It’s the dead of summer. School is out for another month, traffic is “Friday light” on a daily basis and most us feel the urge to leave the office promptly at 3:00 p.m. But for public relations professionals, the dead of summer is no excuse for lacking media results for our hungry clients. Our biggest challenge during the summer is grabbing the attention of the few reporters and editors trapped in the newsroom. And when we do, it’s cause for celebration.
How do we do it? We are a team of seasoned public relations professionals with a knack for hunting down thirsty reporters and editors.
Our clients can rest assured we’re pulling out all the stops for keeping summertime media engagement a top priority:
Content, content, content
Most industry trade publications combine summertime issues into one, maybe two editions, because content is generally low due to vacationing readers and reporters too. But that is no reason to deny the listening audience of our client’s expertise and point of view under an executive’s byline. We suggest to our clients that the team develop a bylined piece that fits with the editor’s issue topic; a contributed article is a surefire way to demonstrate a client’s strengths and mission in their industry. And, generally, a sigh of relief for an editor looking for content to fill the pages.
Know who is in town
Trend spotting is a year-round best practice, but reading the news pertinent to our client’s industry 1-2 hours a day during the (typically slower) summer months can yield more than just breaking news alerts. By monitoring the news and who is writing, we get a sense for who is around and likely looking for story angles and expert resources. This means our pitches are going to living, breathing reporters rather than being ignored and buried by the popular personal assistant, Ms. Auto Response, which significantly increases our potential response rates. This is also a good way for us to update media lists with new media contacts.
Our clients don’t always make the news, but summer is a great time to be the news. We regularly encourage our clients to publish something – infographics, data, whitepapers, etc. that will make headlines all on their own – that won’t necessarily require one-on-one phone interview time, but rather give reporters and editors content to review and quickly build a proper news brief or summary on the findings.
Make local media connections
We are fortunate that some key media are based in our neighborhood – Seattle, Wash., D.C. and the New York metro area. Summer is a great time for us to get in front of them and introduce ourselves in person. No strings attached, we try to meet up for a meal or coffee before, during, or after work to raise our level of awareness with reporters important to our local clients and therefore increase our chances of getting some summer lovin’ (or even planting seeds for fall/winter opportunities) for our clients.
Just because the sun is out, the days are long and many of us would rather be anywhere but at our desk, we don’t ease up on media relations. Instead, we use our time to learn more about our key contacts and get in front of them while our competitors are distracted, sipping umbrella drinks and planning their next camping trip.