A press release in August? Isn’t everyone on holiday?
It’s silly season – the time of year which frustrates journalists desperately trying to fill their pages with news in the absence of both government policy and news from CEOs who are more likely to be found sunning themselves in the Bahamas rather than making announcements about mass redundancies and ‘consolidation strategy’.
During the summer a dead lion can dominate the news for well over a week and an actual dogfight can make it into the Telegraph. From a PR perspective, it’s actually a great time for pitching press announcements, despite popular consensus.
Deciding whether to make an announcement during this time of year however does remain a tricky one – on the one hand there’s less competition to get the media’s attention, on the other the regular journalists you deal with are probably on holiday themselves as well as their readers and your spokesperson. Or at least, that’s the perception.
The reality is, with an average UK holiday allocation of 24-28 days and 65 working days across June, July and August, there are always going to be plenty of journalists not only present in the office, but sat in the newsroom with editors harassing them to create a story out of nothing. As an ex-journo, I am well aware of the mid-August panic of having four blank pages two days before deadline and if, as a PR, you can help them out in their hour of need it can do wonders for your relationship for the rest of the year.
Summer offers the opportunity to engage with influential freelancers ‘manning the desks’, get some good coverage and improve your reputation with key contacts who are not on holiday. Those lucky enough to have smaller publications to fill – or those missing an issue – suddenly have time to speak to PRs who have accidentally rang them at the worst possible time every week for the last six months. Even the grumpiest of journalists have been known to partake in some beer garden briefings in the summer sun or discuss creative potential story ideas.
This time of year is a great time for media relations, whether that’s getting some “news” out, building relationships or even seeding stories for the autumn, but is an opportunity often missed because many PRs assume ‘everything winds down’. Not everyone is on the beach, even if you think they are.