Finding time for creativity can be one of the hardest parts of any manager’s job. Carving out the time to step off the treadmill and plan ahead is crucial in any organisation, but it can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list, when there are so many competing demands that all want your attention right now.
This is particularly true when it comes to public relations and promotion. You know you should do more to raise your profile, but it’s difficult to find the time when you’re so busy doing your actual job.
But planning PR doesn’t need to be arduous.
One of the simplest steps you can take – and one which can help a lot of other things fall into place – is to create a media calendar.
An essential part of any communications strategy, media calendars allow you to utilise your quieter times to plan ahead, and ensure that your brand is visible all year round. They might contain national awareness days that are relevant to your organisation, as well as key events in the national and local calendars that you could link in with – e.g. royal weddings, Pride parades, or national sporting events. They should also focus on key milestones within your organisation aligned to your strategic objectives (e.g. public consultation events).
What they are really useful for is giving you the headspace to be creative, avoiding last-minute scrambles for relevant content and ensuring that what you put out really adds value to the conversations that are happening. You get to capitalise on the big talking points when they happen but also, on the flipside, can judge when to avoid putting out news if it’s likely to be overshadowed by a major event.
They also enable you to make the most of times when the news cycle is traditionally quieter. The summer holidays are peak ‘silly season’ in newspaper land. Parliament’s in recess, schools are out and there is a dearth of hard news, which means journalists are keen to make the most of anything they can get their hands on. Coming up with relevant, entertaining content for the media is likely to be low on the day-to-day to-do list – but a bit of clever planning for the future could mean that it’s already packaged up and ready to go during these opportune times.
The obvious times to start your planning are December for the next calendar year, or March for the new financial year, but it’s never too late or early to get started – even if you’re only looking ahead for the next few months.
The key thing is to pick dates and events that are relevant to your organisation; don’t just latch on to any old awareness days. Make sure that what you have in your calendar will enable you to create entertaining, attention-grabbing content that positions you in the areas you want to be known in.
And it’s not just traditional media to consider – make sure you incorporate social media into your planning too. Looking ahead gives you ample time to consider which channels will work best for which events and to create the right content for them. A simple tweet at the right time, on the right day, with the right hashtag, could reach infinitely more people than a complicated press release that’s taken hours to perfect.
If you’d like us to help you create a media calendar or write effective press releases, contact us today.