This week is National Headache Awareness Week and this month is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month.
Virtually every day, week, and month has some sort of holiday, observance or awareness attached to it. Many of them have more than one, and they all present opportunities for your business or organization to get some media coverage, or do something that generates some goodwill public relations and publicity.
365 P.R. OPPORTUNITIES
What are your hobbies, passions and interests? What are your areas of expertise outside of your work? What line of work are you in? Did a personal tragedy, galvanizing event, or once in a lifetime experience motivate you to adopt a cause or charity, or take on a major community or public service project?
Your answers to those questions can help you identify press coverage opportunities, and with a little advance planning and marketing, some goodwill public relations for your business or organization, as well.
As we’ve discussed in past issues of The Insider, the media is always looking for experts to talk about whatever topics are in the news. Charitable or public service events that serve the community in some way are also great opportunities for press coverage and some good public relations. Tie either of these in with a daily, weekly, or monthly observance, holiday or awareness, and the opportunity is there for you, too.
Just be sure that what you’re doing is somehow related to, or in honor of, the observance or holiday.
BE CREATIVE - THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Your promotion or pitch doesn‘t have to be directly related to your work.
For example, you’re in the retail or professional services sector, and you or some of your employees are volunteer firefighters. Sponsor a trip to the fire station for a class of third-graders during National Fire Safety Week, or bring one of the fire trucks to your business and have the students visit you there.
Are you a CPA, Pilates instructor, broadcast or recording executive, Realtor, graphic designer, or retail business owner who also has his or her pilot’s license? Sponsor or donate a short flight to a theme park or to see relatives, for a child suffering from a terminal illness during the national week or month of that illness.
Are you an avid bicyclist? Beg or borrow bicycles during National Bicycle Safety Month, set up a safety course at your place of business, or take it to a local youth center, Cub Scout troop, etc. Put the kids on the bikes and teach them the rules of the road for bicyclists.
If it was an illness, tragedy or some other galvanizing event that led to you going into your line of work, and you’re comfortable talking about it publicly, use your story during that national week or month to pitch a story to the media.
GET YOUR LIST TOGETHER
There are plenty of places on the Internet that list the different observances, holidays or national day, week, or month being celebrated. Some are silly, such as National Go Barefoot Day, or National Cotton Candy Day. Others are serious such as National Skin Cancer Prevention Month (May), or National Fire Presentation Week (October 3-9).
A quick Google search will help you find others… especially if they’re related to specific topics of interest to you such as health, the environment, children, diversity, etc.
LET THE MEDIA KNOW IN ADVANCE
Make sure you let the media know what you’re doing far enough in advance… especially if you need the press coverage or publicity to help draw people to an event or activity.
If you’re doing an event or pitching your expertise for a specific day or week, ie National Grandparents Day or Fire Safety Week, send your press release at least a week in advance. If your activity or expertise pitch is centered on a month such as National Heart Month, send it out during the final week of the preceding month or at the very beginning of the month.
Remember that most magazines and many newsletters publish on a monthly basis, so if you’re targeting them in your marketing efforts, you’ll need to let them know at least a month ahead of time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The media is most likely going to be more interested in something you do that supports a local animal shelter, helps kids with disabilities, etc, than something centered around National Cotton Candy or National Be Late to Work day. You can certainly do something fun or wacky to celebrate one of those days, and it may attract some goodwill public relations or publicity, but it will need to have a major attraction factor to it.
The media will want to know why you’re doing this… keep that in mind if a personal tragedy or event is a motivating factor.
Let the press know well in advance of your event or activity, and consider other marketing efforts such as advertising, viral marketing, social media, posters, flyers, etc if you’re looking to attract a crowd. Keep in mind that other important or breaking news is always going to be a factor in the media’s decision to give you coverage. Use The Insider’s Advertising Philosophy of notifying every media outlet big and small, to attract as much coverage as possible.
If you’re pitching your expertise, make sure your press release or story pitch includes a brief bio about your expertise in that area/field… how many years you’ve competed as an amateur bicyclist, how long you’ve served as volunteer firefighter, etc. It should also include a few bullet-pointed tips and a quick list of any associations, certifications, recognitions you’ve received as an expert in that area.