Holidays can throw a wrench into your media-pitching efforts. When reporters and editors go on vacation in the middle of your back-and-forth, you can lose momentum and opportunities. Therefore, you should be aware of upcoming holidays and vacation seasons so you can prepare and plan accordingly. This doesn’t mean that as soon as you start connecting with reporters you should ask them if they’re taking any trips. Instead, use these four tips to avoid losing media-pitching traction during holidays and vacations.
1. Educate.Educate clients about promoting, announcing, and releasing news, products, and services too close to a holiday. Quality media coverage matters to clients, and if you don’t explain to them that releasing something within seven days of a holiday impacts the quality of outcomes, they could blame you if the effort fails. While an event or news story may be a big deal to your client, if a reporter is on vacation, it can fall through the cracks. That’s why education and planning are so important to media relations.
If you know a holiday will coincide with an announcement, start planning in advance. Look at the calendar and make recommendations on the best times to pitch the media and release the news. If the holiday is on a Wednesday, it’s best to connect with a reporter before or after the holiday week. However, if the holiday is on a Monday, recognize that a reporter may take an extended vacation the week of the holiday or even the week prior to the holiday, making it a long weekend. Pitching before the holiday also gives you a reason to follow up with the reporter.
- Follow up.
Don’t forget to follow up with reporters after a holiday or vacation. Perhaps you pitched a reporter and you received an out-of-office reply. Note in your calendar to follow up when the reporter returns. Don’t forget to be personable and ask the journalist about his or her time away. It’s best practice not to follow up the day the reporter returns or the day after a holiday. Don’t ever say in a message to a reporter, “I know your inbox is full.” If you know the reporter’s inbox is full, why are you adding to it? Sit back and wait a day or two to let the reporter ease back in. Be a resource, not a pest.
- Use social media.
Social media can be quite valuable when you use it correctly. Follow reporters on social media to retweet and reply to their various posts. This is one way to keep momentum with a reporter despite the various holidays and vacations. This is one method of following up and it can keep you on the top of the reporter’s mind when you do reach out via phone or email.
As a public relations professional, you know the timing of a pitch matters to your client as well as to a reporter. You need to educate your clients on the best time to pitch and release announcements and products to the media. Why is it so important? Holidays can cause a lack of interest or a breakdown in communication. Knowing how to communicate with the media helps avoid those delays and frustrations. Download Axia Public Relations’ free e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media to gain additional confidence with media pitching.
Marjorie Comer is an award-winning PR professional. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Marjorie has worked for Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Follow her on Twitter @Marjorie_Comer. Learn more about Marjorie Comer.
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