If there’s one thing we love working on here, it’s a great PR story. After all, “advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good” (Jean-Louis Gassée). Just one of the ways that we secure national and regional coverage for our clients time and time again is through leveraging what are now commonly known as awareness days.
Some important, others more ‘just for a laugh’, but all totally worth incorporating into your PR & Marketing plans if frequenting the news is part of your business strategy. Awareness days are the world’s answer to celebrating pretty random things for no apparent reason. Covering everything from ‘National Pizza Day’ to ‘Faux Fur Friday’, it seems that nowadays there’s a day (or week) to champion pretty much anything.
But how, as PRs, can we work these days in our favour? Awareness days, if they fit your brand, are great to schedule into your wider strategy. However, remember that your whole PR strategy should be varied and built around different factors, don’t just focus it on one thing.
Here’s some bases you need to cover if you want to use awareness days in your communications strategy.
Know What Awareness Days The Press Like
As with pretty much any PR story, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on if the publications you’re targeting won’t be interested in it. The same concept goes with taking advantage of awareness days, you need to make sure that journalists are actually interested in them before moving forward. Spend some time shortlisting the days you’d like to target, then research the press coverage for those days across previous years. You’ll soon get a taste of whether the media is interested in these occasions, and moreover you’ll find out which journalists tend to write about them.
For example, a quick Google search will tell you that ‘Blue Monday’ (20th January) is a popular press topic…
But ‘National Hug A Plumber Day’ (25th April) doesn’t return so many results. This tells you it’s probably not worth centring your press strategy around that particular awareness day. (We can’t imagine why!)
Don’t Do It Just To Do It
One thing to be conscious of is not just jumping on the bandwagon with awareness days. It’s not uncommon to see journalists taking to Twitter to say they’re fed up of ‘Blue Monday’ or ‘Singles Day’ stories. They’ve gotten so popular in the last few years that now, most people take a stab at trying to get some publicity from them. With this in mind, you need to make sure you’re only using this tactic when it really aligns with your strategy. Having a clear cut plan in place means you’ll be providing a journalist with a great story that won’t be just another email directed to their ‘deleted’ folder.
Match The Awareness Days With Your Brand
Something else you need to do if using awareness days in your PR strategy, is to ensure they’re a good fit for your brand. Some occasions are pretty versatile and can be suited to any number of different industries (Random Acts Of Kindness Day (February 17th), for example) but others are clear cut for a certain type of brand.
At the end of the day, as with any PR activity, you need to make sure that your story is valuable to the reader, but is also relevant. For example, a supermarket jumping on ‘Gorgeous Grandma Day’ (23rd July) doesn’t quite make sense and it won’t help your brand feel any real PR benefit. It’s better to stick to what makes a good read, and what generates great PR value too.
Make A Good Story
Talking of good stories, that’s another thing you really need to get right if you want to make use of awareness days in your PR strategy.
A little like how it’s important to check that certain awareness days are interesting to journalists; you’ll also need to do a recce on whether the ideas you have are press-worthy too. Ultimately, you can spend weeks or even months planning an idea around a topical awareness day, but if your efforts don’t result in a good story, then it could all be for nothing.
There are many different ways to check what journalists are into covering, but some of our favourites include:
- Following journalists on social media if they have professional accounts, as you can see what kind of stories they’re interacting with and therefore get a good sense for the topics that they cover.
- Checking your target news sites every morning, spending 10 minutes a day exploring what stories are being covered.
- Looking at what stories are getting the most engagement on social media and through article views. A lot of journalists are KPI’ed on interactions, so if you can provide them with a story that’s likely to get them some – they should love it.
- Use Google Trends to see what people are searching for and therefore are interested in at the moment. This free tool from Google is a great way of auditing what’s popular in the world at any given time.
- Check past news stories which have covered similar awareness days and see if you can spot any recurring themes. For instance, if being involved with local primary schools has been popular time and time again, then that’s probably a good place to start when brainstorming ideas for your own campaigns.
If done right, awareness days can help to really boost your PR activity when incorporated into your strategy, whether you’re B2B or B2C. Not only can they help strengthen your reputation, but they can increase your news and social media presence too.
If you’re looking for a little extra help with your PR, marketing or social media, then why not chat to us about how we can help? Here at The Source we have a growing team of professionals with expertise to cover all bases, whatever your brand vision is, we’ll have a solution. Call us on 01829 720789 or send us a message today. Or, see what we get up to on social…
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