From headlining seasonal events such as Christmas to dedicated awareness and national appreciation days, barely a day passes that doesn’t carry some significance.
For brands, important dates can be used to make stories newsworthy – giving journalists an extra reason to write about a specific topic and use your spokesperson to lead. In wider marketing, it provides another opportunity to repurpose existing content, tap into trending hashtags on social media or launch a time-sensitive promotion that stands out in recipients’ mailboxes.
It’s easy to become overloaded as you try to tap into every calendar hook. Lack of focus can steal time and budget from marketing teams and bombard customers with multiple messages. Focusing on a few key dates spread throughout the year enables you to maximise resources, make a greater impact and establish stronger links to specific topics.
It can be tempting to jump on the latest trends and capitalise on interest surrounding big news stories and emerging social media hashtags. While it pays to be reactive on some occasions, it is important that the hook you are tapping into is relevant to your brand and aligns with at least one of your key messages. Building a recognisable brand means the stories you share must make sense to your audience and continue to add to your brand persona. Does it align with your corporate values or highlight your key message(s)? Can the date help you inform, educate or entertain your target market? If not, concentrate on other activities.
Boost existing activity
A lot of time and energy goes into creating content, and we’re great believers in getting as much mileage out of it as possible. In an age where the news agenda is constantly shifting, it pays to be flexible when launching your story but also identify multiple opportunities across the year to promote your material. For example, if you have launched a report looking at wellbeing, repurpose the content around mental health awareness days, giving you another chance to approach the media.
Put it in the diary!
To stay on track, create a PR calendar highlighting important dates and fitting these in alongside planned launches, events and campaigns. This ensures you have enough time to develop assets and content and helps you to maintain a steady flow of activity across the year.
It is worth looking at the amount of engagement specific calendar hooks have received in previous years, whether on your own platforms or in the wider media. Some prominent dates command media attention every year and gain momentum. International Women’s Day is a good example, while 8th March has been marked by UK business press for more than a decade, mainstream coverage has continued to grow since the #MeToo movement hit the headlines in 2017.
New awareness dates take time to establish, so coverage opportunities are likely to be limited in the first few years but should grow in reach year-on-year. If it is a cause particularly close to your brand, it can be beneficial to associate yourself with a date early on, fixing your connection in people’s minds and incorporating it into your brand’s identity – such as M&S’ partnership with Macmillan Coffee Morning.
To discuss your brand’s PR calendar, contact Caroline Walker on 01732 779 087.