5 Things to Do While Everyone Else Is on Vacation
BY Steve Cody
The world seems to slow down a little in August. But forget conventional wisdom: Use the dog days to your advantage.
Conventional wisdom holds that the last week of August is the absolute worst time to announce news of any sort. Well, here's a public-relations trade secret: Conventional wisdom is wrong.
Here's why: while many journalists are joining the rest of us as we head to the pool, lake or ocean, a precious few remain behind to mind the store. And, those that stick around are positively dying for fresh news angles to fulfill their Labor Day content needs.
And, because most organizations believe their news will be lost if there's no one around to read it, they delay any August announcements. Well, guess what most busy executives do at the pool, lake, or beach? They read the news.
That's why the dog days of August are my preferred time to announce news. And, it doesn't have to be cut-and-dry, run-of-the-mill news either. Be creative. With Labor Day coming up, here are five tips for doing just that:
1. Announce your organization's commitment (or renewed commitment) to the military.
Journalists are hungry for job-related stories. What better way to enter their consciousness than by announcing your firm's intention to hire returning veterans, help the veterans with interview skills or, at the very least, help them network within your local community. Your employees, customers, and vendors will love you for it (and the media will find a way to include your patriotism in their coverage).
2. Extend the first idea to your customers and prospects.
I guarantee many of your customers are either staffed by former military types, work with them or have an interest in helping returning veterans. Instead of just announcing your program, why not reach out to your entire supply chain and suggest you work together to help America's returning vets find jobs? The media are always looking for three or more spokespeople to quote in a feature story (so why can't those two or three be your key customers or prospects?). That's what I call a smart value-add.
3. Adopt a new charitable organization and suggest whatever money you've set aside for the organization be used to hire more staff.
Bingo, you're once again on the side of the angels and, because you've earmarked your contribution (no matter how small) to job creation, you'll be featured as a proactive, local business that's taking charge of America's jobs problem while also doing the right thing.
4. Issue a Labor Day wrap-up.
The country is laser-focused on jobs at the moment. And, that holds doubly true for the small business sector. So, regardless of how well your organization did or didn't perform over the first eight months of 2012, issue a press release. Even if you've been forced to cut costs, downsize or freeze wages, you can put a positive spin on things by saying you're doing all the right things to ride out the recession and intend to return as an even more formidable competitor when the long-awaited uptick finally materializes. These news briefs are exactly the type of fodder local, regional and trade journalists pine for, so draft a two-page release and send it around before August 31st.
5. Play the youth card.
I guarantee your business is surrounded by several high schools and community colleges. And, I'll bet many, if not all, feature young entrepreneur clubs. Issue a Labor Day press release announcing your firm's desire to partner with tomorrow's leaders. Invite high school and college kids to shadow you for a day, undertake a pro bono project that has legitimate business goals or, better yet, offer after-school internships. It's yet another feel-good story that local, regional and trade press will cover.
The only thing standing between you and breaking through the clutter is that margarita in your hand. Put it down, bang out a press release and send it to reporters now. The Labor Day publicity you generate just might produce a big, new customer in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
As co-founder and managing partner of Peppercomm, STEVE CODY is responsible for overall agency direction, management, and new business development. He is the author of What's Keeping Your Customers Up at Night? @RepManCody