Borrowing Interest (Or Stealing It!) With Breaking News

So your client isn’t making that huge “New iPad” headline news?  You still need to get them press and attention and sometimes that can be tough. The smart PR practitioner is always on the lookout for ways to piggyback onto a broad, national event or story or something gaining ground in the cultural zeitgeist.  Get creative! Look for the latest, hottest news story or topic to latch onto and insert your client into the conversation.

Think about releasing a specially timed survey, offering up your client as a resource or expert on a current event, or creating a specifically themed infographic.  It just might get your client that strategic placement you’ve been after.
Here are three types of news stories the savvy PR person can leverage for extra ink

Special Days = Great PR

Big days or specific seasons can be great for PR, so you should always be scanning your calendar for ideas.  For example, think about ways your client can relate to the retail craziness of Black Friday, the lost rest of daylight saving time or the mania that is March Madness..  A simple (but quality) survey pertaining to the topic, and strategically released at the right time of year, can do wonders for client visibility.

2012 Presidential Campaign

The 2012 Presidential Campaign has been dominating the news for months, and it’s only getting bigger.  With so much time and press devoted to the campaign, political reporters are constantly looking for time and space fillers.  Find a creative way to relate the political craziness or marathon campaigning back to your client’s specialty. Even if they are wary of taking political sides, there are a ton of possibilities here.

Win Big with Sports Stories

Whether it’s the Super Bowl, start of the baseball season, or March Madness, sports are constantly on people’s minds.  How about a light hearted March Madness tournament style “infobracket” from your client?

More so than many professionals, PR people constantly need to be up to date on current events and know exactly what people are talking about.  Look for these hot news stories, plan accordingly, and take advantage of them.  Your clients will thank you later.

Springing Forward And Coping!

Early  Sunday morning, we will move our clocks forward one hour.  As I do this, I will think about how this lost hour of sleep is going to affect me and my Monday! By then, I will feel exhausted.  I’m yawning just typing this.

But this year, in order to avoid any sleepless drama I’m going to plan ahead.  Daylight Saving Time will not get the best of me, and I encourage you to also plan ahead and try the following:

Make a to-do list on Friday at work to hold yourself accountable to completing tasks before you leave for the day.  This will mean entering the weekend relaxed and not worried about how your “lost hour” will affect your Monday workload.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to fall asleep try eating cornflakes, French bread, or jelly beans.  According to Reader’s Digest, if eaten about four hours before you go to bed these foods and a list of others will help you fall asleep in about half the time you normally do.

Wake an hour earlier on Saturday.  You’re not losing this hour of sleep until Sunday, but by waking a little earlier you will get to take advantage of the day.  Hopefully this will also leave you tired earlier in the evening so you’ll have a good night’s sleep.

Get some sun! Go for a bike ride or jog and soak in the some rays early in the day.  The sun will help reset your body clock and the physical activity should help you to relax better at night. Be sure to drink a lot of water and avoid caffeine later in the day so you can get to sleep and wake up on Sunday feeling refreshed.

Lastly, it’s the weekend so don’t feel guilty about taking a nap.  I know I won’t.  But avoid taking the nap too late in the day or for too long.  A short 20 minute nap should leave you refreshed and energized.

How do you cope with “springing ahead” each year?

If We Could Turn Back Time

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend as we turn the clocks back and gain an hour. And we all know how valuable an hour of quality sleep is to mental and physical well-being. But you don’t have to take your hour in sleep; you can do other productive things with this “gift of time!” Here are some suggestions.

Have a brief chat with your co-workers. A five-minute chat that’s NOT about account specifics, but aspirations, i.e. how to  improve workflow, fresh ideas, etc. can be invaluable to improving work relationships and morale.

Brush up on pop culture.  If you’re in PR, then yes, reading TMZ, Life&Style, and following Ryan Seacrest on Twitter may be required reading! Of course, doesn’t hurt to throw in NPR and the Atlantic Monthly for good measure, but part of the job is knowing what’s trending and how to tie a client, however loosely, to “boldface name” news.

Master some social media or online service you’re curious about. Even if it’s just the new Gmail or something more sophisticated like whatever Meltwater Buzz is hyping, the “techy tool” landscape changes swiftly and spending just an hour familiarizing yourself can pay off big time.

Research new business prospects. After visiting a client yesterday, we happened to drive by a classic comfort food brand we’d kill to work for. Multiply that curiosity by 10; create a target list and an outreach strategy, and, voila!

Have coffee. With a potential client; a current client; a media contact; a former co-worker; a former boss – you get the

What will you do with your hour?