Certain times of year are associated with major public relations efforts. Next to holiday season, back-to-school may present the most bountiful opportunities of all. B2S initiatives can support diverse categories, including personal finance, fashion, health and safety. Here are some examples of what works well with those on the back-to-school beat.
Know who covers what. This is a reminder to follow the “golden rule” of media list building – thou shalt not trust a subscription database-produced media list on its own. Sure, it’s a great place to start to build out your B2S media list, but all contacts must be researched for viability. It also pays to do a quick search of who has covered the topic in the recent past. Often times this unearths an unexpected contact whose regular beat may be something completely unrelated but who assumes this assignment each year.
Be part of a round-up. The tried and true tactic of assembling a list of complementary (but non-competitive) new products or services is always a media winner. You have done much of the work for the journalist and presented a newsworthy array of goods, rather than just tooting your own horn. Recently, this approach served us well in this syndicated article from Newsday, that we placed on behalf of client, Wearsafe, a wearable personal safety device, designed with the college student in mind.
Stay on top of timing. September school start dates are so last decade. Today’s schools start as early as today for both k-12 and colleges and universities. Be mindful of this when putting together pitches, you can’t be too early! It’s often helpful to include start dates in pitches that are localized to a particular city or state.
Trends, trends, trends. As with any good PR pitch, seek out trends to hitch your company’s product or service to. Hot fashion items for kids, what’s new in tech and what to pack for dorm rooms are examples of the type of attention-getting topics to research while putting together a pitch. Of course, always a good idea to see what’s going on in the news on the day your team is pitching so that your query is fresh and topical.
Survey the intended audience. Forward-thinking companies avail themselves of fresh data every B2S season. This includes the popular annual surveys on B2S spending that we conduct on behalf of shopping app Retale, which have proven so popular that media begin asking for the data before the survey’s even done! If budget permits, there are also advantages to surveying a particular audience, such as single parents or stay-at-home dads to add a different dimension.
Produce content on the topic. Take the good information you’ve gleaned from a combination of the above tactics and produce a byline article for a company executive. Again, publications are looking for timely content and willing to publish cogent, well-written pieces on everything from what’s new in campus security to better ways for retailers to profit from the season. The topics and outlets are only limited by your imagination.