5 Tips to Make the Most of a PR Pro’s Summer

Ocracoke49/120701 -- Sand dunes on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.Ahhh, summer. What a calm, relaxing time of year. Time to bask in the glory of the previous months’ triumphs, while relaxing our minds and bodies for the grueling months ahead. And in the media world, it’s the one time of year when things are decently slow.

Which means if you’re a bit hyperactive like me, summer is when you spend most of your time worrying; wondering what might be next around the corner. But, that’s OK, for you have resolved to use this summer as a time to get ahead of your competition and make the fall and winter truly your time to shine (pardon the pun) with great messaging and outreach to key reporters and bloggers you’ve been aiming to reach all year.

How do you do that? Simple: a hell of a lot of hard work. Or you could try these five quick ideas:

Take a reporter out to lunch. Introduce yourself via e-mail, or an actual phone call to a key industry reporter and/or blogger (don’t pitch you, your product or your service—yet), and ask if they might be free for a quick coffee or lunch in the next week or so. The summer is a slow time for almost everyone in media land, with fewer assignments and big deadlines (as they often are in the fall as bigger stories and news cycles start to pick up), so you can often get in a really nice conversation that may lead to big dividends for you and your business in the long run.

Exert some editorial influence. Or at least try to. Be an advocate for your business, or your clients/organization and speak to editors at various long-lead publications and newspapers as they begin to develop their 2011 editorial calendars and editorial reports/specials. Ask them what thoughts they have for some trends for 2011 and see how your business or your client may fit into those trends. If it’s the right fit for everyone, gently offer an early glimpse into what you or your client is doing that’s ahead of that curve.

Look beyond your normal industry reads. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of focusing on publications, key reporters/bloggers and other influencers within a specific industry subset. Even as an agency guy who represents clients in many different industries, I find myself sometimes focusing too finely on one key sector, forgetting there are numerous ancillary angles that may fit a client’s needs. This summer, resolve to branch out a little with your reading. If you’re a devoted Mashable reader, try ReadWriteWeb for a week. Or, if you rely on The Economist for a global view of the week’s top news, check out the Financial Times or The Week for a slightly different global news perspective delivered with that same fantastic British wit.

Think Trends. One great thing about the latter half of any year is that trends for the next year start to come to the forefront. Everyone wants to know what’s going to be hot, why that trend will be important to many and which company will rise to the top of that trend first. This goes back to looking beyond the industry standards. Take some time to get away from the computer and think about how one unique idea may fit into a broader movement within several different industries. Editors will love you for helping them find something big before their competition discovers it, and you might be surprised at what you discover.

Enjoy every piece of media that’s in front of you. We live in a golden age of media (despite all of the prognosticators who believe this is the end of great media), and there is some fantastic content being written, produced, created and molded every day. Enjoy it now because once everyone comes back from vacation, you’re going to be the one colleagues look to for insight into reaching the right audiences. It’s the circle of (media) life.

How are you trying to make the best of summer?

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  • Great advice but I am absolutely slammed this summer. Anyone else having an abnormally busy summer?

  • Great advice but I am absolutely slammed this summer. Anyone else having an abnormally busy summer?

  • keithtrivitt

    I, too, am having an abnormally busy summer, so probably a better way I should have phrased this is that it's a slow time for media relations, but not for a majority of the PR business, which encompasses a lot more than media relations and interviews. Great points, and happy to hear things are busy for you this summer!

  • Great advice! It's easy to become laxidasical during the summer months, but these tips are a great way to keep up with the proverbial Jones'.

  • Katie Redden

    Hi Keith,
    I am just starting out in PR and love that you are here to spread some words of encouragment and advice. When you talk about how we are in the golden age of media. I couldn't agree with you more. It is amazing how far technology has come and imagining where it is going. The convergence of all mediums may seem like doomsday to some, but I like to think on the positive side so I can say – I have all of this technology at my fingertips and it is getting better with every day! Not only does it make this job a little easier and efficient, but it opens up so many avenues for pleasing clients.
    Thank you for your tips for making the most of my summer!

  • keithtrivitt

    Katie – Thanks for your comment. Congratulations on starting out in the PR profession! I think you'll find it's a terrific and very rewarding profession, that like any career, has its ups and downs, but if you're innovative and do you some great work, people will not only respect you and your professionalism, but they'll seek you out as an expert in the business.

    Enjoy your summer, and hopefully, it will be very productive for you.

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