14 March 2012
Alice Baker, Senior Account Executive

Leveraging the news agenda


Be it April Fool’s Day, the end of the Tax Year or Shrove Tuesday, leveraging calendar hooks can be a useful way of adding an extra dimension to a clients’ PR campaign. By linking your client’s brand or expertise to events already in the news agenda, it’s possible to generate proactive, creative coverage. What’s more, certain calendar hooks provide the chance for clients to demonstrate thought leadership prowess.

The 16th January is also known as Blue Monday and is a prime example of how we achieved proactive coverage by linking our client, Grass Roots, to a calendar hook. Blue Monday is considered to be the most depressing day of the year due to a range of factors including; the (more often than not) miserable weather, ongoing financial austerity, short days and long dark nights, and failed New Year resolutions (myself included I have to confess!).

Grass Roots is one of the UK’s leading business services companies, offering its clients learning, measurement, digital marketing, loyalty, reward, recognition & incentives, events, consumer promotions and prepaid cards solutions. We utilised the doom and gloom surrounding Blue Monday to emphasise Grass Roots’ expertise for boosting employee engagement, whilst also publicising the importance of employee engagement to business prosperity. This proactive initiative resulted in a placed article and commentary pieces appearing in several key publications, including HR Magazine and needless to say, our client was very pleased.

When trying to use a calendar hook to promote a client, here are a few top tips:

• Don’t try and squeeze a square peg into a round hole. Be clear about your client’s brand and its messaging and work out how a particular event can help you enhance this. If you can’t see how this calendar hook will boost your client’s profile, then it’s not a great idea.

• Know everything about the media you are pitching to. Know what the deadline days are and learn from experience about when is a good time to pitch a story.

• It’s often assumed that online trade outlets and nationals only deal with news a day or so in advance, this is not true. We’ve had news stories covered three weeks after pitching so getting in early is a must – this allows the journalist the time to mull the story over.

As you can see, there isn’t a science to using calendar hooks effectively however, any ideas you do have will need to be well planned and thought through.

As a dynamic agency, working across a range of industries, we are consistently looking for new ideas and different strategies for securing quality coverage for our clients and it is thought-leadership of this kind that repeatedly brings added value to our client campaigns.


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