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National Observances – How Relevant Are They in PR & Marketing?

Tis always the season — and day, week or month — for a national observance, but PR and marketing pros should choose wisely when tying content to that calendar

The first Mental Health Month coming out of a pandemic takes on even greater topicality. But May also brings us National Chocolate Custard Day and Lost Sock Memorial Day. Let’s face it, some national observances offer a PR-marketing opportunity, while others are merely Facebook fodder. The question for industry professionals is: how much mileage can we get out of national observances from a PR/marketing perspective?

The following are some do’s and don’ts to consider …

Do make sure your company and/or philanthropic event is tied to the national observance in some way, so messaging is properly aligned. For example, if you are a staffing company, you will want to pay attention to National Career Month in November and work to plan a philanthropic, charitable and/or local event focused on helping people with career training or obtaining jobs. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to grow as a priority among consumers and likely your customers as well. Company actions reflecting strong social and/or environmental values and priorities can elevate your image and as a result your bottom line.

Don’t expect national reporters to care much about this type of calendar-connected content (in most cases). That means refraining from doing a press release about a national observance. Remember there’s a worse fate than your press release being ignored; an irrelevant one can hurt your future credibility with media outlets, making it even more difficult to get their attention when you really have news to report.

Do consider local media. By all means notify the local news media when your company is organizing a charity event or actively supporting some other type of philanthropic endeavor associated with a nationally observed day, week or month. Local media are especially interested in human interest stories like this if you have the people involved willing to talk to the media and even better if there is a visual tied to it such as a large event.

Do pay extra attention to national observances that are meaningful to your audience. For example, a healthcare company targeting healthcare professionals will want to create a campaign around National Nurses Week (also in May). That could include a series of interviews with nurses via an article or video. Also, industry associations will be planning events for the national remembrance as well, which could mean speaking, sponsorship or other opportunities for your company.

Do write a blog about the occasion and leverage social media. When writing a blog, be sure and embed key words for SEO and support the piece with a series of social media posts through the week or month. Social media is an ideal place for publicizing national observances. For example, National Pet Day could involve your company posting a series of staff pics on Instagram and Twitter with their pets. Making it about the people versus a company is a fresh, personal approach to boost engagement, in addition to everybody’s four-legged favorites.

Don’t leave out the right hashtags. Do your homework ahead of time and see what hashtags were used last year for that monthly or weekly observance. And don’t be afraid to create a new one. Use several so you will be part of the trending conversation and can be found. You can really boost your awareness and visibility on social media using the right hashtags.

Do plan ahead. Any PR-marketing program requires advanced, detailed planning, and developing a campaign tied to a national observance is no different. Considering these observances are known well in advance, planning content around it ahead of time will pay off big in the end. The fall is a good time to plan for the upcoming year, including creating a master list, allocating team resources, devising tactics and more.

Don’t wait too long. Rolling out your content mid- or late month is too late as the ‘trending’ potential of a monthly observance will fade the longer you wait. Push out your content first week of the month when a national observance hits (second week of the month latest).

PR and marketing pros strive for relevance and connection, from a pitch that fits with an editor’s focus to e-blasts and social posts that capture the attention of a company’s target audience. National observances can seem appropriate picks for a company’s program since we all adhere to the calendar, but they can also muddy the marketing water if not curated, planned and executed well. Remember the above tips and, as always, create quality content that resonates with your audience.

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Lacey Trejo

Lacey Trejo Public Relations (LTPR) is a boutique PR consulting firm founded by Lacey Trejo, a senior-level PR professional with 15 years of experience. LTPR’s mission is to drive widespread visibility and strong ROI on behalf of various clientele.

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