We can hardly believe May is upon us, but we’re super pumped about a new month of opportunities! With the government’s roadmap out of lockdown looking to show no signs of slowing down (fingers crossed!), it’s full steam ahead for the return of indoor hospitality and leisure facilities, small events and domestic holidays from May 17th. Whilst everyone is busy catching up with friends and family, now is the time to get ahead of competition with an array of short-lead and long-lead ops throughout Q2 and Q3.
As always, TeamEV’s Account Executive, Holly, is back with her round up of essential dates, editorial themes and forward features for May and beyond!
KEY AWARENESS DAYS
At this point, there’s an ‘awareness days’ for pretty much every occasion. To help you cut through the noise, here’s some important dates for your diary this May:
1st – 31st – National Clean Air Month
10th – World Ocean Day
10th – 16th – Mental Health Awareness Week (Theme: Nature)
11th – 17th – National Vegetarian Week
17th – Step 3 of lockdown restrictions easing
21st – World Creativity and Innovation Day
27th – World Product Day
LAST MINUTE PITCHES
Whilst April was slightly quieter than the average month, there are plenty of key themes and dates to sink your teeth into during May! As with any last-minute pitch strategy, our first port of call is always to check #journorequests on Twitter to see what’s trending and in demand. Whilst this is by no means a full-proof method to securing coverage, it’s definitely a great way to directly connect with all kinds of journalists, bloggers and writers that you may not always be able to. Our #TeamEV top tip would definitely be to ensure your press materials are 100% ready to go: journalists are very busy people and – with #journorequests in particular – are often working to meet razor-thin deadlines. Ensuring you have any press releases, comment pieces, imagery, press packs and links ready to go and clearly labelled is guaranteed to improve your odds of success!
Two of the most notable last-minute opportunities this month are National Clean Air Month (May 1st – 31st) and Mental Health Awareness Week (Theme: Nature) (May 10th – 16th). From sustainability pledges to industry insights, there are several ways you can tweak the angle of your press release or pitching strategy to ensure you’re bang on trend and more appealing to press. Do you have a study on the impact of clean air zones or how the pandemic has impacted mental health services across the UK? Pair some strong statistics with an expert comment (whether that’s yourself or someone else within your team) and you’ve got a solid hook. If you need any help on how to craft the perfect press release or DIY PR strategy, make sure you check out Pocket Sized PR: it’s full of *free* downloads, resources and advice that are perfect for any start-up or SME.
Plus, if you’re a hospitality or leisure business, it absolutely goes without saying that if you haven’t already got the ball rolling with local guides and venue round ups then you need to get moving ahead of May 17th! With April marking the successful return of outdoor hospitality, it’s clear that people are extremely excited about the prospect of dining out again; make sure to capitalise on this hype!
EV’s Top Tip: Want to get ahead of next year’s crowd for these dates? For long lead titles, January 2022 will be the best time to begin pitching, whilst March through to early April is the best time for short-lead press.
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 4-8 weeks from pitching, editing and publishing whereas ‘Long Lead’ follows a much longer timescale of anywhere from 3 – 6 months. However, largely due to the impact of COVID, there has definitely been an increase in the number of short-lead and last-minute opportunities available; if you want the best chance of success, it pays to get everything in order ahead of time.
SHORT LEAD: MAY FOCUSES
Whilst we’ve eased into the return of outdoor dining and entertainment, seasonal listicles are set to be even more popular during May as we gear up for May 17th and the return of indoor dining and leisure facilities. If you’re a brand new venue opening post-lockdown, this is set to be of interest for many journalists so make sure you’re keeping an eye on Twitter #journorequests for snap-opportunities to provide expert insight and comments. Looking beyond May, there are several key awareness dates to keep in mind such as Pride Month (UK only: June 1st – 30th), World Gin Day (June 12th), Men’s Health Week (June 15th – 20th) and World Wellbeing Week (June 21st – 30th).
There are tonnes of great consumer opportunities that align with the warmer months on the horizon, so do make sure that you are taking the time to plan and review your Q2 and Q3 PR strategies this month. Whether you’re looking at last minute, short or long-lead ops, preparation is key: we’d hate for you to miss out on any quick-wins or niche opportunities for product pages, gift guides and listicles throughout this month and beyond due to a lack of clear strategy, so make sure you give yourself enough time to fully plan and prep!
As always, if you’re looking to pitch to journalists with these themes in mind, make sure that your PR house is in order ahead of time: this means saving your boilerplate copy, comments/statements, press releases and hi-res imagery to a shared area. If a journalist has to chase you for several things, you are highly unlikely to be successful with your pitch as they simply don’t have time to wait about or do favours.
Example Short Lead Forward Features:
Daily Mail – ‘It’s Friday! – Book review: Review of two or more new fiction novels. (Leadtime: ASAP – 4 weeks)
HELLO!– ‘Social Scene: The To-Do List’ – listicle: A weekly page listing around 5 upcoming events, including: theatre, art, books and films. (Leadtime: 1 week in advance.)
The Mail on Sunday: YOU magazine – ‘Style Notes’ – product page: A single page fashion spread based around a particular theme or trend. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: 6-8 weeks.)
LONG LEAD: MAY FOCUSES
As per our April long-lead focuses, many of the key dates to be pitching for this month include Father’s Day (June 20th) and ‘plastic-free’ July. Plus, if you haven’t heard already, National Barbecue Week has actually been postponed from the last week of May to now run July 2nd – 11th in order to coincide with the end of all COVID restrictions and lockdown measures.
Speaking of relaxing restrictions, June 21st is the final hurdle we’ll have to cross this year (correct at time of writing). From nightclubs to largescale events, it’s set to be the biggest shift in restrictions since the very start of the pandemic, so now is the time to get your ducks in a row for seasonal guides, rounds up and events listings for what is set to be an unforgettable summer.
Plus, if applicable, we’d suggest keeping your eye on World Environment Day (June 5th), National Beer Day (June 15th) and World Friendship Day (July 30th). Equally, even if these dates don’t quite align with your goods or services, you could plan themed PR stunts, team up with another business or plan a standout seasonal campaign.
Example Long Lead Forward Features:
Homes & Gardens – ‘3 of The Best’ – product page: Mixed product page featuring gardening products, focusing on a specific product or theme. (Leadtime: 3-4 months)
Good Housekeeping – ‘Good Advice’ – Various brands of the same products are tested, reviewed and rated, with an Overall Winner and Bargain Buy highlighted. Categories that can be covered include home appliances, technology, food, beauty and health, and outdoor living. With prices and stockists. (Leadtime: up to 3 months)
GLAMOUR – ‘G Directory’- product pages: Two pages of listings, featuring around 12 beauty companies from across the UK offering discounts to GLAMOUR readers for that month. (Leadtime: 2 – 3 months)
That’s May covered… head on over to @eastvillagepr and make sure you let us know how you get on! We hope to see you securing plenty of coverage, and don’t forget – you can unlock even more PR hints and tips over on Pocket Sized PR!