Increasing brand awareness through PR can be difficult when you solely rely on company announcements or news hijacking because you can’t count on this being consistent. Instead, it's always useful to consider the impact of national (and even international) events on your PR strategy because, when used effectively, these events can act as a hook for journalists.
We've mapped out a three step plan to help you leverage national events to increase your brand awareness...
Find relevant events, holidays, and awareness days
The UK events calendar is jam packed with potential hooks for your business. Knowing what events are happening and why journalists are interested in them is a really good starting point:
It’s easiest to first consider the events that we all know about like Christmas, Easter, Eid, (Chinese) New Year, or Summer Solstice. Why? Because these are the events that large percentages of the population celebrate, so naturally they’re hot topic.
Journalists will often base their content around what their readers want to read about. If a journalist knows that people are prepping for Christmas, they’ll tailor stories around this for the highest readership
Once you’ve considered the key events, start looking for annual awareness days, weeks, and months. University College London have a great wellbeing calendar. These have proliferated over the past decade as people fight for attention, so it’s important that you only pick those that already have a significant or at least, audience, and that are relevant to your client.
One easy way to check whether an awareness event is popular or not is to check media coverage of the event in previous years. If you can’t find any, then it’s probably not worth your time.
Remember to think about how these events relate to your company, and try to note down only those awareness days that your company can prove a real connection to. For instance, our client Zigzag used National Puppy Day (23rd March) and National Pet Day (11th April) as hooks to talk about their puppy training app. We successfully placed Zigzag’s co-founder, Lorna Winter, on Sky News with Kay Burley!
Consider potential media coverage
Once you’ve determined which events are relevant to your company, figure out how you might contribute to media coverage of that event and help build the conversation. Ideas can come from anyone in the team, not just the marketing department.
You can also review previous media coverage of that event for ideas. For example, lifestyle sections of newspapers and magazines often publish ‘gift guides’ in the run up to Christmas. We secured our client, Cubitts, a place in the Daily Mail's online Christmas Gift Guide.
Christmas is one of the largest gift-giving times of the year and so gift guides will be highly saturated and even more competitive. Our advice would be to show how your product or service is unique, different, and why it’s worth a spot. For instance we placed our client Treedom, who offer a digital tree planting service, in the Independent's Valentines Gift Guide.
Lots of companies will be doing a similar thing, so try to come up with as unique an idea as possible. Try to think about how your company specifically relates to that event, and what it can offer that other competitors can’t.
Contact journalists with your ideas
Timing is super important when trying to promote your brand on a specific annual event or awareness day. It’s important to have a good knowledge of how different media organisations work to get it right.
A magazine, for example, might work three months ahead of its print publication, so you’ll need to contact journalists far in advance of the actual date.
You don’t want to contact the journalist too early, because this might mean that they ignore your email as irrelevant. At the same time, you don’t want to leave it too late and risk other competitors getting there first.
Communication with journalists is important here. And don’t be afraid of asking how best your company can help them cover awareness days and national holidays. Remember: many journalists will want your help in filling their publishing schedules. It’s your job to find out how best you can do that.
Once the day has passed, make sure you review your successes and failures. Learn from this information, and use it when you try again the following year.
We must caveat that this approach is not - and we repeat not - relevant for all brands. Working closely with your PR agency will help you to determine if your brand can (and should) jump on the bandwagon of a national event!
If you found this useful
Check out our blog on how to know if something is newsworthy, or how to identify your target audience in PR. Happy reading!
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