, and actually have lives outside of the newsroom – are probably scrambling to complete their work for the week and are planning what to do over the weekend.

But if you pitched your idea Monday or Tuesday at, say, 10 a.m., your pitch is more likely to be considered. Note: There never is any guarantee you’ll get coverage and media pitching remains akin to cold-call sales.

The moral of the story is that timing matters.

Example No. 2: Plenty of outlets have media calendars when so-called “special sections” are planned. Usually, these are little more than lame attempts to scare up some targeted advertising, but in your case, that’s OK. Reporters may hate working on special sections, but the average reader/listener/viewer doesn’t differentiate between types of content.

And since the bar for coverage often is lower – journalists just try to fill the space/airtime – your idea might gain traction, especially if it’s a topic without a time element.

But you have to know how to work the calendar. Too soon and you’ll be forgotten. Too late and the space will be filled.

The sweet spot for these special sections varies by the editor, but six to eight weeks in advance is a reasonable time to make contact. As always, be prepared with a well-defined description of the story idea, supporting materials and contact information.

Be flexible: Journalism is not akin to making widgets. Things change, and stories regularly fall through or get delayed. That might leave an opening for you – if you’re prepared to move quickly.

As always, good luck.


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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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