It’s summer – should you take it easy?

It’s very tempting to think that because journalists tend to be on holiday over the summer (especially in continental Europe), this is the perfect time to put your feet up and take a well-earned break. But that would be wrong. As the weather heats up, it’s actually the perfect time to take a strategic look at your PR.

It’s what we do at A3 Communications, and because we’re a friendly bunch we’ve decided to share our top tips for summer PR with you:

1.    Build relationships with key journalists, bloggers and analysts
Your key targets aren’t going to be on holiday all summer, but they are likely to be less busy as the news cycle slows down. Get in touch with the people you want to work more closely with – invite them for lunch, a cup of coffee, even a drink after work. Decide what you want to get out of the meeting and think about what you have to offer them. Use it as an opportunity to find out more about how they work, what they like and dislike, and how you can collaborate in the future. They will appreciate it as much as you will.

2.    Pitch exclusive stories
Press releases might not be picked up as quickly during the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the news rolling out. You just have to do it smarter. Do you have a story that would work well as an exclusive? Perhaps there’s a journalist you’ve wanted to work with who would love to get their hands on a story no one else has. It’s a great way to get your news out there, and build relationships at the same time.

3.    Pitch under embargo
Give yourself (and your target journalists) more time to work on a story. By setting an embargo, you can set up pre-briefings when your targets aren’t sunning themselves on a sandy beach somewhere nice. And they won’t be worried that someone else will scoop the story. For more info on how to manage embargoes read our post .

4.    House-keeping
If your to-do list is anything like mine, it grows and grows, and fantastic, proactive features and articles can get pushed back to make room for urgent, but not quite so much fun, activities. Now’s the time to take a look at that list and pick out some of the more creative ideas you couldn’t work on over the past few months.

5.    Competitions
There’s never a bad time for a competition – as long as it’s well thought through and you know how you’re going to encourage people to enter. Competitions are a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, to promote a new product, and much more. They can run over the whole summer so that people have a chance to enter whenever they choose to take their holidays – and you can keep up momentum by using social media to tell your audience all about it.

6.    Social media
Which brings me to social media in general. Take a look round the pool next time you’re away, and I can guarantee you’ll see holiday-makers draped over sun loungers checking their phones and tablets. This is good news for us PRs. It means that holidays are no longer a news black-hole – we can still reach people when they’re away. Maybe not through traditional articles and features, but with quick tweets with news, comment and competitions. Start planning your social media activity now so you can really make the most of it. To find out where you stand when it comes to social media and the law you can read our post

7.    Run a survey
Surveys can give a good insight into your market if you ask the right questions – and the results can be used for all kinds PR activity, from press releases and social media campaigns, to blog posts and features. Why not run a survey during the summer, and be ready to publish the results in autumn? To find out how to build the perfect survey check out this guest on our blog.

8.    Start planning for the autumn
Our final tip: look ahead to when the news really starts rolling again. During this quiet(ish) period you have time to look at what’s coming up in the industry, and further afield, that you could link to. Perhaps new legislation that affects your sector is due to come into force in the autumn – plan some comment pieces, blog posts and even interviews about it. Look at whether there are any national or international days that you can ties your activity to (there are lots to choose from, our favourite is World Back-up Day).

So there you have it – your quiet period suddenly became much less quiet. These activities should really set you up for a fantastic summer and autumn of PR. Enjoy the holidays!

PS: the banner at the top? The A3 Communications UK and French team taking it easy at our summer do this year!

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