How to Time Your Outreach to Build Relationships and Get Results

Journalists and bloggers depend on leads from PR professionals, but the amount of email that floods their inbox daily can make it hard to keep up. Even for the average user, 147 emails are received every day, and just under 50% of those are immediately deleted.

How can you be sure that your message stands out and gets noticed?

In addition to crafting a well-written email and understanding why you’re reaching out, you need to send out your message at a strategic time. This can go a long way in making sure your message is both read AND successfully executed upon - which leads to high-quality placements and increased rankings for clients.

1. Know what times you should ALWAYS avoid

Monday mornings: An overflow of news updates and email from the weekend is likely to be in everybody’s inbox Monday morning. Instead, pitch on Tuesday so there’s less extraneous email competing for attention.

Fridays, period: People are either ready to check out for the week, or they already have their stories lined up for the weekend. Your email will get pushed to being read on Monday, at best, which is three days after you sent it. 24% of emails are opened within an hour after delivery, and after 24 hours, the average open rate is almost zero. Unless it’s breaking news that a journalist would be willing to fit in at the last minute, it’s best to hold off here.

High spikes of clutter: Mid-morning is when inboxes fill up FAST. Target an early afternoon time when inboxes are empty, and journalists are ready to tackle fresh information. Exception: very early morning can also be successful - try around 8am.

How to do it:

Hey, no one expects you to get up extra early just to send out an awesome pitch by 8am sharp. Use Buzzstream to deliver your emails whenever you want:

You can also schedule emails to send later directly in Gmail with the plugin Boomerang:

2. Use social media

If you notice that a potential contact is particularly active on Twitter, skip the email altogether and send a quick ping when they’re actively tweeting to establish a connection.

(Hint: It’s often the journalists that are sending out tweets seeking information for a story that are most likely to respond well to this type of outreach!)

How to do it:

TweetStats is a free tool that allows you to track when users are most active on Twitter. Take a look at this example for @SEERInteractive:

If I wanted to get in touch with SEER on Twitter, it looks like my best bet is midday on a Wednesday.

3. Keep it personal

A well-timed pitch also requires that you understand the person that you’re reaching out to. Are you promoting accessories to a blogger who just wrote about a nickel allergy and has a desire to take a break from wearing jewelry? BAD TIMING!

How to do it:

Aside from being familiar with recent posts, you can check out other social sites where bloggers are active to gain deeper insight. Say I wanted to reach out to the lovely Dana at What the Frock? I can spend some time reading through her previous blog posts, but it also helps to navigate over to her Pinterest page to take a look at what she’s currently into:

In a matter of seconds, I can see that she’s recently pinned three different pairs of stud earrings. If I’m reaching out to promote accessories and have several styles available, I now know exactly what I’ll be sending her way. It’s perfect timing for her, since she’s clearly had her eye on the product, so the outreach is spot on and win-win for both of us.

It may take a few extra minutes of leg work, but by making a real effort to learn about the blogger, you’re much more likely to develop a meaningful relationship.

How do you plan strategic timing for your outreach? Leave a comment or get in touch with me on Twitter!

*All statistics were gathered from reports published by GetResponse and Boomerang in 2012.

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