Summertime – and the pitching is easy

Posted by Garfield

With school ending, temperatures climbing and thoughts of vacations dancing in the heads of many, most companies put their public relations program on the back burner, which isn’t necessarily the right thing to do.

The reason is simple – everyone else is thinking the same way, so it pays here to be counterintuitive. Zig when everyone else is zagging.

Less major news tends to happen in the summer. Why else does everyone run stories about it being hot outside (it’s supposed to be hot which, by definition, means it’s not news)?

Even though there’s less news, reporters, editors and other media types still have the same amount of time or space to fill, which means the bar for what qualifies for coverage sometimes is lower. And that means you might get coverage you otherwise wouldn’t receive in November or March.

Of course, a company still can’t put out any old fluff and expect to receive coverage: There has to be some sort of newsworthy hook. And don’t just think big, as smaller media outlets especially are scrambling to fill space and might lend a sympathetic ear.

Keep pitches light and emphasize fun. If possible, tie a pitch to July 4th, vacations, baseball, barbecuing, the beach or any other summer mainstay.

For more serious topics, try to tie the pitch to a current trend.

As always, follow the regular rules of good pitching. Keep your pitches short, but be creative. Pitch the appropriate journalist. Don’t make a pest of yourself. And don’t overpromise or fall prey to hyperbole – that battle of the bands featuring high school performers will not be on par with the Made in America Festival or Beyoncé and Jay Z.

One caveat: Avoid pitching on Fridays and the last two weeks of August. Like you, journalists enjoy the weekends and are looking to get out of office as early as possible on a Friday; a pitch made on a Friday likely won’t be seen until Monday, if it’s seen at all. As for the last two weeks of August, everyone’s on vacation. You should be too.