As the year starts to wind down, many companies, businesses and entrepreneurs are making plans and budgets for the year ahead. Those plans include anything from setting up goals for new product or service launches to preparing marketing, sales and PR campaigns and more. When it comes to your publicity plan, WHEN you launch your campaign can be just as important to what and how you launch.
As a former media person myself, we always needed a steady stream of story ideas and pitches to consider day in and day out. The challenge that many media folks are confronted with these days though is that many PR firms/publicists seem to be of the mindset that because of the busy holiday season and end of the year wrap-up, December is a bit of a throwaway, low activity, low traction month for PR and successful media pitching. Not true at all! Their targets, media folks, need story ideas to consider day in and day out, week in and week out. They need content and ideas for stories in their editorial schedules moving forward, so the savvy PR pro who feeds them a good, solid, newsworthy pitch on the days their inboxes or voicemails may be the least clogged (like in December) the better the chance for media acceptance and exposure.
PLANTING PUBLICITY SEEDS NOW FOR 1ST QUARTER GERMINATION:
Some companies may consider: "We’ll wait to launch a PR campaign until after January 1st." The problem is, if you wait to launch your publicity campaign until the first of the year hoping for a quick media interest exposure blast in January, you may be in for a quiet month. Keep in mind most media outlets have editorial lead-times ranging from a couple weeks to 6 months. Also, what many don’t realize is that anything that is sent out is subjected to a "media digestion period" – that is, a period of time (sometimes weeks, sometimes months) that it takes media outlets to:
#1) see your media messaging and give consideration as to how they can feature you
#2) find space/time in their editorial calendar to place the article/blog post/broadcast segment
The potential placement is also directly dependent upon how quickly and efficiently your publicist or PR agency can help the media secure the placement. Media relations work is crucial. The PR pro’s job is to make the reporter/editor/writer/producer’s job as easy and as effortless as possible - which will lead to quicker and more numerous placements for you.
When it comes to publicity pitches, the facts are:
•Media responses vary in return rate but one thing is certain: rarely are they immediate. I have caught lightening in a bottle from time to time over the years and had a media contact respond within hours of a pitch. Conversely, I have had media friends who are buried in work who take months to circle back. My record: I once had a media contact who responded 17 months after a pitch. (I had to ask the reporter what the YEAR was on the release)
• No placement is guaranteed, but you can definitely increase the odds. Even if your product/business is a dead-on perfect match for a media outlet’s editorial profile, you are not guaranteed placement without some hard work and media relations. That’s why timing of your publicity pitch is so critical. Make sure your PR pro is able to put together a solid media message and conduct thorough media research. Be certain that they will strategically and professionally perform strategic media relations interactions over the next several weeks and months to generate as many placements as possible for you.
What you are trying to do is plant seeds in media outlets’ editorial lead-time garden so they will bear fruit in the form of articles/show placements/blog posts continuously over the next several weeks and months. Like the plant that comes from a seed, publicity placements can sometimes grow roots and lead to other arterial placements in other media outlets moving forward. Given the right tending, the publicity seeds you plant now will germinate soon and you’ll reap a wonderful harvest for your company well past the first quarter of next year.