PR Important Dates and Holidays

This article originally appeared on our blog in 2008. We’ve updated it with the information and examples of how you can use holidays, national observance days and more in your marketing and PR strategy.

Keep up with annual holidays which may impact plans for your company’s public relations and marketing.

Annual holidays and observances are natural PR hooks

PR pros plan our client’s calendars, social media strategy and other activities around holidays and important remembrance events. We also utilize important anniversaries as hooks for our client’s PR messaging. Contests and promotions can be built around holidays and observances. Read our article on contests and promotions

For years there have been Labor Day sales, Columbus Day sales and other types of promotional events tied to government holidays. When many people are off work they look for activity and shopping has always been something people do when they have a block of time. Though with the advent of online shopping’s explosion, new holidays like Prime Day have been concocted to drive online shopping into targeted channels.

American Express® defined Small Business Saturday to encourage and recognize the predominant form of US business — small businesses — and the resulting adoption of this single day has driven many campaigns across the United States.

Don’t overlook significant corporate anniversaries

If your business has been operating for a long time, say 100 years, and you’re coming up on that significant anniversary (or even 50 years) developing a pitch for the media or sending a media release about how the firm has reached this unusual mark could potentially land you some really cool mentions.

Using this same example, you could build an entire month of social media strategy around the number 100, recognizing your best 100 clients; or giving prizes to 100 customers across the course of the month. Brainstorm with your team to develop ideas on how to recognize and honor those that helped achieve longevity in business.

Here’s a link to the calendar of American Holidays as recognized by the US government, but these are only the ones recognized by government. 

Wacky holidays, national observances can used in your marketing

For example, July is national ice cream month. When planning your social media calendar or your marketing plan for the month, you can use this as well as other unusual observances in your content strategy. Find a way to tie them in with promotions and ads to piggyback on buzz which is being created across social media related to the observance. Don’t forget to use the official hashtags in your posts.

Time and Date provides a very long list of all kinds of unusual holidays. has been around a long time and I’ve referred to their list for years. 

You will also want to check your local events and holidays as well. Is there a significant date in the history of your town? Or how about an important event that is associated with your town?

In the Charleston area in August, many people remember the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. That tragic storm gets people talking: about hurricane preparedness, the storm’s impact on their lives and structural soundness of buildings and much more. If you’re a home builder or building supplies provider, you could build a very informative educational campaign around the lessons learned about being prepared by interviewing locals, getting insights into what’s different in the building codes and more that could be used in blog posts, social media activity and in-store promotions.

Using Google My Business you can keep the public informed about your openings and closures around legal holidays such as New Years Day, Memorial Day and all the legally recognized holidays. Google My Business even prompts you to update your hours in the weeks prior to an important holiday. 

Let your messages be informed by date driven PR

With creativity you can have fun and grow your business and even gain some new media attention.

Need assistance planning your marketing strategy to tie in with holidays? Give us a call at 843.628.6434 or use our contact form to get in touch.

Photo by Tobias Zils on Unsplash

Public relations is not what Samantha Jones does

Getting attention, driving awareness

It’s a common need. A business wants attention for their products or services. They want to heighten awareness and drive potential leads, and future sales. A public relations firm is the go-to partner to increase recognition. That’s what we do best.

Recently, I got a call from a business owner who was interested in engaging our public relations company to turn-out people to an upcoming event. After a conversation about the event and the goals for the event, we declined the project.

Right about now you’re probably saying, “Yeah, that was dumb. Turning down a paying client!” But it wasn’t dumb and here’s why.

Is it different? Interesting?

The event was not to announce a multi-million dollar investment in the firm, nor was it to share a ground-breaking new technology, nor was it to announce a shift in the business or a new partnership. It was to celebrate the launch of a website. The business owner was seeking a PR firm to turn out a group of A-listers to the event.

Now these days a business website is hardly news. Heck, everyone is expected to have a business website (yet almost half of small businesses do not.) Yes, many make announcements about their new sites in trade industry news, local business e-news, or on their own websites. Heck, we even did that ourselves. I have no problem with making an announcement, what I have a problem with is the expectation that our firm has a list of powerful people who, on our say-so, will come out for a ho-hum reason.

Had the business owner been open to it, we could have used our creativity to design a hook to increase awareness, like an attempt to break a Guinness Record, or raise significant bank for a cause-related nonprofit. But that’s not what the business owner was interested in doing.

Lots of business owners have a misunderstanding about what a PR firm does. I put it all on Samantha, the Sex and the City character who is the most recognized public PR person out there. In many episodes, she’s seen bringing VIPs to events and getting publicity. It’s really easy to understand exactly how the stereotype of what PR firm does got set in people’s minds.

