One thing’s for sure, you realize how important timing is when it’s bad. Like when you have a nine-pound fully-cooked ham and you think it’ll only take 15 minutes to warm up until you realize the directions say 15 minutes per pound. Or when you buy a load of stock and the next day the price falls $10 per share and isn’t expected to recover for the next few years.  Well, it’s the same thing in PR. Timing is critical.

We always tell our clients that good public relations tactics are terrific but they need to be delivered in the right ways by the right people at the right time…or they’re worth little to nothing. For example, consider lead times for news releases. Let’s say you’d like to get a story placed in a magazine.  Most magazines require very long lead times. Some of them fill up their editorial calendars six to twelve months in advance.  So, it’ll do no good to pitch a story to them that you’d like to have printed the next month.  Another example: promoting an event. We generally like to use the wedding invitation rule, which says that invitations should go out at least six weeks before the big day, but not too much more than that or people will forget about the event.  That said, when it comes to promoting business events, there’s a series of tactics you’ll need to implement over a period of time to get the word out there. Some of them can be done well in advance, like “save the date” emails or calendar item postings, while others can only be done a week before, like notices to hotel concierges.

Next time you’re planning PR or marketing strategies, be sure to be realistic and careful about the timing. Check how much time your vendors will need for printing, production or processing. Confirm lead times for the publications in which you want to have your stories placed. If you’re sending something by snail mail, know how long it will take for them to arrive.  Etc.  Backtrack from those days, allow a little “just-in-case” leeway, and your timing will be golden. And, along with the right messages, tacticts, and targets, so will your PR.