What’s the right approach to pro-active PR over the summer?

Posted by on 30th August 2019 / 0 comments

The question of whether to embark on any pro-active PR over the summer is something that I ponder most years. I generally tell clients that unless there is a really compelling reason to launch a major campaign or news announcement in August, then they would be well-advised to wait until September.

But am I missing a trick here, should PRs embark on pro-active PR in August and is not doing so a missed opportunity for PRs and their clients?  

Adios, silly season

Most PR consultants would probably agree that the days of the silly season are long gone. Pushing out lighter stories or stories that they do not want too much attention drawn to, is far less common in today’s media landscape.

But it’s still rare to see companies make any significant announcements in August, with common assumptions being that journalists and target audiences are either away or less than fully focused.

Yet both print circulations and daily average unique browsers for UK news websites do not drastically drop in August. The UK doesn’t shut down in the way that countries such as Norway and France do during August, so why the general reluctance to embrace pro-active PR in August?

A legacy approach to summer PR

My hunch would be that it is a legacy behaviour, left over from previous generations of PRs and one that has been passed down through agencies and teams over the years. The idea of a media slow-down just doesn’t fit with the news cycle in 2019. Influencers are becoming as important as the traditional newsroom and they don’t necessarily take a complete holiday either.

Not only is there an almost insatiable demand for new content, irrespective of the time of year, the way people consume news has changed as well. With tablet and smart phone saturation the way it is, combined with ever available wi-fi, people are reading and engaging with news all the time, even if they are on holiday.

Being unable to get a newspaper in some far-flung destination on the other side of the world is no barrier to someone reading the news, so maybe it’s time to revisit approaches to pro-active PR in August?

Making use of August

That said, possibly because I am somewhat of an old hand at this PR game, I still feel that August is best used in other ways. The summer provides lots of opportunities for back-to-school and university stories and August is the best month for managing those with all but the longest lead publications.

In the world of tech PR, many of the calendar’s biggest events such as IFA take place in September, so August is a critical month in terms of planning and preparation. That’s how I perceive the month – a chance to catch your breath and get ready for the rest of the year, but without going hell for leather in terms of bringing stories to the media.

So on balance I think I will continue with my ‘no major stories in August’ policy. But I could be convinced otherwise – I would love to know if others have a different take on this.

Tagged: PR summer campaigns media

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