It's important so get the word out early. Send a press release out to all the media so that they can help publicize the event. That's the way it should work. In the recent couple of months however, that is not how things played out. In one recent case this month, we received the press release on the second day of the event and would end up posting it on the last day of the festival. Thus, nobody would be able to read the announcement and be able to use that information to attend the first 3 days because there wouldn't be any notice until the end of the event. The release was deleted and no further action was taken.
Press releases should be timely. They should give adequate time to edit and review them and possibly add supporting and additional content to build a story. They shouldn't come so late that it is impossible to give any reader a heads up about an upcoming event. Unfortunately, that is happining more and more. It happens with TV broadcasts, festivals and their respective lineups or other info, radio interviews and more. Obviously somebody knows these things are going to happen more than 5 minutes in advance.
Apparently, the concept of posting a date for release has been abused by too many in the past so no press agent uses that concept today. We used to receive many announcements in advance but to hold until a date for release. Instead of saying "For Immediate Release" they would say "For Release on Month ##, 2013" We always honored those but, sadly, some others did not and ruined it for the responsible web sites and news outlets.
A lack of planning on a press agent's part does not constitute an emergency on my web site's part. We generally know what material I'm going to run for our morning edition. We receive the material throughout the day and can edit, prioritize and put together a nice release as a morning web news site reading matter. But, after its all put together, We then receive a new release at 10 PM that is expected to be run in the next two hours. Sorry but, that dog don't hunt. If its for something that morning, it will be too late anyway so, it is destined for the waste basket unless there is some value in running an article on something that already happened in the past.
Sending a press release at the last second or even days after the event begins are happening more and more frequently. These are also not being carried by us with the same increasing frequency. Just how hard is it to send a press release or announcement a day early? How about a week or even month? Apparently, it is getting quite difficult for some in the biz.
Sending early is also extremely important because, frequently things change. Corrections are common in this fast paced electronic age. If you are in need of a correction, you have time to have that correction implemented if you send your announcements early enough. If it is a last minute submission that needs to be corrected, its too late. Every other service that captures our content from Google News, Topix, Facebook, MySpace, Google+ and more will not get the change. Once distributed, its out there. In some instances, we can only delete the content but we cannot change what is now on somebody else's website. Would you ask a newspaper to make a correction to all the newspapers they already printed and delivered?
However, if we receive a correction on an already scheduled piece, we can easily implement that prior to publication to the web. We always try and get corrections entered as soon as possible prior to publication. That is a different scenario. We understand that things happen and change in the real world.
Record labels would never announce an album is going to be released yesterday. They always announce months in advance and usually have great follow-ups throughout the month. Big festivals announce their lineups, new features, special guests and such months in advance too. This proves that it most certainly can be done. So, why doesn't everybody do this?
We didn't run anything on the press release we received on the second day of the event. It was way too late. We also didn't run anything on the announcement of a performance that was going to occur in less than 8 hours. Again, it was too late. We certainly hope that somebody didn't pay for that kind of service.
So, thank you to all the professionals that can send out announcements early. Thank you also for those that send additional supporting photos and details. And a big thank you to the artists that keep us posted on what is happening through the social networks. You all make our jobs easier and thus help yourselves at the same time. We do appreciate it. You are all a shining example of doing it right. Hopefully others can learn from your professionalism.