So, you’ve manufactured a fabulous new product, or, perhaps you’ve established an awesome new service and launched it to market. Well done! Of course, your next main goal is turning all that hard work into profit…that is until some wise guy on your team (or a pesky business mentor) reckons it might be helpful (and “fun”) trying to get yourself a bit of publicity!
Naturally, you’re exhausted, and the mere thought of starting down the publicity path alone can be as daunting.
It’s little wonder then that many small-business owners put publicity in the “too hard basket”, particularly in the early days. But it doesn’t have to be scary: a simple Google search might just help inspire you to take the first step on your publicity journey!
When you type “cause days” into a search engine you’ll be hit with a bunch of useful websites providing calendars that divvy the year up in all sorts of ways…and, I can tell you for a fact, journos love these little annual milestones!
In addition to anniversaries, public holidays and religious festivals there are days for just about anything you can think of. From medical conditions and charitable works to societal movements and environmental matters, various interest groups have deemed particular dates (or, in some cases, whole months) their own, for a variety of reasons. Yes, some are tenuous and ridiculous but others have very well-intended aims and fabulous beneficiaries behind them. At their most basic though, from a publicity point of view, most “cause days” have the potential to draw media attention to a particular slice of life on a particular day of the year.
Here are my tips for leveraging cause days to unlock some free media coverage:
- Make sure you’re looking at an Australian calendar. Just like the dates of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day vary around the world, so too do the dates that particular causes are observed.
- Plan ahead. Check the calendar well in advance. If there isn’t a cause day that is a perfect fit for what you do then think creatively about how you can use one to your advantage. For example, if you’re a financial planner, you may decide to plan a publicity push around Adopt A Pet Day. You might think I’m crazy, but if you can do a cost-benefit analysis of adopting vs. buying a pet over 10 years for the average Australian family, that might just hook a journo in. You might also consider working with a charity or not for profit, like the RSPCA, and lend your skills and services to boost their own publicity push on a certain day. This can be a perfect ‘win-win’.
- The day isn’t the story. Given, by their very nature, cause days occur once every 12 months, it’s important that you realise their mere existence doesn’t necessarily necessitate any news value. However, they can help you get off the mark! With enough planning, you could launch the findings of some new, newsworthy research to coincide with a particular cause day.
- Avoid saturated days. I’m regularly told by journalists and producers that the two most well-prescribed cause days in Australia each year are International Women’s Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). So, don’t risk being lost in the crowd.
- Be authentic. Remember, contrary to the saying, all publicity isn’t always good publicity. So, make sure the values of your business (and you as a business owner) align with the values and aims of a particular cause day. When everyone’s singing from the song sheet, good publicity can flourish!