WHAT TO PITCH IN JANUARY

Hello to 2022, and a very Happy New Year to all of you. As we enter, yet *another* year of uncertainty regarding the course of the pandemic, it is natural to feel apprehensive about the future and what lies ahead for your brand. However, January offers the perfect opportunity to get your ducks in a row for the next 12 months by strategising, planning and getting a head start on securing valuable press coverage for your business and consequently boosting your regional and national brand awareness. Our PR & Communications Trainee, George, is back once again with all the events and opportunities to pitch for the month ahead and beyond: we hope it proves helpful!

KEY AWARENESS DATES

January 16th – Religious Freedom Day
January 17th – Blue Monday
January 25th – Burns Night
January 28th – Global Community Engagement Day

LAST MINUTE COVERAGE

Our last minute coverage recommendation for January is Veganuary. The annual diet-changing challenge was first established back in 2014 and has since snowballed into a popular national trend with 400,000 participants pledging to go vegan in 2020 alone. Retailers are clamouring over themselves to get a slice of the now highly lucrative vegan market with supermarkets releasing new extensive lines of free-from foods, specially stocked for the month. If you’re a vegan or free-from/alternative food brand, then now is truly your time to shine. There’s already been a big spike this month – as expected – in journalists requesting material on healthy eating, conscious dieting and sustainable living, so do keep an eye out on Twitter for relevant #journorequests.

Likewise, if you work in hospitality, now might just be the time to welcome in a fresh new customer base with a last minute Veganuary stunt that is sure to hit the headlines. From Dominos releasing a vegan version of its classic pepperoni pizza to Costa unveiling a plant-based bakery line, household brands are proving the undeniable value of going over and beyond to be more accommodating to different dietary requirements. In February, we obviously have Valentines Day on the 14, which is conventionally a prime time for product guides and service listicles, so make sure you’re also sending out those line sheets to publications.

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

Our short-lead recommendation for this month is, of course, Mothers Day. It’s an obvious choice, but a highly profitable one: Mothering Sunday sales were reportedly worth a staggering £1 billion in 2019 alone. Whether you’re a restaurant or bar that is doing a ‘Mums Eat Free’ stunt or a beauty brand that has a skincare line tailored for mature women- now is truly the time to start securing that coverage. As always, be creative and think outside the box! Pulling off an engaging and innovative PR stunt is a sure way to hit the headlines. In the past, we’ve seen big brands conduct some compelling stunts on Mothers Day, including US airliner JetBlue giving each passenger on a special flight a 25% food discount every time a child cried (to ease the strain on mothers) and online gift retailer notonthehighstreet.com commissioning a selfie of the Royal family enjoying Mothering Sunday, except it was fake and modelled with lookalikes. So, don’t be afraid to do something different, it can really increase the chance of gaining virality and coverage for your brand.

Example Short Lead Forward Features: 

The Guardian– ‘How We Made…’– Profile Page: Spotlight piece on two artists who talk through their collective creative process on a particular project (Leadtime: Weekly)

Take a Break– ‘Beauty Page’–:A product page focused on budget beauty buys (Leadtime: 2 month in advance)

Time Out London–‘Restaurant Reviews’: Reviews of new restaurants and bars in the London area. (Leadtime: Weekly)

LONG-LEAD

Looking further ahead to the spring, there are a plethora of pivotal dates to gain coverage. Is your business hoping to appeal to families or planning a children’s event? If so, Easter half-term will undoubtedly be a key date for your diary. National and regional titles will usually publish listicle activity guides of ‘fun things to do’ ahead of the scholastic break, so make sure you’re pitching in early for a place. Later on in May, Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from the 9th to 15th and it is a great opportunity to publicise any of your business’ charity or employee wellbeing schemes and resources. This year’s selected topic is loneliness, so perhaps ask yourself what are you doing to combat isolation in your team and wider local community? And how could you effectively angle these support systems in a newsworthy pitch to secure coverage?


Example Long Lead Forward Features: 

Country Living– ‘Health and Beauty’–Product Page: A product page centred on different health and beauty products. (Leadtime: 4 months
in advance)

Red– ‘If You Only Work One Trend This Month’–Product Page: A fashion product spread that is focused on a specific trend (Leadtime: 5 months in advance)

Cosmopolitan–‘The Look Book’ – Product Page: A multiple page feature centred on a particular theme with accompanying items. (Leadtime: 4 months)

So, that’s January mapped out for you… head on over to @eastvillagepr and share with us how you get on!

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