OpPoRtunity-filled calendars

Martin Luther did his thing 500 years ago

Much of the media was very focused last week on the first 100 days of the Trump administration. The White House alternately downplayed its significance while still touting its accomplishments; at times there seemed to be a rush to get more done before the 100-day “deadline.”

If there really was no “deadline,” why was such importance attached to this milestone? Like birthdays, people seem to love to mark dates and commemorate their importance. This common link between the calendar and major events can be very helpful to public relations people.

Take the first 100 days, for example. How did they compare with other presidencies? How many campaign promises were kept vs. broken? What typically happens next? This was an opportunity for campus historians and think tank policy wonks to share their perspectives and promote their organizations.

It was 50 years ago in June

Like all years, 2017 is filled with milestones that can provide PR practitioners with the chance to link their clients with notable events. For example, on May 25 the original Star Wars will be 40 years old, opening up opportunities for experts who can speak to the film’s lasting effect on pop culture and movie making. In just a few weeks it’ll be the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ landmark album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which many say was the most influential recording of all time. PR people representing musicians, producers, and aging baby boomers can have their clients weigh in on its significance. In August, the calendar marks 40 years since Elvis Presley died, which opens a PR door for representatives of intervention organizations to discuss prescription drug dependency’s often tragic results. Theologians will have a lot to talk about this year because October 31 represents the quincentennial of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, the act that triggered the Protestant Reformation. And the medical industry can get some PR mileage out of the 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant on December 21.

Linking public relations efforts with milestone events is a tried-and-true way to tell a story to targeted audiences. PR professionals are well-advised to keep a close eye on the calendar. It’s filled with opportunities. Your thoughts?

54 thoughts on “OpPoRtunity-filled calendars

  1. Bianca Kroening

    Commemorating dates seems to be a great way to publicize whatever you’re representing. People love birthdays and anniversaries, and I think it’s because it’s a way to connect something that may have happened a long time ago (25, 40, 50 years ago) to the very present day. It also allows us to be grateful for a part of our world that we appreciate. It invites the re-telling of a story, and allows the continuation of a narrative.

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  2. Gabby Sully

    Being in PR and being familiar with current and past trends in pop-culture is extremely important. Last night, my family was talking about the tragedy in Times Square. No one was aware of the reason was, they just assumed he was drunk driving because they saw one article that said that and his previous DWI’s. I stated that the BAC test came back negative and that he has PTSD.
    Both and my stepsister looked at me and just said, “how do you know that?”
    Being aware and informed while in PR is important, regardless of what the news is or what anniversary is coming up.

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  3. Whitney Shepherd

    I have learned many “tricks of the trade” throughout my time in college and linking clients to a current event, holiday, or anniversary is definitely among them. Linking public relations efforts to something relatable to the publics is what we do in order to publicize our client and make the relevant in a time of quick news and 5-minute fame. I think article reminded me just how important it is to stay on top of those out of the box anniversaries or holidays we may not think of and to remind us that as public relations professionals, we can find inspiration anywhere.

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  4. sarafoxprtools

    I agree that paying attention to any milestones/events happening in the world is extremely important to stay relevant! Every morning at my internship, I do media monitoring that gets sent out to the entire company. A lot of my co-workers find some the articles I find interesting and will even pass the links onto their clients. Clients are always looking to join in on conversations.

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  5. Jenna Morace

    I completely agree with this. I think that utilizing the calendar for PR hooks is genius. It opens the door to get your company or organization out there without there being any new news about them. It is also a great way to educate the public on not only issues but issues and your organizations link to them.

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  6. gafinlayson

    Calendars are very important for PR practitioners. Wether it is for keeping track of events and things happening throughout the company, but also knowing what is happening in the world is crucial for people in PR. I especially use it for planning social media so that The Fresh Air Fund can be in the conversation with the rest of the world, but that people who might not know about the organization could learn more about it when seeing a hash tag or a post about a trending topic.

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  7. anwarahmad

    I completely agree with the fact that milestones are amazing opportunities for PR. That is why research is so essential for the public relations field. Grabbing these opportunities is essential to staying relevant and constantly relaying messages. At my internship, Corona was a client and say the agency decided to create an event for Corona on Cince De Mayo. A day was found and an opportunity was taken in order to provide coverage for corona and a day that is recognized by many people.

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  8. Kassara McElroy

    Milestones are an effective way to relate past events to current PR, expanding the reach of your clients communications to those who would not normally be interested in pop culture/current events until made relatable to a past event they are familiar with. History repeats itself and PR practitioners must remember and incorporate this in their careers.

