Timing the Market

January 22, 2024 | Amanda Green

Why public relations needs to be part of your year-round strategy, not just a one-off project

Written by Cynthia Guiang, CMO – Orca Communications

You may have heard the term “Timing the Market” as it relates to financial markets. Investment professionals will tell you that timing the market, for example selecting the ideal time to put money in and out of a particular stock or the overall market, is not advisable. It is difficult to predict market fluctuations and you will likely miss out on the best opportunities for investment success. Instead, they will tell you to keep your money in the market, following a long-term investment strategy. What you may not realize is that public relations (PR) outreach and financial markets hold intriguing parallels. Both involve complex systems influenced by numerous variables and attempting to time them perfectly can be challenging.

PR and financial markets are highly dynamic and subject to external forces. In the financial markets, factors such as economic indicators, geopolitical events, and investor sentiment can rapidly shift the landscape. Similarly, in the realm of PR, external factors like news cycles, public opinion, and social media trends can significantly impact the success or failure of outreach efforts.

Attempting to time PR outreach is akin to predicting the market’s movements; it requires a deep understanding of the current environment and the ability to anticipate changes. To get it right, you’d need insider knowledge of what the media are thinking about and working on. Since they often work ahead it isn’t obvious what themes they might be covering. This would be like knowing what every business you are considering investing in is planning and what skeletons they may have in the closet.

So, when potential clients come to us and want to do just a product launch or pre-holiday seasonal push, and then take a break, we are always concerned about those opportunities we may be missing. We know holiday research by the media traditionally starts in July. However, we’ve seen many outlets publishing holiday gift guides earlier and earlier. And we’ve seen products we’ve pitched in the first half of the year with other angles in mind, end up getting picked up in holiday coverage.  What if we waited until July or August to pitch these outlets, would our clients make the cut? Or did those particular outlets find all they needed and had no plans to reach out for holiday gift ideas later in the year? In this situation, if those clients were on pause and we started pitching in July for the holidays, we may have missed the opportunity. It is not unusual for outlets to complete coverage months ahead of the publication date.

Timing for financial markets and PR outreach both involve a degree of unpredictability, making it difficult to pinpoint the optimal moment for action. Financial markets can experience sudden shifts based on unexpected events or changing economic conditions. And PR professionals know that they must keep a pulse on public sentiment which can change rapidly and what may be well-received one day could fall flat the next. In addition, popular viral trends can come out of nowhere and if you’re not actively pitching, getting up and running to tie into a trend and potentially ride the wave could be difficult. Just another example of an opportunity lost.

A savvy publicist is always looking for timely angles to pitch. They are watching for trends and working to keep your company and products relevant, looking for waves of timely topics to ride to secure media coverage and grow brand awareness.  

PR should be an ongoing effort. To time public relations outreach is reminiscent of attempting to time the financial market. Both involve navigating dynamic environments influenced by external forces and unpredictable trends. Success in either realm requires a deep understanding of the current landscape and the ability to adapt to changing conditions…or a lot of luck…or both. While perfect timing may be elusive, a strategic, well-informed, steady approach can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes in both PR and financial endeavors.

Ready to launch your product with a PR campaign from Orca Communications? Let’s schedule a free consultation to get started.