PR firms have connections

PR people help shape the news. We have relationships with media. We pitch stories to our media colleagues when we have information that fits their news organization’s focus. We have memberships in local groups. We develop relationships with all kinds of people. But — and this is a big but — we do not abuse our relationships. Send a bad story idea, or a hackneyed news release and I’m likely to get black-balled by my media contacts who will never open my email again. Invite people to a mundane event that they are not interested in, and they’ll never turn out again for something we invite them to.

What will make people get on up–offa that thing?

According to Peter Shankman, author, entrepreneur, corporate keynote speaker, and developer of HARO, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc.,  “Great PR events don’t feel like PR events. They provide valuable information and insights, while avoiding the desperation that envelopes so many similar events.”

If you’re planning an event, make it different. Make it intriguing. Make it stand-out. Tie it to your brand bringing to life what your business does.

When our client Kolter Homes wanted to introduce their new home designs at The Ponds, we planned a day of activities to allow people to sample the water-based lifestyle on offer at the new home community — complete with paddle boarding instruction and trials, fishing and kayaking.

A few years ago when one of our homebuilder clients wanted to promote their waterfront  inventory homes, we partnered with a boat sales company to include a new boat in the purchase of a new home in the community.

When a new auto repair services business opened, we created an all day event with a vintage car show and a number of car related activities that led to an all day flood of people coming to the business location.

In each of these instances, people came because they wanted to be there. They wanted to experience what was happening. And what was happening was a tied to critical elements of the business.

Event focused PR that works

If you hire a public relations firm who tells you that they can get a group of A-listers out to your event simply to eat your food and swill your drinks, run. You’re getting bamboozled.

Event focused PR tactics work because they allow people to experience your brand. They are a staple in the strategy of most PR firms. So party on, but realize that there must be more than free drinks and noshes to raise awareness of your business.


Events Provide Great Exposure, Must Be Significant Part of Your Public Relations Plan

What can your small business do to create newsfeed worthy events?

Events must be a significant component in any small businesses public relations plan. When joined with social media companies and brands may earn (social) media placement. Target’s recent #SummerGlowSalon event in New York’s Flatiron Plaza created awareness and got thousands of social mentions. The brand made news and trended. By creating their own news, they went directly to their consumers.

A new report from Vocus observes,

Events provide an interesting context. While events are a traditional tactic, they continue to be extremely worthwhile endeavors for both traditional and digital PR professionals. Seventy nine percent of PR, marketing and advertising agencies and 58 percent of nonprofit respondents surveyed rated events as successful distribution channels.

People can rally around live events. Photos, discussions and speeches provide fodder for online communication. Hashtags allow attendees to follow conversations and trends, and let PR professionals measure impressions, engagement and reach. Follow-up emails turn attendees and stakeholders into  potential customers whose relationships can be nurtured through targeted and traditional marketing.

When planning social media worth events, consider your customers. Design the event to appeal to those who use social media. Create moments which have oomph for Instagram, re-tweetable quotes for Twitter and visually rich environments which compel guests to photograph and pin set-ups to Pinterest.

Have a specific goal or goals for the event. Identify the experience you want to create, the feelings you want attendees to experience, the stories you want them to take away.

Engage with your social media followers in the days leading up to your event to increase awareness of the event and the official hashtags. Remember when selecting your hashtags, you will want to be sure no one else is using that hashtag.

Consider delegating “reporter” duties to a staff member who can photograph, and capture content and to help make sure there is content streaming into newsfeeds.

Broadcast at the event by having screens with live feeds of event hashtags, photos and more. Services like Snapcastr allow you to bring everyone’s news feed into the event as an element.


The eyes have it—and experience events first

Don’t stint on your environment. Flowers, props and podiums will all find their way into the news feeds of attendees and their friends. Give them photo-worthy eventscapes to share. In Charleston, Mitchell Crosby of JMC Charleston worked with our public relations client Susan Hull Walker of  Ibu Movement to create a luxe pop-up shop which set exactly the right tone for Ibu’s astonishing wares and wearables (see photo above).

Be engaging, not boring

Limit traditionally boring things like speeches. Instead, think theater, creating moments which not only entertain, but transmit essential brand messages.

Ribbon cuttings and Grand Openings are an old-fashioned tactic that still get eyeballs, but amping them up with unique opening activities provides memorable experiences.

When planning an auto service company grand opening, we staged a classic car show on the company lot, bringing in many enthusiasts to see amazing cars. And of course, they learned the location of the business in the process.

Put your imagination to work and you may be amazed with the creative ways to bring attention to your brand you dream up.

Having trouble dreaming up interesting events? Call us, we’re here to brainstorm and plan. And we’ll help you assemble a team to stage an incredible event.