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  9. Jennifer Im

    I completely agree with you on the importance of keeping track of major events in your industry. At my current internship, we have a separate marketing calendar outside of social planners that combine all relevant holidays so content creators can take one quick look and plan ahead. On the other hand, I can’t help but think how ridiculous it is for every little event to have a “national” holiday. I’m delighted that this post focused more on milestones and anniversaries instead of these hyped up calendar events.

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  10. Sabrina O'Neil

    This post reminds me a lot of an experience at my internship. It was the magazine’s 18th anniversary and I was on the hunt for cool 18 year olds that could be featured to help signify the date. I agree that milestones and dates are an incredible opportunity for PR practitioners to link a client and receive press. Before reading, I had not thought about these dates having such an important role in PR.

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  11. Tyler Weatherly

    I think dates and milestones are important within our society because it gives people the opportunity to remember significant emotions, events, etc. As creatures of habit, people like to remember what happened, when, and how. As I am sure all of have and all of us will, we use calendars in public relations campaigns and communications strategies in order to make sure we do -or- don’t do something on a specific date. It keeps our clients/organizations relevant in the social sphere and can give us a reason to communicate with our publics.

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  12. daniela gagliano

    Remembering key dates is so important in this industry. It’s true that an entire campaign or project can be based off of one big upcoming date or anniversary that holds relevance to you and your client. Tying in history with your client, attaches something much bigger than anything else. With making a connection like this for your client, you also open up your target public to an entirely new audience that could be turned on to a new idea you’ve presented them with.

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  13. Emily Walsh

    Linking anniversaries or events can be very useful in public relations. At my current internship, one of my projects was filling out a calendar with holidays that could be relevant to the company, and work anniversaries and birthdays. This gives us content to post to give the company a presence on social media. Milestones can also be useful when planning media initiatives or events. All in all, this is a very important part of public relations that keeps things fresh and new while reflecting upon the past!

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  14. Emily Levine

    Using milestones is a super simple way to stay in the public’s mind during times that you might otherwise have a lull. Posting on social media or hosting events surrounding milestones or national celebration days is a simple way to stay relevant all year round.

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  15. Marielle McCartin

    Using milestones is a great way to link PR to society and modern culture. National holidays and events can be very relevant to clients and make an impact on their target audiences. When pitching a client, a holiday or event can tie into the what the client wants to do and help promote the message the client is trying to give to the public. Talking about what is happening can generate conversation and attraction for the client.

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  16. elliotrubin

    I completely agree your assessment. There is something to big cultural anniversaries that unites a certain group of people who would otherwise have a lot of differences over politics, sports, and religion.

    Just as milestones and cultural anniversaries are important for society as a whole, so too is the 100 day marker an important milestone for any president. Since FDR, presidents have been measured largely, fair or not, by their competence on their first 100 days in office. Of course, each president since has had varying degrees of success, and approval ratings, of their predecessors. However, this mark is important because a successful first 100 days typically bodes well for their remaining three plus years, while a poor showing in this period has shown more of a negative effect. That is not to say that a president with a poor performance in their first hundred days will not rebound to have a successful presidency (JFK bounced back from the Bay of Pigs to start the country on the space race), however they will face more of an uphill battle. This would not have been that big of a deal had Trump not devoted a significant portion of his campaign to promises that would be fulfilled in this time-frame – of which Trump has fulfilled just one (appointing a Supreme Court justice). Had Trump not been so aggressive with his campaign promises, there is a better chance he would have been under less pressure to accomplish his goals outside of the 100 day marker.

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  17. Olivia Hayum

    Anniversaries and milestones are a perfect opportunity to host some kind of event which is a great way to get your name out, and get people engaged. It’s also a great way to emphasize credibility. If your company has been around for 50 years, you’ve probably been doing something right.

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  18. liadzayit

    I totally agree agree with this. Using holidays, dates and milestones is a great way to connect PR campaigns with the public. I have done social media for a clothing store I worked at and I made a calendar and made sure to connect all special dates to the store. Also, for PR 107 I am doing the social media part of It and for the client we are working with we made a calendar and all specific holidays i.e: Earth day, we included in the social media, It is a great way to not only make the client seem relevant but also give them a way to stay connected and to communicate with the public

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    1. Alexandra Halbert

      Milestones are so important in Public Relations. So are holidays! Not only in my PR classes have I been taught to acknowledge these moments, but also in my internships and jobs. It’s imperative to be conscious of what’s going on, even if the occasions aren’t particularly relative to your own life or interests. For instance, if Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner or if the Victoria Secret Fashion Show is on next week. Even the smaller scale events matter! That’s what society is buzzing about, that’s what’s trending- so if you can make it connect to your client…do it! This post also made me think about my PR 107 “Campaigns” course. My client is CAPS, the Child Abuse Prevention Services of Roslyn, New York. My group and I designed our entire public relations campaign around the non-profit organization’s 35th Anniversary. It was a huge hit with CAPS members and volunteers. There is no doubt in my mind that CAPS will hold this year particularly close to their hearts.

