Don’t delay – check deadlines today

#SillySeasonPR #6

Don't delay – check PR deadlines today #SillySeasonPR

What deadlines do we have to meet?

On day one, we looked at the publications and media we want to target and, as we start to prepare our press releases or other material, we need to know what their deadlines are.

Three weeks sounds like lots of time, but it soon slips away. What if it’s just one week or one day or even today?

Most magazines will set deadlines far in advance. Even though we’re writing this as we approach August, the September issue of some magazines will soon appear on newsagents’ shelves and drop through letterboxes. Their deadlines could have been weeks or more than a month ago.

Similarly, weekly newspapers can have early deadlines. Although front page news can be added the day before publication, some sections of a paper will be laid out a week or more in advance.

If your news is time critical and you need it to appear next month rather than the month after, make sure you know what a target publication’s deadline is. This is critical if you are publicising events or a big opening or launch.

If you miss a deadline, that’s it. They won’t stop everything for you.

How do we find out deadlines dates?

Some publications publish their deadline date for their next issue.

Another option is to ask. Journalists are human and, if asked politely, many will answer you. They could also be impressed that you have taken the trouble to ask them when many people just send in a press release and get annoyed when told it’s too late.

As a journalist myself, I value approaches like this. It’s always a relief to deal with considerate people who make an effort.

It could also build a relationship and interest the journalist in your story. This will put you one step ahead of many others who just send in their press release and cross their fingers in the hope that it will be included.

Are deadlines useful?

Deadlines are very useful because they show you how much time you have. When you’ve got to write a press release, get a quote from a client, get it approved by the client and anyone else, and arrange a photograph, you need as much time as possible.

Deadlines focus our attention so we get everything done on time and keep on track.

Sadly, I often receive material that I can’t use because people haven’t asked and send in details of events or activities too late.

Take action

Finding out deadlines for your target publications is your #SillySeason PR task #6.

Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: Make the front cover with a stunning photo

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business.

 

Continuous communication with a plan

Last week I went to see a production of The Wizard of Oz that was very slick, probably because the cast had rehearsed the show again and again to make their hard work look very easy. This can also apply to communication, especially the production of marketing and promotional materials.

Some people are natural writers with the ability to jot down text almost without thinking, while others can stand up in front of hundreds of people and deliver an informative and entertaining off-the-cuff presentation, but many people probably can’t do either or lack the confidence to try. That’s where planning and preparation come in. While tight deadlines can aid creativity to some extent, they can also result in slapdash presentation full of errors when there really isn’t enough time to do a job properly.

Focusing on deadlines and schedules enables you to manage communications more effectively.

Deadlines vary from hours and days for the internet to weeks and months for magazines and up to a year for annual directories. What’s important is to find out what the deadlines are for relevant publications, to put the dates in your diary and to schedule your activity so you get everything done in time.

Creating a communication or marketing plan is useful because you can see from it in an instant when a specific trade journal is published or an event takes place and what the deadline is if you want your contribution included. It’s easy to forget deadlines when you’re busy with other aspects of business, only to remember when the magazine drops on to your desk without the article or advert you wanted in it.

Planning also enables your communications to continue when you are busy.

It can also prevent a stop-go pattern from developing when you don’t have much time to keep your communications flowing. Many activities, such as blogging, web sites, articles and PR, can actually be more effective when you do a little on a regular basis rather than leaving large intervals when you do nothing.

What should I include in my plan?

The planning process should raise important questions, such as: What do I want to achieve for my business? What activities will achieve these objectives? When do I need to do them? Are they working? Your business objectives should suggest some of the answers and, if you’re not clear about them, it’s worth spending time considering precisely what you want to achieve.

A communications plan can be as simple or as complex as you choose. A single side of A4 text is better than no plan at all. A spreadsheet or schedule linked to an automated diary or customer relationship management system sounds ideal, but only if you have the time to use it properly. Whatever you choose must work for you and it’s a waste of time to prepare a vast plan if you don’t have time to put it into action.

Knowing what activities to choose can be difficult and we will examine many of the options available in the coming days and weeks. What is important is to start thinking about what you want, what you need to do and how you will do it. This puts you firmly in control of your communications and enables you to start thinking about how you approach the actual activities.

Plan today

Just thinking about your communications will help you to start planning and preparing them effectively.

 

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