21 Jun Summertime and the PR is Easy
As summer begins, many of us are looking forward to family beach vacations, Fourth of July barbecues, Mojitos by the pool, and all of the fun that warm weather provides. Time to celebrate the successes of the first half of the year, sit back, and relax.
But before you fire up the grill, remember that the warm, slow months ahead can open the door for unique PR and marketing efforts that might not have otherwise gotten the attention they deserve at other times of the year. Groundbreaking and popular efforts like the ALS #IceBucketChallenge and Nivea’s Sunslide campaign launched during summertime and got a lot of traction.
While I realize that both of these examples are more consumer-focused, enterprise companies can take some cues from the creativity and timeliness of these types of campaigns. In addition to using social media for maximum viral impact, these efforts captured and reflected a certain frame of mind that is prevalent during the dog days of the year.
From June to September, even the thoughts of enterprise customers turn to sun and sand to go along with their plans for servers and security. They’re not checked out, per se – but there’s a high likelihood that they are on a slightly different wavelength (gnarly, dude).
To reach these customers, you might want to consider getting on that same wavelength. That may require some outside the sandbox thinking, but here’s the good news: since summer tends to be a slower news time – especially in the enterprise space – that just means you have a bigger sandbox to play in, and less competition for news. With that in mind, here are some ideas that can help you maximize your PR efforts over the next few months.
Ramp up your pitching
Thanks to the reality of budget cuts, publications are short-staffed these days, especially during summer when a lot of people tend to take vacations. As such, many of their editors will be looking for contributed content from outside sources.
Make sure you and your spokespeople are among those sources. It’s the perfect time to reach out to editors with some solid pitch and byline article ideas. Chances are, if the pitch is good – compelling, timely, and appropriate for their readership – they’ll be receptive, or at least responsive.
“Seasonalize” your writing
No, “seasonalize” is not a real world – I made it up for this blog post. But it’s summer, so who cares? Summer is the time to go a little crazy with your writing. Be a little more Jimmy Buffet and a little less Bono, know what I’m saying?
The point is that editors appreciate timely hooks. You can never go wrong with a well-crafted story that ties into a particular time of year or holiday. So, when you’re doing the aforementioned pitching, perhaps you might consider doing something around the Fourth of July that takes a patriotic spin, or incorporate a Labor Day angle (“Boo, Summer’s Over – Here’s What to Expect From Enterprise IT this Fall”).
Don’t feel like you need to relegate this approach to your pitching. Seasonal corporate blog posts — like this one! — are also worth considering. Readers may be more likely to share these types of posts on social media.
(And now for the requisite shameless plug: I would love it if you could be sure to share this thing that you’re reading on your favorite social media channel of choice.)
Go out to lunch
While some may say that many of us are figuratively out to lunch when the days get hot, I’m actually talking about literally going out to lunch. Summertime offers the perfect chance to combine the wonders of al fresco dining with the benefits of relationship building, the latter of which is really the bread and butter of all PR.
Now’s the perfect time to reach out to some of your colleagues in marketing and sales and chat about what they’ve got going on over a plate of BBQ ribs or fish tacos. What you learn could be the basis for your PR planning over the next several months. At the very least, you could get some great story ideas that could spice up your news cycle.
In any case, this nonstop food metaphor is making me hungry, so it might be time to go put on my flip-flops and look for a cheeseburger in paradise. As you do the same this summer, remember to think about ways to keep pushing your message forward as you dream about swinging on your hammock.