The calendar says that the autumn is near
And so it seems somewhat bazaar
That we’re already thinking of roses and sweets
‘Cause it’s Valentine’s Day when you work in PR
If Hallmark would create a sentiment targeted to public relations, that would be the theme, for the publicist’s odd timeline is based primarily on the editorial calendars belonging to long lead magazines. While most people are enjoying picnics and fireworks in July, the PR professional is laboring over pitch letters and press releases about the gifts Santa will bring for the holidays. It’s just the nature of the beast that we, in the industry, are often mentally finished with Christmas long before the first snowflake (or even the first light sweater) has made its appearance.
It’s our job to work with our clients to determine what they’re planning to feature six months down the road and find out what the holiday gift guide editors are planning to cover in their holiday issues. The newspaper and online outlets give us a bit more time to get it together – but the long leads, which generally work three-four months in advance, like to get their ducks in a row well in advance – and the competition for a space under the editorial tree is fierce.
For clients who are launching new products – they have the advantage of offering something unique and hopefully appealing to the editors – but the pricing, the artwork and even the names and locations of the stores where the product will be sold should ideally be confirmed well in advance. And after that, as the autumn leaves start to fall, we’re already well into pitching our client’s delicious artisanal chocolates, romantic getaways or sexy underwear for Valentine’s Day, to a targeted list of journalists, whose calendars are similarly skewed.