As a PR agency, our main goal is to get our clients publicity and make them, well, HAPPY.
We accomplish this in a variety of ways, but one of the most effective ways is by pitching timely topics the media wants. In other words, we make their jobs easy by serving them relevant news stories on a platter!
So, how do you go about identifying which stories are most relevant? How do you know when to actually pitch those stories? We broke down our HAPPY process below:
Figure Out What The Media Is Covering
The media covers a variety of topics based on the calendar year, their editorial calendars (the pre-planned topics that align with ads/sales content) and what’s going on in the world.
It can be easy to focus only on what we want featured in the news, but it’s important to remember that people working in the media are looking to cover timely stories that spark interest. That’s their job, and the best way to get coverage is to make their job easier.
Some of these timely topics include:
- Celebrating your favorite sports team: Super Bowl Sunday, tailgating for your favorite team, Olympics
- Activities to do around the holidays: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas
- Products to prepare you for the change in seasons: Back to school, summer vacations, outdoor activities in the fall
- Gift-giving occasions: Mother’s Day gifts, holiday gift guides, end of the school year gifts for teachers
Leverage Non-traditional Holidays
In addition to all of the real holidays, you’ll notice the media loves to cover non-traditional, or fake holidays. Some stations even have entire daily segments dedicated to just this theme!
Just scroll through your social media for a few minutes and you’ll probably find some kind of random “holiday” being celebrated, like Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2), World Lion Day (August 10), or Men’s Grooming Day (August 16).
Research non-traditional days of the year by visiting daysofttheyear.com, and mark your calendars to pitch relevant days that align with your brand. It seems like there’s a day of the year for just about anything, so you’ll likely find something that fits.
For example, Chipotle celebrated National Avocado Day (July 31) by offering free guacamole for each entrée purchased. Not only did the promotion attract customers nationwide, but it generated massive media buzz by Time, CNN, People, and more.
Start Pitching Early
We recommend pitching timely topics at least one to two months prior to when they take place. The media work months in advance, so it’s never too early to begin your outreach. For local TV, you could pitch a few weeks in advance.
For example, we began pitching this back to school TV segment on a local news station in June, this print/online holiday gift guide in PopCulture in September, and this Mother’s Day Gift Guide TV segment in April.
Keep in mind, if you’re looking to pitch a print magazine, you’ll want to reach out even sooner.
Find the magazine’s editorial calendar or media kit to see what topics will be covered when for the upcoming year. Then look at the closing dates for advertising, and be sure to pitch your topic before then, or else the content will already be solidified.