- Posted by Scott Walker
- On February 14, 2017
- holiday, love, pitch, PR, public relations, relationships, Valentine’s Day
As sure as Cupid’s arrow ignites desire, the arrival of Valentine’s Day makes PR professionals’ hearts flutter.
Love is in the air, and brands are eager to capitalize on affinity relationships to connect with customers and clients.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend $18.2 billion on their sweethearts this Valentine’s Day, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Although the total spending is down from last year’s record $19.7 billion, consumers still plan to spend more than $85, on average, on their significant others.
Corny as the sentiments may seem, Valentine’s Day pitches are plentiful for a reason. When thoughtfully presented, they often work. Reporters and bloggers always are looking ahead for timely content because their audiences gravitate toward topics that are relevant in the moment.
In a Newsweek article examining why PR people are obsessed with Valentine’s Day, marketing strategist Steve Cummings explains why these pitches are successful.
“Valentine’s Day is when they make clients make the most money,” Hodges said. “We pitch more of what is successful, and so I would guess journalists often get assigned more Valentine’s Day stories than other observances and that those stories happen to use more PR stuff than normal.”
More than half of those responding to the NRF survey planned to celebrate the holiday, but even a day devoted to love and relationships has a dark side. Heartbreak, loneliness and consumerism also offer opportunities for pitches.
Even topics on the serious side can find a match. Here are some tips for improving your chances that a publication will swoon over your story idea:
Get creative. At a PR agency such as Poston Communications, which deals with many law firms and professional services clients, Valentine’s Day may seem like an odd fit. But lawyers often deal with matters that can get emotional.
An idea for a family law attorney could be advice for considering the thorny topic of prenups around a Valentine’s Day proposal.
Other relationship-themed ideas relating to the legal industry involve navigating the entanglements of business partnerships or employment law relating to romance in the workplace.
Find a statistic. Data can provide substance for any pitch, and the research shows your target that you’ve done your homework. (The NRF survey illustrates the scope of Valentine’s Day interest for this post.) If you can’t find something to quantify a story idea, that may be a sign that the story isn’t there to begin with.
Don’t wait until the last minute. If you want to impress the object of your affection on Valentine’s Day, you shouldn’t expect to find a bouquet that will impress from a picked-over selection at the grocery store that afternoon. Similarly, a holiday-themed pitch should be made weeks in advance.
Be true to your audience. Not every topic or client is suitable for a Valentine’s Day pitch, no matter how much you dress it up in pink and lace. A cute headline may get an initial look, but journalists are likely to see through a promise with content that fails to deliver. If the connection feels forced, it probably is.
Valentine’s Day isn’t an automatic hook for every pitch, but a creative approach may be just enough to ignite a spark for a good story.
Scott Walker is vice president for Poston Communications, based in Atlanta.