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  19. #foodienycpublicrelations

    I believe that it truly imperative for PR practitioners to keep a close eye on dates and milestones in history. Its important that our society are provided the details to the stories that are being told and that practitioners have the ability to convert that message in the best way with the most amount of detail. This why i feel it that it truly important for practitioners to keeps track of what is occurring in history.

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  20. Briana Cunningham

    When looking for a way to make a story newsworthy, one of the first things I do is look at the calendar. Whether it is a significant birthday, anniversary or holiday, dates are great way to link a client into a trending topic. I use this tactic a lot when I am creating social content for the university. Before I even start planning posts for the week, I look at the Hofstra events calendar, the general calendar and the “national day” calendar. If there is a connection, or a way to create a connection, I will be sure to take advantage of it. Milestones are a wonderful example of this because it gives clients and organizations the opportunity to reflect back and consider the change and growth that a company, individual or movement has experienced. On the other hand, it is important to keep these dates in mind so that you know what NOT to post. If you release an irrelevant, feel-good story on a somber day of remembrance, the story will either fall through the cracks or, even worse, offend people. Dates and milestones are a significant factor in the PR world.

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  21. bgmm21

    This is a really smart idea that I never really considered. Anniversaries always attract a lot of positive attention and give a great excuse to throw a large event. These events can attract a lot of positive PR and engage the publics with a lot of great feedback!

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  22. Stephanie Rubbino

    I agree that linking public relations efforts with milestone events is important to connecting with society. Milestones are the perfect time to promote and remember the anniversary of something or someone special in history. The calendar is extremely important to PR professionals in order to connect with people. The anniversary or millstone acknowledgment could also be beneficial for the future of whatever campaign they are trying to promote.

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  23. Elana Delafraz

    In many of my PR classes I have been taught to make sure I keep a close eye to major holidays and calendar events. I think it is very important for PR practitioners to make sure they are conscious of major events and holidays going on around them. For example, when I pitch to the media I make sure that I am not doing it at a crazy time for them (because my story will most likely not get featured) I have also learned that this industry is a lot about timing. Also, it is a huge opportunity to play off with major events, so why not expand on that? Overall, even though this blog post was a little political, I think it sends a really strong message.

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  24. Anonymous

    I love celebrating milestones because it’s important to look at how far we’ve come. We use the past not just to learn from mistakes, but also to measure how far we’ve come.

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  25. Erik Hansen

    By linking PR events to relevant milestones and known holidays, it becomes much easier to convey what the purpose of the event is to the general public via the association. This makes the job much easier of getting ones messages across if one already knows the message of the holiday or milestone it is associated with. For example, a donation to a civil rights organization or fund on the anniversary of MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech would already have an air of reverence and equality to it as a result of it’s association.

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  26. Emily Bravo

    As an intern, I am the one who reads the newsletters and pitch letters from different PR firms. I go through my organization’s emails. I always see pitch letters that match a date with their client’s expertise. They also match an event that recently occurred. If an event or date, that fits in with the show, is presented with a good expert…I print out the email. All emails that are printed out are sorted and then given to the head producer. The head producer decides whether if we want the segment and of the expert if someone want on our show.

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  27. Haley Moffatt

    I completely agree with this, at my internship now one of my assignments earlier in the semester was to look up holidays that could relate to a handful of clients. Looking at the calendar could be the inspiration you need to write the pitch that scores big time for your client. Little holidays and milestones are a bit of an afterthought when it comes to brainstorming ideas for your client but I think it can pay off greatly for a PR professional if utilized correctly.

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  28. Dianne Fallucca

    This idea of milestones makes me think of the many times I have been tasked with looking on a calendar to make note of “holidays”. For instance, not many people actually celebrate National Smile Day, however, a PR person may have a field day with this one. I think tying an organization to something that is relevant makes the organization seem relevant as well. To be fair, our client may not always be timely or fit into the news, but as PR people it is our jobs to manipulate current events to keep our client at the top of people’s minds.

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  29. Wendy Timana

    Dates and milestones are definitely important and I completely agree with your post. PR professionals can use important dates to publicize something. For example, many people will purchase an album or a movie just because it’s the 50th anniversary. Trump promised on his campaign trail that there will be significant changes in the first 100 days. Now that he sees that the presidency is no easy task, he completely turned his promise around and said it’s irrational to expect big changes at this state of his presidency. It’s absolutely ridiculous how he really does not want to take any responsibility or accept some defeat.

