Edward Dodge – Senior Account Manager at Spreckley
Ever since I started at Spreckley four years ago I’ve been looking forward to the much talked about summer slowdown; a chance to take your foot off the pedal a little, take the odd leisurely lunch and leave the office at 5.30pm safe in the knowledge that everything has been taken care of. June passes by without a change in pace, July is just as busy, and don’t get me started on August. As the years have gone by, I’ve come to the realisation that it’s never going to happen, at least in the world of PR and publishing – but then, why should it? RIP the summer slowdown (assuming it ever really existed).
Unlike our cousins on the continent, who tend to shut up shop entirely for large swathes of the summer, we don’t have that luxury. Admittedly, this might have something to do with the weather, but those summer breaks have never taken off in the UK. Although the sales cycle might slow down, for the media it remains business as usual and as much as a break would be welcome, there’s a significant opportunity for PRs and their clients when it comes to securing coverage.
Newspapers have the same number of column inches, online sites remain as hungry for news as ever, advertisers still fall over themselves for clicks, and for those unlucky souls not sunning themselves in warmer climes, there’s still a big appetite for reading material. With many businesses holding their big launches back until September, there’s a big vacuum that needs to be filled. Tempting as it might be, rather than slowing down, my advice would be to up the tempo.
But with what should you fill the void? ‘News’ stories and off-the-wall surveys that characterise ‘silly season’ (or, as the Germans call it, pickled gherkin time) have a role to play, but if they don’t fit with your brand and help to further your key messages, they are probably best avoided. Instead, use the time to strengthen your relationships with key journalists and publications, pitch for feature and profile opportunities and delve into your customer portfolio to showcase the work you’ve done for your clients.
Journalists’ fear of white space and plunging visitor numbers mean that you’ll have a better shot with ideas they might not normally consider during the busier months. There are always news stories to be found if you look hard enough!