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 Campaigns and Promotions

While meeting with a prospective client, we discussed a variety of marketing and public relations campaigns and tactics which his company has used in prior years. He had negative experiences with most of his prior public relations campaigns and felt that they did not achieve what he desired.

Additionally, he told me that his paid advertising didn’t work, that his Facebook posts did not gain any engagement, that he didn’t blog because his old website didn’t have an integrated blog. And he has not used Twitter because he didn’t see the point.

What went wrong?

In my opinion, he had not experienced success with any of these media because he had not planned an integrated campaign. An integrated public relations campaign begins with an idea that tells a story that is appealing to your customers. Successful integrated campaigns fit in every direction and are purpose built to meet the needs of the customer. Appealing campaigns exhibit high traction with customers.

What are the hallmarks of a public relations campaign that will achieve success?

Consider the classic public relations campaign one always hears about at Thanksgiving: The food drive. Food drives are much used because there is a win:win:win for all. The restaurant holding the food drive invites their customers to contribute food in lieu of payment for a service or product. For example, a restaurant holding a food drive accepts donations and provides an appetizer to diners ordering dinner. Diners win. And then the restaurant donates the collected canned goods to a food pantry which exists to provide food to those in need. The food pantry then uses that to help feed those who have food insecurity. The campaign gives everyone something they want and desire. And the fundamental goal of the campaign: feeding people, resonates with the core purpose of the restaurant: feeding people. It’s a neatly drawn circle that makes sense in every direction.

When you plan a campaign for your business, make sure it fits by following these tips:

  1. Your campaign must fit with your business’s DNA.
  2. You must do something that is beneficial for the community.
  3. Your customers must play a critical role in helping achieve success.
  4. Your campaign must be a natural fit for social media; engaging, sharable and generous.

Do you have examples of outstanding public relations campaigns that have benefitted the community? Do share them with us and tell us why you feel it was successful.

Photo credit: Flickr user y carmichaellibrary via creative commons attribution license. 

Ten low cost marketing and PR tactics that work

Tested Low Cost Marketing

Every small business owner faces the realization at some time in her history that she has more time than resources to market her business.

Not everyone can afford $5,000 a month for television advertising spot placement or $3,000 for a single-page ad in either their local lifestyle magazine or daily newspaper. So, what’s a cash-strapped, time-rich business owner to do? Our answer, use low cost marketing tactics that have worked for other business owners.

We asked small business owners to share their low cost marketing and public relations tactics that have been successful. We’ve selected these examples which include some time-tested tactics and some new-fangled ways to help promote and grow your business.

Social Media, Blogging and Online

    1. Jacqui Trotta, owner of a jewelry company based in Boston, relates how her company used Twitter to get attention. Jacqui said, “We use social media for branding and to generate sales. We held a ‘Twitter Trivia Treasure Hunt’ in which we dropped several clues on Twitter. Our followers sent in their responses and we did a random drawing and gave away gift certificates and a pearl necklace. Many of these people are now our followers and tend to shop when we offer promotions on our Twitter page.” Trotta says, “The winner of the necklace happened to be a blogger and did a write-up on the pearls on her blog. It went full-circle as being a Twitter success.”
    2. Michael Kaiser-Nyman, CEO & Founder, Impact Dialing, shared a time-tested tactic that works for him, “I get most of my publicity through guest blogging. I write interesting articles for other people’s blogs, and in return they provide links to my site.” In fact this has been so successful for Michael that he’s now retained the services of a professional writer to help him sustain this tactic.
    3. Ian Edwards of Arcadia NYC says the brand has earned awareness and inclusion by “developing content around our core issues.” “We’ve built our social media network with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and a blog. We have put a small budget toward Facebook ads that have, so far, expanded our followers by 30 percent.”

Bonuses, Samples and Special Offers

All customers like “free,” that’s why food products makers offer tastes of their products. In the restaurant business, when you do a promotion, the goal is to get your restaurant’s food in the mouths of prospective guests. The same tactic is used by business owners in other industries.

  1. Izzy Goodman, CEO of Complete Computer Services employs a tactic that is as old as business itself—the bonus. Goodman relates, “After a number of wasted campaigns, we now spend no money on advertising or pay-per-click. Instead, all our marketing budget is spent on our customers. The results have paid off.” Goodman’s offers fall into the category I call, “with six, you get eggroll,” allowing users who purchase in quantity to gain additional product for free. He may just be the master of this tactic as he tells us, he offers bonuses that include: “A) Referral bonus: Referrals from another customer earn both you and that customer a free cartridge. B) Repeat customer bonus: a returning customer who buys ten or more cartridges gets a free one. C) Double-and-free: We sell ink cartridges by the pack. Each time you double, you get a free cartridge. D) Non credit card discount: If you save us the credit card fee, we pass it back to you. Pay via PayPal, bank account, check or money order, get a free cartridge. E) Secret discount: Subscribers to our monthly newsletter get a secret discount code which reduces the price even further.”
  2. Lara White, Founder of Photomint puts a spin on free. She tells us what works for her, “I run a photography studio, and one of the things we have done that has been extremely successful to market our services inexpensively is to submit our photos for editorial features in local, national and international publications where our potential clients might see them. We do this about 1/2 dozen times per year and the only cost involved is packaging and time. From these efforts, we have secured coverage in food magazines in France, a wedding magazine in China, a British cake magazine and many other places in both print and online. We have been able to book many new clients based on this, ‘free publicity’ which exposes our work to a much wider audience and builds huge credibility.” So, publications get great content, without having to pay for it, and White gets earned media. This may work for some publications, just check to see if they accept non-solicited work for their publications.

Old-Fashioned Ideas Still Work

While there are many new ways to connect online, there are just as many ideas that are not new, and which are activities that have worked well for generations. While some may be helped along by new technology, the ideas themselves are ones generations of business owners before us will recognize.

  1. Kathy Paauw a business coach at Paauw Enterprises, Inc., tells us that she uses SendOutCards to regularly keep in touch with her prospects and her clients. She uses the service to organize and send pre-scheduled birthday cards to customers and “keeping in touch” messages to prospective customers.
  2. Sabina Les owner of a fashion accessories brand based in New York, NY, sends pitches to publications to gain earned media. She says, “My most successful PR tactics were writing short and the point emails, providing nice images within emails, pitching to magazine editors individually once a month.”
  3. Ian Edwards of Arcadia NYC also builds relationships with organizations whose causes fit the brand. They “have built strategic alliances with groups like the NY Fair Trade Coalition, hosting a very successful event to support fair trade fashion and accessories at our store in March.”

New Ideas Whose Time Has Come

Trends and new technology support these ideas that in essence aren’t’ new, but which rely on new tech to help them succeed.

  1. Felecia Scott of Wild Beauty has used the “pop up shop” trend to gain visibility in Los Angeles. Scott whose beauty products are based on family secrets, made her own chalkboard, and goes on location to sell her beauty remedies, not unlike people did more than a century ago.
  2. Alex Schiff, CEO and Co-founder Fetchnotes uses HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to gain inclusion in publications and online media outlets. Alex notes, “Best of all, the campaign just took my own time, so I didn’t have to outlay any cash on it.”

So, there you have it, ten low cost ways to promote your business—from actual business owners. You have no more excuses or lack of ideas to grow your business.

What other ways have you used that have not cost your business much more than your time and energy?