When you want to work with journalists to raise awareness for you, your brand or a new product or service you need to make yourself the journalist’s best buddy.
These guys have to find content, meaningful and relevant content on a regular basis.
One of the more powerful ways you can help out your friendly journos is by taking the time to understand how Journalists plan content.
When planning content for their publication Journalists often refer to stories as ‘on’ and ‘off ‘ diary.
These are event which can be predicted, obvious stuff like Mothers Day, Easter, Christmas and Halloween. It can also include the publishing of annual reports, survey results, elections and school holidays.
These are marked on Journalists diaries months, sometimes even years in advance. Not only does this mean they don’t miss the topic and the important stories, it also gives them plenty of time to research the topic and find experts and case studies to discuss the issues at the relevant time.
These are the unexpected events. Stories you can’t necessarily predict – a celebrity talking out of turn, terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
What On Diary Events Should I Add to My Media Diary?
When you work up/choose the events which are most suitable to your designs or colourways, back stock or patterns which are owed a little more love and attention, you should set aside a couple of hours to read through and make active decisions around what works best for you.
I recommend planning up to 12 months in advance, but I promise the upfront time you spend will be well worth the investment. Here’s the different types of content to add in to you Media Diary.
- The Flaming Obvious Stuff
- Important Political Events
- Awareness Days
- Court Cases
- New films, books and TV Programmes
The Flaming Obvious
These are annual events such as Christmas, Easter, Summer Holidays, Halloween and so on…. This may sound super obvious, but when you are busy with ongoing work its easy to get sidetracked. That new yarn (oooh shiny!) can derail your plans unless you have your themes and plans set in stone for the year.
If you are planning a halloween CAL you need the design created, videos recorded, emails written and signup page sorted well in advance so folk can complete the project in time to use it for halloween. Start working on the project in the summer so your CAL participants can begin in September to allow time to complete by October 31st.
The open calls for Christmas submissions all ready out there (see our Open Calls Listing) and we’ve only just reached June!
Important Political Events
Budget days, government spending reviews, elections, political party conferences, parliamentary debates, select committee meetings and so on.
A wonderful example of this for our industry is the Pussy Hat design. A knitted hat design created for the Women’s rallies across the globe, following the election of the 45th President of the US.
Political awareness is most definitely a hot topic these days and women, our main target audience, have never been so involved. From the 100th anniversary of the Suffragette movement in the UK to the Pussy Hat pattern creation there are a wide number of ways you can become involved in the political stories for our time.
Whether you are a coach, or knitter as a small business owner you are affected by political issues, from taxation to business law changes in government policy, and these can all provide great ‘hooks’ for stories.
Cancer awareness, National Orgasm week (yup its real!!!!) or one of my favourite topics Mental Health Awareness Day. To get you started we’ve created a series of ‘Special Dates’ posts for you with over 150 dates for each month. You will need to select the ones which tickle your fancy, or are most relevant to your work/expertise.
I strongly advise you read the article Tackle Awareness Days with Caution.
You may also want to add details of court cases that relate to our industry or specific sector. Animal Cruelty cases for shearing techniques. Chemical poisoning of water sources from man made dyes etc…
You spot a story, such as above, make a note of the date the judge is likely to deliver the verdict and contact the media, offering to give your views on the matter.
New Films, books and TV Programmes
Getting on the mailing list for publishers and production companies that make relevant books and programmes/films is a great starting point.
I was recently contacted by the Production company behind The Great British Sewing Bee and asked to invite applications to the show from my audience (you can see the video here).
Creating a pattern linked to a strong show (Game of Thrones, Dr Who and of course the Harry Potter series) is always a great hook. Take care not to infringe copyright or to use licensed images for your designs though.
Your business anniversary may of course be important to you, however there may be more powerful anniversaries to use as a hook. The Suffragette movement, women being admitted to the Houses of Parliament or the Queen’s accession to the throne.
Other Key Dates for Our Industry
The publication of annual reports, Knitting and Crochet Awards, Pantone’s Colour of the Year selection are simple examples which can either be turned into content for your audience or more ideally can work as a hook for pitches to journalists.
Add as many On Diary events to your media diary as you can think of, using the headings above to organise your thoughts.
I suggest using pencil first time round, as you may decide some events are more important or relevant than others.
Although this can feel like hard work, resist the temptation to skip out any of the different event types. I’ve even created a quick checklist for you to download when you are planning out your Media Diary for the coming year.