The Word COVID Dominated Press Releases Globally

If your press release didn’t include the word COVID you had an uphill battle in getting it seen by the intended target. Some 48 percent of press releases run through the Cision public relations and news wires from March through May included the word.

According to the authors of new Cision research, as the virus spread more rapidly around the world, the service had “a huge increase in COVID-19 related press releases coupled with a significant drop in non-COVID-19 press releases.” Brand managers were scrambling to communicate their plan to employees, customers and stakeholders, internally and externally. The public was eager to learn what steps were being taken for both their own safety and the safety of those employed by brands around the world, according to the authors.

As in-person events were forced to cancel or go virtual, the service had a large decrease in event and trade show news, along with travel news. Meanwhile, news about public safety, corporate social responsibility and infectious disease control and healthcare had large spikes.

Here’s how it broke down:

  • Future events, –128 percent
  • Trade show news, –337 percent
  • Public safety, +66 percent
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), +54 percent

In general, a high volume of news is sent at 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday with a spike on Tuesday. “This does not necessarily mean that is a good time to send news. In fact, in order to stand out from the rest, choose an off-time before or after 8 a.m., according to the authors.

“While there’s no right or wrong time to send a press release, if you’re looking to maximize your visibility, the best time to send is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday in the middle of the day, and you should avoid the top of the hour,” according to the authors.

The highest views on press release copy are seen on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Therefore, to maximize press release visibility, it’s recommended to distribute early-to-midweek to give your press release time to circulate during this high-visibility time.

A press release should be longer than a tweet and shorter than a novel, but there is a lot of territory between those two markers. The majority of releases were 400 words or less. The average length of a press release is 686 words. According to the authors, as with most things in life, there is a limit to the return on this go-long strategy with a sharp drop-off in reading time for very long press releases. 

You can download the full 15-page report here:

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