When planning your comms activity for the year, one of the press office no-brainers is to take the seasonal and other external triggers that happen every year into account. Not all will be relevant for your brand, but those that are, are ripe for content. And the real beauty of it is that you can plan ahead to make sure you capitalise on the right moments.
Alongside the turning-on-a-dime, or news-jacking opportunities, this longer-term play incorporates your expertise and audience knowledge to build toward a milestone that a large proportion of your market will be engaging with. Think summer sun and festive fun, sports tournaments and annual awareness events, etc.
For news generation and content creation, these annual events allow you to create on-brand news and digital content that ties into bigger cultural events and that will engage your customer base and your target media outlets.
Be careful though, not all of these triggers will be the right fit for your brand, and your timing is crucial.
Determining which seasonal triggers will deliver against your comms campaign objectives
It’s true that sometimes less really is more. If you try to incorporate every seasonal and calendar event into your comms campaign activity, firstly you could fall over from the sheer weight of the work, but more importantly, you’ll weaken your brand messaging.
Cherry pick the most relevant triggers for your brand and your target audience. What does your brand have that will create real stand out throughout that event and how does that event strengthen your brand messaging and the consumer understanding of your offering?
Choosing the wrong events to tie your PR campaign activity into is pointless at best and detrimental to your brand at worst.
For example, if you’re a UK-based business with a local audience, Thanksgiving content is unlikely to have real return on investment, it’s not worth the time or money. Similarly, choosing a charity or awareness event to tag your activity onto when it’s not something your brand has ever invested in before and hasn’t made strides to develop in advance can come across as exploitative and damage your brand reputation. Be picky!
Creating timely PR and digital content for owned and earned channels
Different media forms have different lead times that they work to. When you’re planning your PR campaign activity you need to consider your goals and media targets in order to ensure your content is delivered in a timely fashion. Media outlets are crying out for relevant content, but it needs to be available to them at the right time.
Depending on your goals, it’s not unusual to be planning and creating content for your Christmas comms activity in spring. Yes, really! The copious Christmas in July events are held to ensure the longer-lead media titles have that year’s festive content in time for going to press. Wheeling in the fake snow and perfecting the faux shiver are a must.
You’re not going to get Christmas brand exposure in a monthly glossy magazine if you release the content in November or December, you need to be ready with it at least six months out. Similarly, there’s no point in sending your festive-themed news to a daily paper in October, it won’t be on their radar yet.
Whether you’re planning an integrated PR campaign, or individual elements such as video content, thought leadership, or influencer activity, to maximise on seasonal triggers relevance and timing are key.
Five tips for creating a comms campaign strategy that incorporates seasonal triggers.
- Only plan to maximise on the really relevant calendar events for your brand.
- Think about your USPs and how you can stand out and get the cut through in the busier times. Almost every brand will be publishing festive content across their social media feeds in December, what are the key messages that you want to get across?
- Consider the timing. To secure the right coverage in the right outlets you need to plan ahead and take lead times into consideration.
- Be creative. Brands have the potential to leverage a whole host of vehicles and triggers present in the news and popular culture for which we can be ready to respond to.
- Last minute plays can work too. Turning around a news release or a piece of content for your social media channels can be created relatively quickly and still reap rewards.
For anything comms, PR, media, social or marketing-led, we can support you in creating an approach to deliver strong ROI and business results.