Friday, December 17, 2010

Press Release: Timing is Everything

In issuing a Press Release, an often overlooked consideration is the timing. Timing is important as the mainstream media (MSM) has a finite amount of print space, and depending on whatever else is considered newsworthy on that day, may add or subtract from your Message.

I know that I have said in an earlier post that delaying the Press Release in the hopes of having another crisis mask yours is not advisable. That however does not mean that you should not capitalize on opportunities. My earlier statement is made in the context that a long delay in being "open" about your crisis is dangerous as leaks may put you on the information defensive.

Using the Jonathan Wong (MOE Scholar Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges) case as an illustration, assuming the MOE wanted to announce more information about the case but knew that the MSM would be reporting another incident of a teacher being charged in court for sending lewd messages to a student, it would be unwise for the MOE to release it on the same day. Having "two incidents" will allude to a pattern which will be damaging for the MOE. The MOE would be wise to delay the release by about a week, or seek to time the release with another on-going crisis i.e. Singapore's comments on its neighbors as revealed on WikiLeaks.

Hence, in my opinion, PR Professionals must (a) always consider timing when planning a Press Release; and (b) balance the need for being "open", with the need to control the crisis.

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