What should you be pitching to journalists during February? Whether you’re looking for last minute, short-lead or long-lead opportunities, it pays to stay ahead of the curve and consider key seasonal awareness dates, rising trends and reactive opportunities during these last few weeks of winter.
Now that we’ve navigated through the initial wave of ‘new year, new you’ angles and annual trend forecasts that make up the majority of ops and features for January, many other important milestones are coming up within the first quarter of 2021 consider. TeamEV’s Holly has pulled out her picks to help you navigate your PR plans for this month.
Whilst PR is a valuable tool for pretty much any business, it’s typically not one for ‘quick wins’ and is about investing time and effort into research, relationship-building and ongoing campaigns to build brand awareness. However, it does go hand-in-hand with social media and other facets of marketing, both digital and traditional. To help you stay on track and plan your content calendar for this month, we’ve rounded up some key dates for your diary:
KEY AWARENESS DAYS
5th – World Nutella Day
7th – Send a Card to a Friend Day
9th – National Pizza Day
14th – Valentine’s Day
16th – Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
17th – National Random Acts of Kindness Day
20th – Love Your Pet Day
LAST MINUTE PITCHES
Arguably, the most important and notable last-minute opportunity has to be Valentine’s Day (February 14th). Whether you fall under the hospitality and leisure sector or consumer and retail, there are still some opportunities to get your name out there!
The most popular pieces typically centre around gift guides, which are curated to inspire and suggest the perfect present to suit every taste. Make sure that when you’re directly pitching to journalists to include all of the essential information that they need to know before publication: include product or service descriptions, RRPs, ordering and purchasing information and cut-out product shots. Equally, if a journalist requires a physical sample for such an opportunity, ensure you’re ready to send it over to them.
EV’s Top Tip: Looking what may feel to be way ahead to 2022, try not to leave pitching for coverage until early February! For long lead titles, September and October 2021 will be the best time to begin pitching and December through to the first week of January for short lead.
SHORT LEAD VS LONG LEAD
Understanding the difference between long and short lead media and how to pitch accordingly is a topic we’ve already covered on EV Insight; but to keep it short and sweet, the key to differentiating between the two is in the name!
Traditionally, ‘Short Lead’ has a turnaround of about 6-8 weeks from pitching, editing and publishing whereas ‘Long Lead’ follows a much longer timescale of anywhere from 3 – 6 months. However, due to the impact of COVID and the rise of WFH culture and digital-only media, there is certainly more flexibility and scope for last-minute opportunities than ever before.
SHORT LEAD: FEBRUARY FOCUSES
They say that the future is female, and who are we to disagree? With that in mind, getting your PR house in order ahead of March is essential if you’re looking to achieve coverage for hugely important dates such as International Women’s Day (March 8th) or Mother’s Day (March 14th).
Whether you’re pitching comment pieces about the rise of female entrepreneurs or responding to #journorequests looking for inspirational women in the workplace, it’s best to start selling in now – yep, right now!
Likewise, if you want to get your product/service featured in a gift guide, listicle or influencer campaign, it’s best to line up your ducks whilst you still have over a month left to prepare and finalise any editorial details.
Example Short Lead Forward Features:
Good Housekeeping – ‘Bookshelf’: A page spread showcasing new hardbacks, paperbacks and e-books. Sections include Hot Reads and Book of the month. (Leadtime: ASAP – 3 months)
Closer – Shopping Pages: A full page of nine desirable objects of the week, including fashion, beauty, food & drink and home items. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: ASAP – up to 1 month in advance.)
House Beautiful – ‘Notebook’: The latest trends, buys and time-saving innovations for a different room each issue are showcased. (Leadtime: First week of the month)
LONG LEAD: FEBRUARY FOCUSES
On the other hand, it’s time to look further ahead than the current grey, wintery forecast and prepare to begin pitching for key opportunities that are later on in the year. This includes Father’s Day (June 20th): February and March are the ideal time to begin selling in your Father’s Day content to long lead press, and then subsequently, April and May for short lead.
Likewise, now is the time to get ahead of Summer trends and ‘must-have products’ for long lead titles. Depending on your business, that might look like pitching for ‘Top 10 places to enjoy brunch this summer’ listicles or submitting products for ‘Plastic-free July’ features that will be running throughout the month. Nevertheless, don’t forget that everything from feature briefs to submission deadlines is unlikely to be set in stone due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic; so just remember to be flexible and ready to adapt over the next few months!
Example Long Lead Forward Features:
Country Living – ‘Emporium’: A monthly article including multiple health and beauty products, with an emphasis on natural ingredients. (Leadtime: 3 – 4 months)
Homes & Gardens – Product Pages: A mixed product page featuring gardening products, as well as a ‘3 Of The Best’ section focusing on a specific product, e.g. Bird Feeders. (Leadtime: 3 – 4 months)
Esquire – Product Page (Technology): Several new gadgets are highlighted based on a particular theme, for example, office gadgets. (Leadtime: 4 – 5 months)
So, that’s your next few weeks sorted… head on over to @eastvillagepr and share with us how you get on! We want to see that coverage rolling in for you, and don’t forget to tap into even more hints and tips over on Pocket Sized PR!