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Use the Calendar to Make News

By Jerry Brown, APR

The calendar can be your friend, if you pay attention and use it to make news.

Do you have a story that lends itself to certain dates or seasons? January is a time for stories about resolutions, what happened during the year that’s ending, what the year ahead will bring, how the new year will differ from the last.

But there are calendar-related news opportunities all year long: end-of-school, back-to-school, holidays, anniversaries, you name it. Do you have a story that fits something on the calendar? If so, tailor your story to take advantage of it.

Look far enough ahead to get your story placed. Some long-lead publications are working on Christmas before the rest of us have celebrated Labor Day.

And don’t forget anniversaries. Anniversaries of newsworthy events, good and bad, often make news.

If a crisis was a major story while it was happening, there’s a good chance it’ll be news on the first (and sometimes subsequent) anniversary. The anniversary can become a perennial reason for the media to repeat a story you’d rather forget.

You probably can’t keep a bad-news anniversary out of the news if the media’s inclined to take note of it. But you don’t have to sit idly by, either. What’s changed for the better since the original event? Be prepared to tell that story to the media if they’re going to turn an anniversary into news. They’ll still mention the bad stuff. But you’ve got a shot at getting good things that have happened since the original event included in the stories. And many readers/viewers will give you credit for what you’ve done, if you’ve got a good story to tell.

Anniversaries can be an opportunity to make good news as well. And it doesn’t have to be an anniversary anyone but you would have noted – until you point it out. The 10th, 25th, 50th, 100th (or another) anniversary of a significant invention, pop trend or event can be great occasions to generate positive stories.

Pay attention to the anniversaries important to you. Be prepared to counter the negative impact of the bad ones and use the good ones as a hook for positive stories.

During 20 years as a journalist, Jerry Brown worked for The Associated Press (he was assignment editor for AP’s Washington bureau during Watergate); daily newspapers in Little Rock, Fort Worth and Denver; the U.S. Information Agency; and two trade publications. Jerry’s been practicing public relations for the past two decades and is an accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Society of America and a former board member of PRSA’s Colorado chapter. You can contact Jerry at jerry@pr-impact.com or visit his Web site at pr-impact.com.

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