How To Plan An Effective Annual PR Schedule

Summer is not the time to sit on the sidelines. No matter the time of year, there are always opportunities to keep public relations a priority.

With warm weather, summer months and vacation plans on the horizon, some businesses opt to tap the brakes on new projects, partnership deals, new product launches, new hires and the like. And in the absence of any hard news, some scale back on their media outreach.

However, summer is not a time to sit on the sidelines. No matter the time of year, there are always opportunities to keep public relations a priority. Here’s an example of a company’s business cycle over the course of the year and where PR fits in:

 

January: New year and new budget

With a new year and new budget, most businesses will commit both time and funds to new initiatives and ongoing efforts in marketing. This is a good time to ramp-up PR. While it may seem things have slowed down after the holidays, media outlets may be looking for fresh ideas and new spokespeople they can use for industry commentary and relevant industry news.

 

Photo: Jonas Jacobsson, Unsplash
Photo: Jonas Jacobsson, YFS Magazine

 

February – April: Peak time

Around this time new projects and announcements are plentiful. This is a busy time for all, especially for PR folks and the media. Follow what media outlets are covering in your industry and who is writing about relevant topics. This will prove to be valuable when you communicate with journalists and reporters.

 

May – August: Summer slump

It might seem reasonable to lay low with PR outreach during the summer months and hold off on new initiatives until the fall season, but this can be a perfect time to make a company announcement or pitch a spokesperson to journalists. During these slow news cycles, reporters may be hungry for news stories, and this can create opportunities for companies to gain exposure in the media.

 

September – November: Ramp up

In most industries, the return to work after summer hiatuses is accompanied by a renewed push to ramp up productivity before the end of the year. In addition to working with the media on hard news, it’s a good time to reach out to editorial contacts on year-end stories.

 

Photo: Keenan Constance, Unsplash
Photo: Keenan Constance, Unsplash

It can also be beneficial during this time to proactively research upcoming editorial plans and schedule face-to-face meetings with journalists to determine how you can work together in the coming months.

 

December: Annual planning and downtime

During the final weeks of the year most companies review PR plans and budgets for the new year. Barring any breaking news, it’s probably the quietest time period for PR outreach. However, there are some great ways to use this time productively.

It’s a good time to revisit what has and hasn’t worked in your PR efforts to date. It’s also a great time to reach out to journalists. Whether to make an initial introduction or to follow up on dropped correspondence, journalists may be more available this time of year.

 

In order to be effective, PR should be an ongoing commitment throughout the year. Whatever time of year it is, it is critical to stay active and available to the media. You can make the choice to slow down with everyone else, or take the opportunity to be in the limelight. It’s your choice!

 

With over 20 years of experience in media and public relations, Rosalia Scampoli is a Senior Media Director of Marketcom PR, a B2B-oriented communications boutique committed to helping clients achieve the results they need to sell more effectively in their marketplaces. Ms. Scampoli develops and manages communication platforms for clients across a variety of financial services, nonprofit and B2B industries. Connect with @Rosalia70 on Twitter.

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