The Lean Marketer Blog

Defy Convention: PR Timing

Conventional wisdom: the whole world goes away in August; there’s no point in making any PR announcements or scheduling any business meetings. I hear that all the time, and then just this week, I noticed this tweet in my stream:

Remember – not everyone goes away at the same time. Some people are still at their laptops, doing the hard work of cranking out the articles we look forward to reading on our various electronic devices as we sit by the pool, over breakfast, or even at our desks, occasionally :).

Its often easier to gain journalists’ attention if you pitch during “off” times. Journalists like this one who tweeted are hungry for stories, since fewer people overall are sending them announcements or story ideas.

Being based in Israel, we are often working while the rest of the world seems to be on break. This can have its advantages. I still vividly recall one rainy December, during that twilit week between Christmas and New Years when it seems as if the whole world is off skiing. I was head of global marketing for Commtouch, and a massive storm of viruses started pounding the Internet. We quickly put together a brief news alert and emailed it to several of our key media contacts, offering to connect them to a knowledgeable executive for an interview. In parallel, we drafted a blog post containing more data about the outbreak, so the journalists could link back to our blog if and when they decided to write the story.  (hint: these types of links are great for SEO and lead generation)

The timing of the year, plus the fact that Israel is 7 hours ahead of New York time — and of course the company’s amazing team of malware analysts who provided valuable data — were strong contributors to the fact that we were the lead source quoted in every publication (and the sole source in many), outpacing even industry gorillas like Symantec and McAfee who are usually the go-to guys for these kinds of articles.

Interestingly, at some of the magazines, our “usual” contacts actually were on vacation. But the people replacing them on the news desks were eager for valuable content, and they were open to hearing what we had to say since we’d built up our credibility with their colleagues over the previous months. This had the double benefit of helping introduce us to other relevant journalists for possible future stories.

Breaking news or even just a story idea doesn’t have to take the form of a formal press announcement. You know, the kind that goes through umpteen revisions and approvals all the way up the executive ladder. Especially in the dog days of summer — or the snowy winter holidays — reach out informally to some of your media contacts via email, twitter, even the phone, and you might be surprised at the receptive writer you find on the other end of the line.

Have you achieved PR success with unconventional timing, or defying convention in other ways? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image credit: phyxiusone

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