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Why the PR show must go on despite the summer shutdown!

The never-ending Brexit debacle; the plight of Theresa May and the battle to succeed her as Prime Minister; the fractious diplomatic situation developing with Iran; “the wacky ambassador from the UK”; and BoJo in Number 10, are some of the stories that have dominated the news agenda in recent times. One thing they all have in common? Politics.

Like it or not, politics is a central component of the news we read, watch and listen to on a daily basis. It’s woven into our day-to-day lives in the things we discuss at home, in the pub and in the workplace.

Without it, we might find ourselves with scarcely anything to talk about…

Although I state this with tongue firmly lodged in cheek, there is no denying that a large portion of our news stems from politics. Yet, while the nation’s policymakers take what is essentially a summer holiday during the six-week Parliamentary recess, the media machine keeps on rolling. It is during this period that PR practitioners really earn our keep and demonstrate our worth as media experts and storytellers.

Maintain visibility to optimise campaign performance

The summer recess has traditionally heralded a quiet period for media relations. The break also coincides with the school holidays in the UK, so it tends to be slower on the news front, with some journalists opting to take the opportunity for a few well-earned days’ rest. However, despite the absence of our politicians, and some of our national journalists, newspapers continue to be printed and articles continue to be posted online.

That said, there is definitely a lull in media activity during the interim period between sessions of Parliament, and it is the role of PRs to ensure campaigns continue to perform during these periods.

Drive thought leadership around the clock

Fortunately, modern journalism no longer adheres to the traditional news cycle, and media relations doesn’t mean solely vying for the attention of the national newspapers or broadcasters. Today, there is a wealth of influencers operating in national and trade media, online, in print, via social media, and on a freelance basis who practise journalism in a way that doesn’t adhere to the conventional cycle. There is news 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Away from ‘hard-news’, contributed articles – providing opinion on issues in your industry – also deliver significant value to a PR campaign. Setting up briefings, either by phone of face-to-face, should also be considered as part of a summer PR campaign, during which time some journalists will have slightly more time on their hands to get to know sources on their beat. PR campaigns should take into account these periods of potentially slower news cycles, which create the perfect opportunity for perspective-led thought leadership, and the ideal opportunity for clients to drive the news agenda in their sector.

Some of the media may down tools during the summer months, but PR shouldn’t stop! Integrated, multi-channel campaigns require the modern PR professional to continually develop content, working with graphic designers, photographers, videographers and market research companies, to refine messaging ahead of the busy autumn months.

Take advantage of issues of national interest

With Brexit and politics under the media microscope, there’s also scope with summer PR campaigns to develop messaging and unique viewpoints around issues of national interest. Brexit has given rise to a host of economic stories across a variety of sectors, from automotive to construction, utilities to manufacturing. This interest presents an opportunity for businesses to form valuable opinions, which journalists can use to inform their articles as the never-ending Brexit story continues to take up column inches throughout the summer and into the autumn. This is especially true with the appointment of the new Prime Minster.

The Parlamentary shutdown is known as the ‘silly season’, a period when serious news media are overtaken by the frivolous and inconsequential. Unless it has real relevance to your business, don’t be caught up in summer silliness: animal stories and random surveys… I think not! There’s still a huge amount of proactive PR work that can be done during the quieter summer months. If you’re keen to kick off your company’s PR campaign this summer, get in touch!

Written by

Senior Campaign Director

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