Public Relations, by its very definition, is about the planned and sustained management of your brand reputation. This means giving consistent and targeted messages throughout the year and not a one hit news release when you ‘feel’ you have something to say.
There is a rhythm to generating content based upon the ebbs and flows of the seasons. When producing your annual PR and marketing plan, yes, you should have a plan, consider how the changing seasons can affect buying decisions.
Time-based content during the seasons
Plan your existing stories to fit the needs of the media during particular times of the year. Use the seasons to get your brand’s message out in a different way. What does your business offer that is relevant to that particular time?
Spring – Launch forward
This is a great time to pitch trend stories so if you are launching a new product, now is the time to do it. Journalists are looking forward and thinking about marketplace predications and previewing the year ahead. It is also a good time for general news and business features so tailor your stories as light, fun and happy.
Summer – Nurture relationships
Better weather means less people working and more people enjoying ‘downtime’. Your customers will probably be spending more time online and will have an increased social media presence. This makes it a great time to maintain engagement; run a prize draw or hold a consumer poll, you’re more likely to have more entries than when you ran these in the winter. It is worth noting here, do ensure your website is responsive as people will mainly be on mobile phones and tablets.
Autumn – Get creative
September is the time those marketing budgets start to be constrained and journalists will be more open to pitches from you that may seem a little out of the ordinary! Be creative, have some fun and work an entertainment theme into your news. Anything with celebrity, lighter business news, tech stories and education or back to school themes will do well during this time.
Winter – Think smarter
This is the busiest time of the media calendar. Business starts to turn serious. Make sure the angles for your stories are hard-hitting and looking ahead. Perhaps pitch a prediction for next year’s economy or make a statement on something in your industry.
If you have customer reviews from the summer, winter is a good time to use them. Prepare case studies that are ‘warmer’ and remind people what it felt like be in the sun and how your product or business helped that. It’ll give your customer a connection to your brand and more likely to buy.
Event-based content during holidays
Craft new stories that take advantage of holidays. Think of an angle to tie your business to key events and you will get coverage. Why do you think Michael Buble brings out a Christmas hits album every December?
Drop a ‘Time Bomb’. This is a reference to a holiday or event such as the adverts created for the Superbowl or B&Q’s huge bank holiday advertising we always see begin in March/April. Give your audience hooks that they can connect with and it’ll make your content more relevant and shareable.
Create seasonal-themed graphics and images and get them ready to go out with your news or post on social media. If you have a new product that you are releasing at Easter, arrange professional photography that is outdoors and full of blossom or create an infographic surrounded by eggs!
Write blogs that would be helpful around events such as ‘How to increase sales this Bank Holiday’ or ‘Spring Clean Your Home this Easter’ and you’ll be sure to achieve social shares.
Business seasonal trends
Let us tell you a secret – capitalise on your peak times and use the quieter times to consolidate your brand message, plan ahead and consider tactical opportunities.
You’ll know when during the year you will be super busy and unable to keep on top of your marketing plan so use those times to really capitalise on social media, use testimonials and reviews where you can. Keep your social pages very active so people see how in demand you are. Use the quieter times to be planning ahead and utilise all the good work you’ve achieved to push out your brand messages and think smarter.
If you are starting a business or breaking into a new market and aren’t sure of your seasonal trends, a good trick is to use Google Keyword Planner. You can search a specific word relevant to your business and see when most people are searching for it. This will help you decide when best to market those products or services and plan ahead for the year.
Remember to start your campaigns just before these peak times to ensure you lead the way. Create promotions before your competitors by thinking across the year, plan ahead and leave them following in your footsteps.
If you would like more advice on how best to create your annual PR and marketing strategy, give us a call and speak to one of our experienced team. We love to talk and never charge for a chat: 01934 81 23 23.
This blog was written by our Account Manager, Angela Cassidy. Read more about Ange here.