Public relations & marketing: Lessons to learn about timing

By Mark G. Auerbach

So, I’m wearing my reporter’s hat today, and ‘tis the season that many arts groups are announcing their upcoming seasons, in the hopes of getting serious press coverage. One organization sends me a press release with photos the morning they plan to make their announcement. The release says “Embargoed until 12 noon.” I get my story done, submit it to my editor, and it hits our news website at exactly noon. The organization’ email announcements and social media posts also hit at noon. That’s good timing.

Organization number two tells me that they’ll announce on “X Date,” and I read the details on Facebook an hour before the press release arrives. Bad timing on their part, and I feel no urgency to post their news immediately, because, once it’s out there via social, it’s no longer news, but “old news.”

Organization number three posts to social media, but doesn’t bother to send a press release. I see it on Facebook, but I do nothing to do a story. They complain that they don’t get good coverage, so I say “where’s the press release?” and they reply, you should be following our social media and website. End result: no story.

The take-away: It may seem easier to just post your news and send a release and eblast all at once, but, in doing so, you minimalize your opportunity to get good media coverage. When it comes to news, media like to get it first. And if you can no longer be bothered to write a press release, why should reporters be bothered to write about your news? With news staffs being cut, it’s unwise to expect a reporter to take time to dig out your news on Facebook.

But wait, my rants not done!

I get an email from my alma mater inviting me to events in Boston and New York. Both cities are over 100 miles away. It’s different than announcing a series of events in multiple locales around the country or one on campus. It makes me think “Sure is “easier” to hit click and the entire list, rather than segmenting the audience, and it shows me that my school doesn’t really know or care about its alums.

Another non-profit I work with emails to remind me to support their annual fund generously, and I’ve already made my annual contribution two month before the mailing. I respond in the same way as I did when my alma mater hit click and send.

Large business or small, for-profit or non-profit, there’s a take-away here. The three major “musts” of any marketing campaign are: 1) Know your product or service. 2) Know your audience. 3) Know your competition. If you can’t segment your database to know where your audience is, who’s purchased or donated recently, you let your market or audience know that they don’t matter. They’re a number, not a person.

If you’re not capable of segmenting your audience, you could, in the first case, add copy that says “If Boston and New York are out of reach, please share this with friends of the school in those cities.” In the case of the second, you could add copy: “If this mailing and your recent gift crossed in cyberspace, please accept our appreciation and thanks for your support.”

Succeeding in small business is knowing your audience and making sure your timing is right.


Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. Mark is also the ArtsBeat reporter for The Westfield News Group and producer of ArtsBeat Radio on 89.5fm-WKSB. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.

1 comment

  1. Linette murray says:

    Mark, this is so pertinent! It seems no large entity, including Government offices, understand
    People are NOT alike!
    An example: Obamacare required ALL people receive and pay for Coverage for pregnancy. Yes, females and males.
    That may be an extreme, but business as well as government should pay attention to segments of society.

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