Ode to the silly season


Summer is here, which usually means a lack of genuine hard news once Parliament adjourns and plenty of spare pages to claim with intelligent PR campaigns. But with a host of competitions and catastrophes afoot this year things are very different. Don’t worry too much though, all is not lost.
When Euro 2012 kicks off next week it marks the beginning of Britain’s Big Summer of Sport. Then we’ve got Wimbledon to look forward to, the world’s number one seeded tennis championship, and finally, in the not so distant future, the self-proclaimed ‘biggest event on Earth’ swings into London, as the Olympics and Paralympics arrive in the UK for the first time since 1948. Already we hear of droves of feature writers and freelancers planning to escape the capital for the summer to avoid the predicting gridlock. And that’s only the start of it.
In addition to those globally significant events there’s also the small matter of Queen Elizabeth II celebrating 60 years on the throne this weekend, with commemorative pageants, parades, and more set to continue for months to come. Oh yeah, and if all that’s not guaranteed to dominate the press then a multi-national currency may or may not be about to fail, with one of its member states looking like it could pull out and several other countries therein struggling to stave off financial collapse.
Needless to say then this isn’t your usual summer, meaning this is going to be a particularly testing time for any company looking at column inches. Obviously, it would be impossible for a small business to shout louder or spend more than the blue chips set to make a splash as the sport and sun (hopefully) become regular themes. But with intelligent marketing, focusing on segmenting the audience in order to clearly target a specific customer base, there’s every chance you won’t need to. Great ideas are always picked up by someone in the age of online, and once this happens there’s no telling where a campaign can go.
The nationals will still be an option of course but be realistic on the space they have for softer stories, and don’t just jump on the aforementioned topical bandwagons, unless you have a genuinely fresh angle to approach from. Whether you’re thinking outside the box, or focused in the middle, it has never been more important to methodically research, and fully plan any media push, given the current competition. After all, there’s nothing worse than misspent time and money.
So know exactly who you want to reach and recruit the best possible people for the job. Further more, remember the ideal outcome is not just custom, but repeat business, and without the luxury of a multi-million pound ad spend the only way for a company to achieve this is by creating tailored and bespoke messages that speak to clients, potential and current, on a personal level, as oppose to en masse.