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A weekend where you can bank on getting coverage


Emma Elsworthy

There is a general reluctance among PRs to target national news publications on Sundays, and over bank holiday weekends, much to the bafflement of everyone within 72Point and the SWNS Media Group.

Concerns from our clients – both agencies and brands – is that coverage levels will be lower, KPIs won’t be met, staffing will be tighter and no-one will be on hand to respond to queries. All valid concerns, and ones which resonate if you are a person to shut down your email 4pm ahead of a bank holiday weekend, with no intention of logging on until 9am the following Tuesday. But while you have a drink in one hand, and a BBQ burger in the other, the news industry carries on publishing.  Content still appears, on Saturday… on Sunday… on Monday.  And not all of it is hard hitting, reported content.

In reality, there are pages to fill over a weekend, regardless of whether it is a bank holiday or not. And good quality content from PRs with a little bit of know-how can be really well received, particularly if the story is obvious and the content is page ready.

Here are just some of the reasons why:

Laura Elvin, Head of News, SWNS

“Content we put out over bank holidays has a much higher chance of being used by publishers – around 10% higher. 

“This shows many people aren’t filing content for weekends, in particular the bank holidays.

“It is well worth setting some time aside to prepare safe, ready to go, easy to use stories to put out over long weekends – simple news generation which requires little input from editors is perfect.”

James Beal, Social Affairs Editor at The Times

“Newspaper journalists – and in particular their editors - are at their most in need for ideas and stories on weekends, when the news cycle slows.

“Within the industry, journalists know that Monday’s paper is their best shot at getting in certain stories which might be crowded out any other day of the week by the busy news agenda.

“Bank Holidays – where most of the country is relaxing at home - provide a further quiet day in which to pitch your stories.”

Jane Hamilton, Senior Journalist, The Sun / News UK

“Sunday might be the day of rest - but for journalists and editors, it’s the day of stress. With politicians, Parliament and most of the nation taking it easy, stories are thin on the ground but we still have online and printed editions to fill.

“This makes it the perfect time to release a PR-driven story as it will get a level of attention which isn’t always possible during the busy working week. What’s more, you may get two bites of the cherry, with other publications following up on Monday and Tuesday.

“Bank Holidays offer the same opportunities – and if you want to target printed publications, there’s the bonus of bigger papers as they carry extra ads to entice shoppers to spend.”

Geoff Maynard - Deputy Editor, Daily Express:

“Imagine the Sunday feeling. There's nothing in the Sunday papers. There are no breaking stories. Your small team of reporters has already busted a gut all week to fill 5 editions and their off diary content has already been dredged by the newsdesk. 

“You are a news editor in need of help! So, a good story or idea, preferably with good pictures, is going to be a Sunday or Bank Holiday winner. Just make sure you pitch it to us ahead of the weekend so we can make a head start!”

Nicola Adam, Publishing Editor, National World

“Weekends and particularly bank holiday weekends are both a challenge and a gift for us as regional publishers.

“On one hand they are event and sport heavy while conversely everyone puts down their phones to attend the events and take part in/watch sport. It’s also a mindset change - if it’s a bank holiday weekend readers want to be distracted and entertained - and for most this does not mean bogged down in negative news - that does not mean they do not want to reflect, to analyse and to be informed.

“At weekends staffing levels are lower making it even more of a challenge to attract audience, so additional and regionally-relevant high quality SEO-friendly people content is always sought by our teams.”