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  30. Samantha Storms

    The connection between calendar dates and public relations opportunities was one I hadn’t thought of before. It’s interesting to think about the ways in which people learn from history, preventing catastrophe and making progress as time goes on with the passing of each generation. Trump’s 100 days in office will be something PR practitioners will look back on whether or not the administration does well.

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  31. Neil A. Carousso

    The First 100 Days is also referred as the “honeymoon” phase of a presidency, but most presidents do not accomplish much legislation in this relatively short amount of time. The President still has 1,360 days after his first 100 are completed to pass his agenda. This time around, President Donald Trump wasn’t given much of a honeymoon period, if at all.

    Despite his judiciary and Congressional challenges from Democrats, President Trump worked very fast to undo Obama-era economic and environmental regulations. As a result, we’ve seen a 12 percent increase in the market. A major win was getting Justice Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, a top issue for voters, as revealed in exit-polling.

    Still, 100 days is a bench-mark, but not indicative of a presidency. It just means it is time to settle in as President Trump will work through his term, hopefully, in the best interest of the American people.

    Benchmarks spur great public relations campaigns, but they come and go. In a for-profit company, goals may be to increase sales during celebratory periods, but it is incumbent upon companies to maintain high expectations and reach goals on a continual basis. The same could be said about non-profits and governments and public officials in order to be successful.

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  32. Anonymous

    Never thought of anniversaries as a good PR opportunity, but now when I read about it, it makes perfect sense. When you find something in common between a client you are representing and a special anniversary, it basically the opportunity for free press. Those who get a hold of articles written with the name of your client involved are being advertised to. It is a very creative way of creating news or buzz.

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  33. Sam Bussell

    Milestones are extremely important to PR as they act as a reminder of what came beforehand. Milestones are things that are mostly celebrated as they are a way of telling of what happened before and how far we have come since a tragic event like the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 or historic milestone like the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Milestones act as a reminder of things that have had come before us and wether good or positive act as a reminder of where we have come as a society.

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  34. Anonymous

    Milestones are extremely important to PR as they act as a reminder of what came beforehand. Milestones are things that are mostly celebrated as they are a way of telling of what happened before and how far we have come since a tragic event like the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 or historic milestone like the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Milestones act as a reminder of things that have come before us and while either positive or negative act as a reminder for how far we have come as a world and a society.

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  35. rHwang

    I did believe that milestones were important, but did not think about it in a PR way. Now, I can see how milestones can affect a PR campaign. Using past events to link with upcoming events are important. How one can a PR practitioner uses his o her words or how creative their material can be would be important. Today, social media has taken part in representing these kinds of materials. From best red carpet fashion to worst on stage falls, social media has a way to make compilations of multiple artists and use it to “commemorate” the artist’s best or worst moments from the past and present.

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  36. Brier

    I think as a people we are genuinely fascinated with how the people before us lived and eventually died. I think its a childlike fascination with dinosaurs and cowboys or princes and princesses that really never goes away, clearly as any chance to revel in a past glory is rarely missed. PR pros should clearly take advantage of the sentimental connection many people, especially Americans, have with their history. They should use that emotion to drive a point home or capitalize on a feeling to promote the brand. It would also be a good strategy to really focus on a certain special date or holiday and tie that to your brand, so when people think of those special days, they think of your brand as well.

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  37. alyssascott97

    I never connected milestones to public relations because I simply never thought about it that way. Clearly dates have a huge significance on society and I see milestones being recognized in the media everyday. I now know it is important for a public relations representative to take note of important milestones for their clients.

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  38. Sarah Hanlon

    I think milestones are effective PR opportunities because people genuinely like to be involved in important dates. Allowing people to partake in a significant event allows them to feel like they have a role in it; if a company is celebrating 50 years, for example, its employees would most likely want to be remembered for being a part of commemorating that milestone. We like telling stories, and we like being part of good stories even more. If people have the opportunity to be involved in something that’s important and valuable to them, they will do it, which makes milestones an important factor for PR professionals to utilize.

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  39. brittanyliscoe

    Milestones are perhaps one of the most stable sources of PR opportunities, mainly because you can count of them to happen. Its so simple to take the anniversary of what could be seem as just a minor event and market it so extensively that people are eagerly awaiting the date.

