You spend hours researching and brainstorming the perfect pitch idea. You thoroughly seek out media who would be interested. You tap into your relationships with reporters and personalize your emails. You have ensured everything you can control is perfect. You send the pitch out and wait for the responses to roll in… and nothing happens. You even utilize the art of the media pitch follow-up, yet… crickets.
What went wrong?
It’s likely not you, but the competition. Journalists report receiving hundreds of pitches every week, clogging their inbox and collecting virtual dust. Even if journalists had time to sort through every pitch they receive, most only file two to four stories each week. The perfect pitch can easily fall through the cracks and get lost.
The key takeaway? Timing is everything.
Muck Rack’s 2023 State of Journalism study reports that 22% of journalists say bad timing is the number one reason they immediately reject a pitch. The time and day are both critical factors in getting the timing right.
Earlier this year, Muck Rack surveyed over 2,000 journalists and found most prefer to receive pitches before noon their local time. There was an equal preference for the two morning time windows, as 34% preferred to receive pitches between 6 am – 9 am, and another 34% prefer between 9 am - noon.
There is less agreement on the best day to receive pitches. Some reporters strongly prefer Mondays, while others prefer pitches received between Tuesday and Thursday. Keep in mind that sending the pitch early in the week helps reporters develop the story and seek out the additional information and resources they need. Friday is generally considered the worst weekday to receive a pitch due to the upcoming weekend and wrapping up on current work.
It’s also important to keep holidays in mind, where more people are likely to be out of office and your pitch may get lost. Stay on top of current events that threaten to make your pitch less relevant or timely such as the Super Bowl, the presidential election, and breaking news. Sometimes, waiting a day or two after a holiday or major event helps increase your chances of getting a response rather than an out-of-office email.
While these surveys are helpful, every reporter is different. Timing can affect your success, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to guarantee coverage or even make sure your email is read. Developing relationships with reporters, learning their personal preferences, and observing patterns from past coverage successes are the best way to predict the ideal time to pitch your story. If your story is key to the current new cycle, rely on you relationships and knowledge of preferences to seek coverage. If not imminent for the news cycle, take time for your in-depth research and tap your attention to detail. Patience will reward you.