September 29, 2016

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

How to get better PR from recognition holidays like National Grilled Cheese Month

How to get better PR from recognition holidays like National Grilled Cheese Month

According to the Holiday Insights website, April is the following:

  • National Humor Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • Keep America Beautiful Month
  • Lawn and Garden Month
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month
  • Records and Information Management Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month

It also sees the celebration of Library Week, Road Map Week, Garden Week, and, help us all—National Karaoke Week.

There are also dozens of food-related “holidays” across every month—April is National Grilled Cheese Month and National Soft Pretzel Month.

We’ve all seen coverage sprinkled across social media platforms celebrating Days we never realized existed: National Donut Day (Friday, June 3), National Coffee Day (Thursday, September 29—why aren’t these two closer together??), and more.

Some of these days commemorate something fun; others encourage recognition of serious topics and disorders. Many of the campaigns connected to them do well in raising awareness on issues—but some topics are more likely than others to be covered by traditional media—and, on the other side of the coin, some are more likely to take hold and get spread on social channels.

If you’re considering incorporating the recognition of one of these days into a public relations program, you can use media monitoring to help improve your odds of being covered. Media monitoring is a great way to find the journalists who cover issues that are highlighted by many of these recognition days, and it’s also a way to discover which publications and blogs are most likely to report on them too.

There are a few ways to approach this task using a media monitoring service. First, if you’re really planning ahead, you can set up keywords to track the exact day you are considering, review the coverage and then pitch the publications that covered the issue—but this means waiting a full year.

Or, if you haven’t planned everything out more than a year in advance, you can still use media monitoring effectively by looking for related topics. For example, if you are cookie maker who hopes to capitalize on one of these days to promote your walnut cookies on National Walnut Day (Tuesday, May 17), try setting your media monitoring to see who is covering National Pecan Month. There is bound to be some overlap, so use monitoring to discover which blogs and publications make the most sense.

You can also use media monitoring to find related days that might work well for a “partnering” pitch. Given my inability to carry a tune with a bucket (seriously, I can clear a room singing Happy Birthday), I think anyone in my company would be willing to entertain a pitch from an earplug manufacturer, or someone who makes noise-cancelling headphones, during National Karaoke Week.

Journalists and bloggers do seem to enjoy covering these National Recognition holidays. When they are for fun topics, these stories provide a break and light coverage that does garner the clicks and shares they are after. When they are for more serious topics, like rare diseases, or autism or epilepsy, they shed light on issues that aren’t generally covered during regular media coverage—it gives news organizations a reason to cover subjects that deserve more attention than they typically receive.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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