Legend has it there’s no such thing as bad PR. At TeamRev, we (mostly!) know this not to be true and, frustratingly, this seems to be the go-to line for anyone first dipping their toe into the world of media communications. Sorry to disappoint you but there is indeed such a thing as bad PR and – perhaps its least well-known younger sister! – there is such a thing as irrelevant PR too.
Journalists have an inbuilt sixth sense which allows them to quickly recognise an organisation’s tenuous attempt at riding on the coat tails of a news story, campaign or event. But, if it’s been a slow month, with no promotions or projects to go to the press with, how else can you secure coverage for your business?
We’re glad you asked! The answer is simple but not always easy to pull off: by utilising awareness dates.
Here’s our quick guide to gaining more media attention through awareness days when other, more obvious headlines, are lacking.
What’s an ‘awareness day’?
There are literally hundreds of awareness days every single year, both in the UK exclusively and worldwide. They range from widely-recognised campaigns, such as Jeans for Genes Day, in September, to the more trivial celebratory dates – like Star Wars Day, on 4th May (or is that, May the fourth?).
Organisations have been utilising awareness days as a way to secure press coverage since well before the first Star Wars film even hit cinemas (on the 27th December 1977, for all you trivia lovers!). Unfortunately though, a lot of businesses are still getting it wrong. Linking your business to an awareness day isn’t just about asking the office team to bake a few cakes for a local charity – although TeamRev have been known to enjoy a good bake sale!
Get creative with your awareness dates
The more well-known an awareness date, the harder it is to secure coverage for your brand because – quite simply – everyone is doing the same thing. Like you, other businesses – some within a few hundred feet of your premises – will be wearing double denim, filling the office with ghosts and pumpkins for the perfect Halloween photo opportunity and gifting their staff with boxes of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with any of that and, if you can put a quirky spin on an old classic, you stand a better chance of securing coverage.
Where things get really interesting is if you can dare to be the different, backing a lesser-known campaign or awareness date. “Give us an example!” we hear you cry… Well, 7th February was Send a Card to a Friend Day. You might never have heard of it, but it’s a nationally-recognised day, encouraging people to send messages of goodwill to each other in a hand-written card. We worked with one of our clients, Water Babies in Bucks & Beds, to get the little ones who swim with them to make cards for residents in a local nursing home – who can sometimes feel lonely – to enjoy. The cards were delivered on, yep, you guessed it, Send a Card to a Friend Day. By getting plenty of lovely pictures and some testimonials from everyone involved, you’ve got the makings of a great press release! Contact the press with news of your initiative – they welcome feel-good stories about local organisations giving back to the community in this way.
These things take a bit of planning and a fair amount of creativity but have a real impact! In this case, it was a real win-win-win situation.
Awareness dates put your business at the heart of the community
As a business owner, you carry a certain amount of responsibility for your community – whether that community exists outside the front door of your office premises or in a more hypothetical sense. Giving back to charitable and voluntary organisations is a fundamental part of operating a successful business because, put simply, people buy people.
If you’re planning on backing a local or national charitable campaign – which is an admirable thing to do – share the news with your respective press. Encourage your staff to get on board, share in the effort and take as many photos as you can! If you can arrange for your event to take place on, or as close as possible, to a nationally-recognised awareness date, then all the better – it certainly makes for an easier call if the journalist is already familiar with the campaign.
Remember – you’re not capitalising, you’re profile building. You’re utilising the nations love of coming together in celebration of a belief, cause or day and making it work to not just your advantage but everyone’s.
Not sure what awareness days, if any, are right for your business? Contact TeamRev and we’d be only too happy to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.