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Doing PR over the holidays? What you need to know about timing

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The holidays are indeed upon us.

Though many may be in denial—Thanksgiving is NEXT week, people!—they are coming, and coming fast.

In talking with clients about their imminent public relations plans, timing over the holidays has to be taken into consideration. Not only might potential readers be tuned out to product announcements, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying holiday time with their loved ones. And, adding yet another hurdle, one reporter I just spoke with mentioned that the holiday changes his newspaper’s production schedule.

As you might imagine, between your schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and potential readers’ or viewers’ schedules, it can be a challenge. So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do? Continue reading Doing PR over the holidays? What you need to know about timing

PR Is No Picnic in the Summer — 5 Tips to Plan Your PR Efforts Around Vacations & Holidays

PR is no picnic in the summer (4)

Ah, summer…a time for getting outside to enjoy the warm, sunny days with picnics, margaritas and relaxing by the pool…but, what about your PR plans? Summer can be a challenging time if you have PR initiatives that need to move forward. With many reporters on vacation, your media outreach can take even longer than usual. And, of course, the 4th of July is right around the corner.

So, what does this mean for your public relations efforts? PR can be anything but a picnic during the summer months. Here are some tips to try to make the most of this season when it comes to PR:

  1. Planning is imperative: Trying to choose the best date for an announcement? Study the calendar. Avoid the major summer holidays, the 4th of July and Labor Day, as well as the days before and after. That is, unless your news has a tie-in to these holidays. If you’re making a tech-related announcement, for example, you’d certainly want to time it so it doesn’t coincide with the 4th to achieve maximum visibility. On the other hand, if your news involves a holiday-related trend, you’d want to pitch that a week or two before the holiday.
  2. Allow extra time: As we know reporters may very well be on vacation, it’s a good idea to build in some extra time on pitches during the summer months. For instance, if you usually pitch news a week before an announcement, allow two weeks. That way, if a journalist is out of the office, you’ll still have time to follow up.
  3. Avoid the dead zone: Per the point above, as the 4th of July and Labor Day each fall on Monday, you can expect the Friday before to be pretty quiet (you can almost hear the crickets chirp!). Some may even take off the Tuesday after to create an even longer weekend. And, once they return, their inboxes may be filled to the brim with pitches. You don’t want your pitch to get lost in that sea of email, so maybe wait another day or so before sending it.
  4. Think Christmas: Believe it or not, it’s not too early to think about the holidays. Gift guides for many print magazines are already in the works. If you have a product that fits in that category, you’ll want to start pitching those gift guides now. Be ready with a product description and high-resolution photos.
  5. Cover your time off: Lastly, if you’re in charge of working with the media for your company or client and are planning to take a vacation, have a plan in place should a reporter get in touch during that time. Ask someone to cover for you and be sure to have basic resources ready for them to use if a reporter needs anything. If you have a press area on your site, all of these materials should be posted there (that makes it easy for the reporter AND for anyone trying to cover for you).

And, be sure not to leave your clients in the lurch. Give them plenty of notice so you can complete any work they need done before you go. If you’re a consultant leaving for an extended period of time, e.g.               more than a week or two, consider asking someone to fill in for you. Perhaps you have a trusted consultant colleague who could be on call, should your clients need anything.

I hope these tips help you make the most of your summer PR initiatives. Now, time to get back to your sunbathing!

 

 

Timing Your News Over the Holidays to Get the Most from Your PR

The holidays are indeed upon us.

Though many may be in denial—Thanksgiving is NEXT week, people!—they are coming, and coming fast.

In talking with clients about their imminent PR plans, timing over the holidays has to be taken into consideration. If you have news unrelated to the holidays, not only might potential readers be tuned out, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying time with their loved ones.

So, what’s a PR pro suggest you do? Well, for anything that can wait until the new year, that might be the best plan of action. If it can’t wait, look at the calendar to choose the best timing given the options.

First, let’s look at the calendar for Thanksgiving:

  • We know Thanksgiving is next Thurs., Nov. 26. If you MUST issue news that week, issue it Mon. or Tues. at the very latest. After Tues., all bets are off as far as reaching anyone or grabbing eyeballs. Of course, as a colleague pointed out, if your news has to do with Thanksgiving or with Black Friday, then by all means, pitch or promote away.
  • Then, looking at the week following Thanksgiving, keep in mind that Monday should be avoided. Folks will just be getting back to their inboxes, which will be jam-packed with messages that came in over the long holiday weekend/break. Go with Tues. or Weds. to issue news or reach out to reporters.

The next holiday hurdle is Christmas. Again, if your news is related to Christmas or to New Year’s, this isn’t as much of a concern. But, in many cases where this doesn’t apply, here’s what I’d suggest:

  • Christmas day falls on a Friday this year. So, the week of Dec. 21, you might be able to get away with an announcement on Monday or Tuesday (although I suggest always avoiding Mondays). As we move closer to Christmas day, just save it, unless it’s relevant.
  • That week between Christmas and New Year’s is notoriously quiet for any news that isn’t related to the end of the year or New Year’s resolutions, so do yourself a favor and wait until the week of Jan. 4. Then, try Jan. 5 or later to increase your odds of getting the media’s attention.

After that, it’s all clear—although the standard guidelines still apply. Always check to see what’s coming on the calendar as far as holidays and be aware of other news in your industry that might steal the spotlight (I know this to be true in tech—happens all the time). Avoid Mondays (too much email) and Fridays (unless it’s news you don’t want anyone to see). And, issue press releases in the morning, if possible.

Those are my tips for making the most of your news over the holiday period. Any questions? Let me know!

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