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How to exploit media silly season, even if it hasn’t arrived)

Lord Sewel is caught on camera allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes, bringing the House of Lords into disrepute. Greece’s economy receives another emergency jolt of fiscal electricity to its heart. Westminster reveals newly defined laws to tackle extremist behaviour. The number of displaced people in the world reaches never-before-seen levels.
It has been a busy month or so in the press, to say the least. All of which could make you question whether we’re really ever going to see the arrival of media silly season; an annual period of time wherein public relations professionals usually have a field day selling-in stories on behalf of their clients.
Loosely coinciding with the beginning of the school summer break, this hallowed part of the calendar can be explained as follows. Parliament is in recess, and papers and websites are even more understaffed than normal as reporters look to escape the newsroom for a holiday. The result being plenty of pages to fill, less resources to research articles, and fewer ‘hard’ stories from the government.
Or that’s how it should work.
Clearly, then, 2015 is looking a little different, with the tirade of serious news looking like it might not let up for the duration of this year. Which means one thing for PRs and brands- they need to work doubly hard to ensure their stories stand a chance of making it into the press. Far from the easiest task, nevertheless it’s not impossible either. Here are our top tips on creating stories that should do the job nicely….
*Anniversaries always provide a strong angle; has a comprehensive, month-by-month list of global event anniversaries that can provide great inspiration for branded stories.
*Seasonal statistics and studies; how can your exploit surveys relating to the current season? Online surveys are easy to create, offer efficient result-gathering options, and can easily be linked to products in your portfolio.
*Linking-in with upcoming events; brand partnerships, fringe events and unofficial gestures of support can be a particularly good idea at this time of year given the sheer number of events scheduled in the calendar.
*Jumping on stories as they break; let’s face it, media silly season is- at least in part- defined by journalists struggling for stories. If you can add authority to a story that has some ‘legs’ for follow up pieces, then voice them.
*Think visually; particularly in the land of magazines, the phrase ‘no image no story’ always rings true. A great picture can tell a thousand words, or at least fill the space where 500 would normally sit, so consider what images you have to offer.
*Equally, for online add video to the mix. It’s part of the newsroom agenda to hit their quotas of video content (to help earn them much needed revenue) so try and supply some short, not-too branded content from vox pops to relevant talking heads
*It’s all about entertainment; Silly season’s focus is on light news stories, as such it’s important to focus on entertainment value. Not only will this attract press attention, it increases the share-ability of the resulting coverage. Which brings us to…
*Be social; With news one of the most common types of content to appear on social media news feeds, it’s vital that you hit these channels with real zeal right now- you have more chance of getting seen when there are less flying about.

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