As we move out of the winter months and the worst of ‘hard’ lockdown measures, there’s definitely a stronger sense of hope and excitement in the air as more PR opportunities centred around the prospective return to ‘normality’ are appearing via social, digital and print media channels. To help you stay on top of this shift in attitude, TeamEV’s Holly has pulled together her round-up of what to pitch this month.
Not to be that person, but can you believe it’s already March?! As we approach the spring, it’s time to jump into action and stay ahead of both short-lead and long-lead opportunities scheduled for the coming months. The competition is about to get much fiercer with the scheduled reopening of non-essential retail, leisure, beauty and hospitality on the horizon, so it’s even more importance to have a plan of action!
We know that working with a PR agency isn’t quite right for everyone so, through Pocket Sized PR, we offer a host of free resources to help you hit the headlines and nail the press coverage that’s going to get your brand in front of the right people and generate those all-important sales.
KEY AWARENESS DAYS
Some key dates for your diary this month:
4th – World Book Day
7th – Plant Power Day
8th – International Women’s Day
14th – Mother’s Day
17th – St Patrick’s Day
19th – Red Nose Day
20th – Spring Equinox / International Day of Happiness
27th – International Whisky Day
28th – Clocks go forwards (BST)
LAST MINUTE PITCHES
Arguably, the two most important and notable last-minute opportunities this month are International Women’s Day (March 8th) and Mother’s Day (March 14th). From gift guides to profile opportunities, there will be some late opportunities still out there, for both brands and founders.
International Women’s Day is a popular, and very competitive, pitch angle so make sure that you tailor your emails to stand out. To appeal to journalists, you can’t simply pitch that you work with or alongside women and that you’d like to shout about that, they will be looking for something meatier. Whether it’s impressive sales records, high profile investments, bucking mainstream trends, or overcoming adversity with a heart-wrenching story, you need to tailor your pitch to suit the angle that will work best for them.
For Mother’s Day, gift guides and product pages tend to be the most popular options for press. Make sure that when you’re directly pitching to journalists to include all of the essential information that they need to know before publication: including product or service descriptions, RRPs, ordering and purchasing information. As well as cut-out product shots and high-res lifestyle imagery provided via a downloadable link, like Dropbox. Equally, if a journalist requires a physical sample for in-house photography or testing, ensure you’re ready to send it over to them.
EV’s Top Tip: Want to get ahead of next year’s crowd for these dates? For long lead titles, October and November 2021 will be the best time to begin pitching and December through to the first week of January for the (less reactive) short lead ops.
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: MARCH FOCUSES
Brighter days are on the horizon: and we don’t just mean the weather or the clocks going forward! With the government now issuing a roadmap of key dates that will help us navigate the return to the ‘new normal’, there are plenty of things to look forward to. With that in mind, it’s best to prepare for feel-good short-lead and reactive ops that will begin popping up over the next few weeks.
If you’re planning a quirky stunt for April Fool’s (April 1st) or family-fun for the Easter bank holiday (April 2nd – 5th), it’s time to get the wheels turning and to begin pitching to your target audiences and outlets.
Looking slightly further ahead, there are also plenty of seasonal and wellbeing-focused dates approaching shortly. With the conversation around mental health becoming even more vocal due to the impact of the pandemic, if you’re working with a charity or non-profit, then it’ll pay to be prepared for several upcoming dates such as Stress Awareness Month (April 2021), Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18th – 23rd) and World Meditation Day (May 21st).
From a more product-focused perspective, the onset of National Vegetarian Week (11th – 16th May) and National BBQ Week (25th – 30th May) are great short-lead opportunities to pitch for trade and consumer product pages, gift guides and listicles this month.
Example Short Lead Forward Features:
Grazia – ‘Fashion Charts’ – Product pages: Two pages featuring the 10 top fashion items of the week. With descriptions, prices and stockists. (Leadtime: 2 weeks – 2 months)
Men’s Health – ‘Insight’ – Product Pages: Four-page feature of interesting lifestyle goods. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: 2 -3 months in advance.)
Sunday Times Magazine – Wine & Food product pages: Columnist Will Lyons reviews different wine / drink product with a weekly theme. Includes individual image of the product, price and retailer. (Leadtime: ASAP. Weekly editorial deadline is Thursday)
LONG LEAD: MARCH FOCUSES
Whilst summer may seem incredibly far off, March is the prime time to pitch for several key long-lead opportunities. As we discussed in our What to Pitch in February post, this includes features, profile ops and product pages relating to Father’s Day (June 20th): now is the ideal time to begin selling in your Father’s Day content to long lead press to get ahead of the curve. However, you can approach short-lead and more reactive ops throughout the Spring, too, to hit a mixture of different titles and audiences.
With June 21st currently heralded as the ‘return to normality and the kick-off date for the Great British summer, now is the time to begin pitching summer trends, events and experiences to long-lead titles. Hospitality and leisure facilities are set to make a long-awaited comeback, so approaching a mixture of regional, trade and national publications and pitching for inclusion in listicles, round-ups and product pages is something that should firmly be on your March agenda.
However, even with the Government’s roadmap in place, nothing is guaranteed this year: don’t forget to pay attention to the news, #journorequests on Twitter and any subsequent updates to pre-planned forward features. The key to success with the current PR landscape is to be flexible, agile and ready to jump into action as everything is still incredibly up in the air: which, in many ways, is both a blessing and a curse.
Example Long Lead Forward Features:
Cosmopolitan – ‘Beauty Buzz’ – Product Pages: Cosmopolitan’s pick of the best new beauty products. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: 3 – 4 months)
Woman & Home – ‘Home Edit/Style Steal’ – Product Page: Single page highlighting around 5 new home products. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: 3 months)
GQ – Shopping Pages (Fashion & Grooming): Double page spread of around 10 mixed products (including fashion, beauty and food & drink items). With images and a short description of why the product is topical. (Leadtime: 3 – 4 months, min. 3 months before desired publication.)
So, that’s March mapped out for you… 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!