Timing is Art

Updated: May 24, 2021

So much has been written about targeting your PR pitch, making sure it matches the interests of a specific audience, and offering credible talent and a colourful picture opportunity.

What can be forgotten is timing.

It’s crucial to all media.

Whether a radio broadcaster prepping a three hour program, a TV journalist trying to set up a live cross, or an online reporter dashing off a few hundred words before lunchtime – no one will want to hear your pitch as a deadline looms.

And those deadlines are becoming more frequent, fast and furious.

So, double-check before you hit send or make the call.

Is a bulletin about to go to air? Is the newspaper about to go to bed? Is the newsroom in the middle of an editorial meeting?

Maybe you’ve heard that particular journalist is at the scene of an incident or reporting from a conference – it’s unlikely they’ll have time for a chat about an unrelated story.

It’s also important to consider the timing of your media events. I’ve heard many tales of launches that were doomed from the outset because they hadn’t been scheduled around the media cycle.

There is very little point holding a cocktail function at 6.30pm on the Saturday before Christmas and expecting masses of journalists to turn up (except perhaps for a quick champagne).

News crews are precious resources and work long, busy days. Unless you’re announcing something earth-shattering, be mindful of their time pressures and make sure you fit in with their deadlines.

Likewise, if you want to provide an editor with a really thorough background briefing, offer to do it over lunch or coffee – two birds, one stone.

If you want to give your pitch the best chance of success, wear a watch, check the clock, and know what’s making news of the day.

- Barbara Cox

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