Put Your Calendar To Work

It's an October evening and your major reception for donors has just begun. Turnout is substandard and most of the attendees are women. Can you say, "World Series?" Sure, I knew that you could!

Every organization should create an annual PR and marketing calendar so that it can avoid the World Series' of the world, as well as take advantage of dates of significance. With a couple of months left in 2005, now is a good time to begin filling out your 2006 calendar. Here's a template to help get you started.

Start inside the organization and work your way out. Don't try to do this alone. Everyone in your organization has a little different perspective and can help come up with some dates that you wouldn't know. Are there company anniversaries, holidays or closings to consider? Do you already have special sales events scheduled? How about trade show appearances? Any new products, services or new locations planned?

Now, let's head outside the organization. What's happening in the lives of your suppliers and customers? How about in your industry? Any trade association meetings or conferences? Are major white papers, reports or industry research planned?

Often your best opportunity for press coverage comes from special industry reports and stories that the media has on its editorial calendar. So, start collecting editorial calendars from business and trade media that cover your business. Also, see if your local media have editorial calendars. You'll find the Charlotte Business Journal editorial calendar here. All of the American City Business Journals have their editorial calendars online.

Also, fill in the holidays and special events for the year. And don't forget smaller holidays or those with significance to your faith and to other religions. You might find one that sparks a thought for a story idea or a special promotion. Be sure you add major elections and sporting events, as well as major local events.

Think seasonally as you assemble your calendar. Back-to-school, tax season, vacations, heating and cooling seasons: all of these can be harnessed for their marketing and PR value.

Once you have all the dates plugged in, you can start scheduling your own PR and marketing specific programs and tactics for a successful 2006.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Focus Four, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, Verbatim and Wicked Choppers.

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