starts with a client of mine who is a dog crusader with a cause.
She's written seven books about it, and just released a new one.
Her passion is animal rescue -- specifically dogs from animal
shelters. It's a reasonably narrow cause, but she has been
getting a great deal of attention, and October is going to be
even bigger for her. You see, October is national
Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, sponsored by the American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). For our client,
it's a month made in heaven for her message.
So far, her print campaign has produced several interviews,
several requests from specialty publications for bylined
articles from her, and we are gearing up for some potential TV
interviews as October grows closer.
That's not to say her campaign wasn't getting interest prior to
the announcement of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, but there is a
more universal point to be made here. If one is enterprising
enough, it is extremely easy to research and discover a
"holiday" of sorts related to just about any topic, cause or
There are days set aside to commemorate the anniversaries of
Civil War battles, the invention of popcorn, birthdays of dead
celebrities, the invention of the rotary engine and just about
anything you could possibly imagine. There is even a printed
resource, Chase's Calendar of Events published by
filled with literally thousands of listings for holidays from
the ridiculous to the sublime.
Also, don't be afraid to do some
creative Google searching to find out if there are any
"holidays" related to your message. You may be surprised with
what you find.
For instance, National Teen Driving Safety Week focuses on
getting teens to reduce distractions while driving, such as the
use of cell phones and PDAs. We've used this week to help a few
clients get their messages out to the public. One such message
was about trackable car GPS systems and was aimed at keeping
teens safe on the road.
For another client, we pitched their
message about responsibility being one of the traits of a
successful teenager, which was a great fit for the Teen Driving
Safety Week. The key thing was to use the date as a way to help
focus on a message that was relevant to BOTH the audience for
the holiday and the intended audience for the client's message.
With our dog expert, national Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month was
ready-made, but that doesn't mean it was a simple process.
We planned many weeks in advance to hit the long lead
publications in late July with a written article and pitch for
the client, which is already resulting in coverage in those
outlets in October when they arrive at the newsstands. Moreover,
we will begin to pitch her for TV interviews nationally about
four weeks prior to October 1st, helping producers to plan their
potential segments in a comfortable time frame. Finally, we are
updating the print article to reflect the timeliness of the
event for when we hit the short lead outlets the week prior to
October 1st. So, it's not enough to have a good "holiday" to
co-opt for your campaign. You have to plan far enough in advance
to take advantage of it.
Finally, you need to be completely ready -- and available -- to
face the press once the campaign begins.
So find the holiday that relates to your message, whether it is
for your book or product, and then plan carefully to execute
your PR tactics around that date. It might take an evergreen
campaign pitch and make it instantly relevant to everyone simply
because it appears on the calendar.
Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI, is a 20-year
veteran of the public relations industry, who provides PR
strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers,
authors and professional firms.
She is also the author of the book, Celebritize Yourself.
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