Is Tuesday the best day to pitch to online titles?

New research from digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb shows that top news sites get the highest amount of traffic on Tuesdays. Gorkana asks Punch Communications, Fleet Street Comms and W if the amount if traffic a site receives on a specific day of the week has any bearing on their pitch to journos.

SimilarWeb analysed the traffic and engagement major news sites in the UK and US including Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, New York Times, The Huffington Post and Forbes.

It showed that, in the first three months of the year, news sites received most of their traffic* (15.43%) on Tuesdays. Monday was the next biggest day, with 14.48% of the weekly share. Traffic dropped towards the end of the week – Saturday is the day with the lowest level of traffic at 12.99%.

SimilarWeb’s research also shows that the engagement pattern is repeated with news apps. In this case, Sunday is the poorest ‘performing’ day.

So, should a news site’s high and low points, in terms of daily, or weekly,  traffic influence PRs? Experts from Punch, Fleet Street and W tell us what they think:

Focus on a journalist’s work cycle when planning a pitch

“A journalist is almost always the best judge of when a piece of content might be suited to appear. Frankly, sometimes that might align with our interests, and sometimes it may not. But, I’d prefer something to appear on a day of less traffic than not at all due to over-competitiveness,” says Pete Goold, founder and MD of Punch Communications.

He stresses that courtesy, and respect for those being pitched to, should always be the major concern, whether in print or digital cycles, and he adds that there’s rarely any point in irritating a journalist when they’re most likely to be busy.

Mark Stretton, Fleet Street Communication’s MD and former journalist at The Sunday Times, agrees that a pitch is highly dependent on the journalist concerned. He said: “There are many contributing factors that determine when journalists are most receptive – the story, the publication, the beat or individual and so on. But, as a rule of thumb, it’s about understanding people’s working cycles.”

Be aware of big calendar events

Understanding the production schedule of the person you’re pitching to, rather than simply ‘getting stuff out of the door’ is essential according to Laura Imregi, W’s senior account director.

She adds: “It’s always worth planning stories so that they don’t coincide with big calendar events like the Budget or the EU Referendum, when you know that journalists will be chained to their desk and thinking of little else.”

Imregi suggests that a PR person should also always be aware of industry events such as Ad Week Europe or Cannes Lions, where editorial offices are much busier and running on few staff. At times like these, journalists can be at their least receptive to proactive pitches.

Beginning of the week is best

While a successful pitch can depend on many factors, such as how urgent the news is, copy deadlines or what time a digital newsletter goes out, Stretton confirms that the beginning of the week is the best time for pitches. He said: “As a rule of thumb we aim to get our top stories out on Monday or Tuesday, when possible.”

Peak traffic is one important factor among many, says Goold, but he adds that it doesn’t have to be the ‘guiding principle’ of a pitching strategy.

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