Schools are breaking up for the long summer holidays and so will our MPs – is that a coincidence? – and I know from my role as business editor that it’s a time when the flow of press releases dries up as more people go away on holiday and businesses stop their marketing.
That’s crazy when newspapers still have pages to fill and web sites need news stories to pull in readers. There’s lots of opportunity to get coverage for your business.
Traditionally, there can be a lack of news at this time of year – the silly season – so why not drop a good story into journalists’ hands when the field is clear?
We’ve created the #SillySeasonPR school holiday challenge to help you brush up on your PR and take advantage of the opportunities.
Over the next six weeks, we’ll be adding practical hints and tips on how to use PR to promote your business every weekday.
As soon as the schools start back in September, the phones start ringing and emails start arriving again. The the backlog of press releases rushes through and everyone competes to get space on newspaper pages.
The #SillySeasonPR school holiday challenge aims to get your news out there before this rush begins.
Visit daily for the latest tips and suggest any you would like to share.
Have a good summer, enjoy your holiday and make your PR sizzle.
Come back tomorrow for the first tip.
We’ve seen the stream of incoming press releases stop during the holidays.
Next week everyone will start sending at the same time, but have they missed holiday PR opportunities?
No one reads news during the holidays.
It’s true that stories such as the Prime Minister on his surfing holiday have appeared, but there’s also been many big news stories.
The flow of press releases stops during school holidays, but next week when the new term starts I expect a flood of press releases to come through at the same time for my weekly newspaper business pages. Instead of repeatedly trying to speak to people for details of news stories, there will probably be too much to fit in the space and some news won’t get covered.
I believe many businesses are missing useful PR opportunities by not sending out press releases over the holiday period. With many publications having reduced resources, interesting news is often welcome. An eye-catching photo will also help.
Will anyone read it? Many print publications also publish news online and many of us still check up on news and business when we’re supposed to be relaxing.
Create a PR schedule to take advantage of all opportunities at all times. That way you can achieve more coverage, especially when journalists are eager to receive good material. And by helping them out, they are more likely to contact you in the future.
• See our #SillySeasonPR school holiday challenge for ideas on how to take the PR opportunities available over holidays.
A cumbersome approval process can waste a fleeting PR opportunity.
While press releases need checking, businesses need to act fast or miss coverage.
I like to get things
just right / just how I like them / perfect done.
Sometimes there is not enough time to do things precisely how we want. If there’s a fixed deadline, we must make it or lose the opportunity.
How many good stories never get told?
Recently, I saw a company had won an award and phoned them for details. They told me to speak to one of two PR agencies that work with them. I phoned the agency and was asked to email. I emailed and heard nothing. I emailed again and was asked if there was a deadline. I replied and have heard nothing since. In the meantime, more interesting stories have come up. I wonder how much they pay their two PR agencies?
Another scenario is when I speak to a company and they say: “We’ll have to get this checked out by head office.” Now, I realise companies need to manage their PR, but they can’t control everything written about them. And if their process is so cumbersome that they miss the deadline, it’s not worth the resources they spend on this.
Opportunities speed past
Many PR opportunities arise suddenly and need quick responses.
I know from my own PR writing that it’s good to aim for the ideal target market, timing and circumstances, but these rarely occur.
To make the most of opportunities, it’s best to:
- Prepare as much as you can to take PR opportunities when they arise
- Respond fast – even if it’s just to say you’re unable to say anything at this time – lack of interest could mean you never get asked again
- Don’t wait for the perfect moment – it is unlikely to arrive and you will have missed all the other opportunities
It’s likely that if everyone from the chief executive to the cleaner has to have an ‘input’, the resulting PR will go down the pan.
What events are important in your sector?
Is it Christmas or the summer? Are there industry events such as exhibitions?
Map out events for the next year and build them into your PR schedule so that you don’t miss any opportunities.
Remember that publications such as monthly magazines will set their deadlines two or more months in advance of publishing to so your calendar must show events months in advance so you have time to prepare your press release, photographs and whatever other material you want to distribute.
Are there national or international days you can celebrate with an event? Is there a local festival your business can participate in?
• I’m especially lucky that my photo featured in the 2013 Ilfracombe calendar opposite.
• Robert Zarywacz is a UK writer, PR and journalist | partner in Zarywacz |
I’m currently editing a business magazine and am wading through various contributions from a number of businesses. IIRecently, I edited two articles submitted by different firms of accountants and if you swapped the names from one article to another, it would not have made any difference.
Considering there are so many opportunities to communicate in writing – by letter, email, on web sites and in printed material – why are so many businesses not identifying what they actually want to say and then selecting the best way to communicate their messages?
It isn’t that difficult to do, but would improve their communications considerably and help them to achieve their business objectives.