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  40. Anonymous

    Dates and milestones are beneficial to be precise and to tell a story. In the case of Star Wars and Elvis, these are pop culture icons that may have affected millions, which is why they are important. As a society, we value importance and legacies. We want positive and fun events to be remembered. In PR, we need to keep up with history

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  41. Madeline Myslow

    Using milestones to commemorate someone/something and to create an event in honor of it is an important PR strategy. In my own experience, I have seen this tactic used in the world of theater, as certain productions constantly find their way back to Broadway simply because it is the 10th, 25th, or even 50th anniversary of the production. Knowing that something can stand the test of time is what keeps audiences going back. So commemorating important dates every 10 or so years keeps the person or thing relevant and allows them to continue to prosper.

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  42. jdietes04

    Linking in major mile stones is a huge PR boost for many clients. It gets people in the conversation and creates an “event” when there may not have been one. Where I currently work, Mark Morris Dance Group has been asked by Liverpool to create a dance commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. This has allowed us to get into the conversation as well as create a “summer of love” type extravaganza all summer. This has created many story opportunities for pitching purposes where we may have struggled for press otherwise.

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  43. Christina Shackett

    I am part of Danceworks Productions executive board. This year, we stumbled upon the fact that it had been 35 years since our club had been founded. With this opportunity, we were able to promote our show to alumni and even located our founders on social media to let them know of this milestone. Milestones allow for a message to be sent – to show progress, support gained, or other ideas for an organization or person. I believe that “time since” is a good way to show the public consistency or a continuing of trends.

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  44. Nicole

    I think there is a significant importance to dates. They allow us to mark monumental moments in our lives and help us remember them at a later point in time. PR practitioners should definitely utilize dates as they assist in raising awareness about something specific. A successful moment in PR is when a date is associated with the product or customer you’re representing. For example, the post gives the example May 25 and the original Star Wars. If people associate that day with Star Wars it raises awareness of that franchise and, as a result, more people on that day will be inclined to watch the movies and purchase merchandise.

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  45. Anonymous

    Dates are incredibly important to keep track of as a PR practitioner. We need to be precise and provide an accurate story. This is also a place to enter in creativity.

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  46. Brandi Hutchinson

    I definitely agree with the idea behind taking notice to milestones. Milestones always peak interest of the public and it’s important for PR representatives to grab the interest of the public of said milestones. In my opinion, the bigger the milestone, the bigger “wow” factor you are going to get. Milestones also provide specific details to events, which again, provides that “wow” factor to the public.

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  47. Michael Mastropierro

    Linking PR campaigns to historical events or anniversaries of historical events are a good idea. If the date has a significance it will be perceived as more important and more people will likely pay attention to it. People love dates and important anniversaries and milestones are always newsworthy.

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  48. Emily Barnes

    I agree, everyone typically likes to stick a date on important events as a way to acknowledge them in the future. Using the reference to a specific date in history as a way to tie in an upcoming campaign or public relations effort appears to be a fairly adequate public relations strategy as long as it’s used with caution. Certain dates hold deeper meanings to some people, so it would be smart to keep this in mind when planning out public relations moves.

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  49. Marli Delaney

    I was actually thinking about milestone events and public relations the other day after meeting and conversing with the founder of the Woodstock Music Festival when he was at Hofstra. He was telling me about how modern scholars today continue trying to analyze how this festival could have had over a million people in attendance and over five million people were outside the gates trying to attend- only by hearing about the event through word of mouth! I’m still shocked that he never used any other PR strategies (like sending out pitch letters to anyone to cover the event in newspapers), he said just a lot of phone calls were made. He told me that now he looks to the future and knows how important PR will be for Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. Hearing this was when I thought of milestones and so I asked him what he was going to do for it; he told me how he’s currently collaborating with the writing team who wrote the Jersey Boys so that they can create a broadway musical of Woodstock, and that he’s already starting to plan the 50th anniversary festival and expects to have a PR crew to spread the word out to the public (fingers crossed that he’ll hire me as I’ll have my degree by the time of the anniversary). Even though events like Woodstock won’t ever be forgotten, it is still very effective to mark and celebrate milestone events.

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  50. Haylee Pollack

    I completely agree with this. Using milestones and holidays to connect PR campaigns with the public is a great way to use creativity while being timely. With my social media work, I am constantly looking at the calendar to see how I can connect my clients to special dates. It is an excellent strategy because it not only makes the client seem relevant but gives them a reason to be communicating with the public.

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  51. Courtney Grieco

    I believe dates and milestones are so important to society because it gives us a way to be precise. We like to provide detail while telling a story, and such dates allow us to do so. Also, dates and milestones allow people to be nostalgic which can be a positive feeling. Dates are what makes it possible to keep track of our history.

    Reply

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