If not NOW, then WHEN

So often I’m asked when is the best time to send emails to the media. Here’s some wise advice from Michael Smart.

The second-best time of day to pitch media is between 10 am and noon, their time zone.

That used to be a slam dunk time slot when they weren’t as busy. It was a sweet spot after they had rolled in, had their coffee, got through their overnight email, and started moving forward with their day. But before lunch and looming deadlines.

But now they have to turn in multiple stories a day. Many are expected to post to multiple platforms. And then promote their work on social media.

So even that morning window has gotten cluttered. Absent any additional insight into your target media’s workflow, it’s still a decent time slot, if you have to guess.

That’s because the actual best time to pitch a given journalist or blogger is unique to each one.

One reporter might check email religiously at 8 a.m. but never after 5 p.m. (like the USAT reporter I spoke with recently). Another might put off non-urgent email until she turns in her primary story for the day around 7:30 pm (like a WSJ reporter I used to pitch).

And, of course, the best time of day to pitch varies widely depending on the type of media you’re pitching. A general rule of thumb for pitching TV and radio producers, especially for morning shows, is to contact them within an hour of the end of that day’s show.

So how can you find the best time of day for your target media? Short of asking them, which is usually unwise until you’ve earned their trust, here’s what you do:

Whenever you receive an email from one of your target journalists, record the time it was sent. Same thing with any contact from them via Twitter. Over time, your record will show if there is any rhyme or reason to their typical workflow (for some, there isn’t – they’re in their email constantly or virtually never).

What if you’re not receiving emails or tweets from them? Give them a reason. React positively to their work. Then add value beyond simply complimenting.

Be systematic about logging timing clues. Anything you can do to inform your guesses increases your probability of success.

For more tricks, tips, and techniques to boost your success with the media, check out The Ultimate Online Media Directory. It’s available here: http://amzn.to/1JDOKBQ

Marcia Reece is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com.

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