Don't forget sunscreen: how to not get burned during the slow summer months
Who doesn’t love summer?
There’s lazy days on the beach, pool parties, cookouts, fireworks, road trips…There’s an endless ocean of possibilities for fun in the sun.
I live and breathe summer.
But while summer is good for the soul, the vibes, and a sure fire way to get a great tan - it can be a bit of a bummer for those in the PR industry. Everyone is on vacation at some point in time in the summer, with July and August found to be the most popular vacation months for Americans. Many journalists are hard to reach in the dead of winter, never mind in the heat of summer. Not to mention your own support team may be dwindling in numbers as the temperature rises.
So what’s a PR professional to do? Lather up the PR sunscreen: here are my best ways to not get burned during the slow summer months!
Launch at Your Own Risk
Everyone wants the summer launch. It’s a sexy time of year. People are always in a good mood. I totally get it. But unless you’re launching the newest floatie destined for Taylor Swift’s pool or delivering freezies at the beach via drones - chances are, your product is better suited to launch after the summer ends.
Much like many beaches caution that you should swim at your own risk, launching in the summer months should be approached just as cautiously. Launch coverage is hard on the best of days, especially if you’re new and have yet to acquire any users. Journalists want traction. They want to hear about all of the users that you secured in your first week. First month. First quarter.
If you have the luxury of doing your PR push after Labor Day, focus instead on getting your first swarm of users in the summer. Do some traditional marketing. Run summer promotions to encourage sign-ups. And when you’ve put away your white after Labor Day, then you can do your public launch, armed with great traction to impress journalists from the first pitch.
Know the Waters Before you Sail
So what happens if you simply MUST launch this summer. The urgency could be for a number of reasons such as anxious investors circling your waters or maybe you’ve exhausted every other attempt to secure users and you’re still coming up dry. If a launch is unavoidable, there are ways to strategically work around the summer slump.
For starters, escape your own Independence Day doom by avoiding a launch around the 4th of July. I typically recommend scratching the week prior and the week after as options on your PR calendar, as many journalists take a little extra time off around this holiday. Same goes for Labor Day. I caution my clients to halt all launch plans after the 24th or 25th of the month to ensure their dream of a perfect launch doesn’t fizzle out like a bad firecracker.
Bond Over Shark Week and Vacation Destinations
I’m a huge fan of getting to know journalists on Twitter. Every day, I set aside 15-30 minutes on my calendar to interact and engage with writers and influencers by sharing their content and interacting with their tweets. For me, this isn’t seasonal. I do this all year long and it totally pays off.
But here’s the thing. Call me crazy, but I find people are tweeting more and sharing more personal stuff during the summer months. They’re talking about their vacation, sharing photos from their weekend on the cape and raving about the epic cookout they went to while you were stuck in the office. I’ve used this to my advantage to chime in about everything from Shark Week to making recommendations of must-see attractions in Coastal Maine.
Life is just a lot more fun in the summer and the opportunity to talk about it with journalists, while making some friends in the process, is as golden as the sunsets.
Take Your PR Show on the Road
Us PR professionals are a rare breed. We love to network, but sometimes find our schedules so hectic that getting out to actually network is harder than we’d like. Getting out of town or the country to network? Next to impossible.
Because things are slower during the summer months on the PR side, take this opportunity to take your PR show on the road. Got virtual clients? Visit them in their respective cities and take in the tourist sights with them. Not only is it fun for you, it’s a great way to get to know your clients in a more exciting yet comfortable setting, while enjoying their culture and local scene.
Another great option? Think about attending a summer conference or festival. Every year, we check out the International Startup Festival in Montreal and Unbounce’s Call to Action conference in Vancouver. Both of these events have plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy and having fun in the sun with industry peers. You also learn a thing or two while you’re there.
Unplug and Enjoy it
Lastly and most importantly, one of the best ways to avoid getting burned this summer is to stop and enjoy it. With most of the industry out of the office and taking vacation over the summer months, it’s the perfect time for you to do the same.
Book a trip somewhere you’ve never been before, make plans to visit family out of town, or enjoy your very own staycation in your city. The key is to just unplug. This will give your creative energy a supercharge for when you return, it will give your body time to rest and relax, and it will give you time back with your family and friends. Which is pretty much what life is really about - creating memories with those you love.
By the time you get back to the office, you’ll be inspired to tackle any PR obstacle that comes your way and plan for that fall launch that’s going to impress like the fireworks on the 4th of July. I promise.
Just remember your sunscreen.
Crystal Richard is the Director of PR at Onboardly where she helps her clients share their story with the world. An avid writer and media enthusiast, Crystal is a born storyteller. She is a proud East Coaster and recently launched East Coast Mermaid, a destination for anyone that ever felt they should have been born at sea. You can follow her on Twitter @crystalcrichard.
Photo: Flip flops via Shutterstock