During August and September, many PRs might notice their typical workday change pace somewhat. With lots of journalists taking time out during the summer holidays, it can have a knock-on effect for those in PR trying to secure coverage for clients each week. For more junior PR professionals, who tend to take more of a ‘far and wide’ approach to pitching, this general downtick in media cut-through can be frustrating and demotivating.
However, there are several tactics we can employ to ensure the summer ‘lull’ does not have a lasting negative impact on results:
Keep an even closer eye on the news agenda
Now is the perfect time to really get to grips with trending topics and current events. Kick off your working day by carrying out an online search each morning for any news that broke the night before. Pick up a couple of papers each morning and really read them, front to back. Have a key news broadcaster on the TV or radio throughout the day so you’re on top of breaking news stories. By developing a newsroom mentality, you’ll be far more in tune with the media landscape—and your pitches to national and broadcast pitches will be all the stronger as a result, leading to far greater cut through for your clients.
Build a coverage pipeline
With many journalists away and unable to quickly turnaround articles, leading to a bit of a ‘coverage drought’ for us PR’s, it’s a great time to shift focus onto securing mid-lead and long-lead coverage. We all know how reassuring it can be to have a strong pipeline of coverage for a client—stretching several months in advance. Utilising contacts across these publications can be a great way to tackle the slower pace of working during August and September. Come Autumn, when you begin to see that coverage trickle through, you’ll be even more thankful!
Follow key contacts on social media
We all spend hours on social media in our spare time—but many PR professionals don’t fully utilise social media platforms when it comes to strengthening journalist relationships and boosting client opportunities. Not only can connecting with a journalist on Instagram or Twitter often provide some insight into which projects they’re working on and things they’re passionate about—it also gives a real time update as to when they’re heading abroad for a family holiday and don’t want to be emailed, as well as when they’re back working and accepting pitches.
Having a window into the lives of key media contacts can therefore be invaluable; when done sincerely and tactfully, asking how they’re getting on with their new puppy, whether they enjoyed their staycation, or congratulating them on their engagement can all be incredibly effective in piquing their interest in your email and in turn, engaging with what your client can offer them.
Meet up with available contacts
Before the pandemic, meeting journalists for coffee and after-work drinks a couple of times a month was the norm—and it was always considered instrumental in cementing relationships that would ultimately lead to fantastic results for clients. The past 17 months have deprived us of in-person networking, but now with social restrictions lifted, it’s time to get back out there and really get to know the people behind the by-lines. Whilst lots of contacts will undoubtedly be on holiday or spending time with family at the moment, those that are available and whose work could benefit from your client portfolio will no doubt be delighted to receive an invite for breakfast, coffee or cocktails—if only to get back a bit of work ‘normality’ again!