By Jamie Wilson, Lead Publisher at Bottle PR.
In total there are over 1,500 awareness days recognised across the globe in a single year, according to AwarenessDays.com. These range from renowned heavyweights like Pride Month and Mental Health Week, to the more light-hearted like Gorgeous Grandma Day and British Sandwich Week.
With so much going on, telling the serious ones apart from those that are more tongue-in-cheek can be a challenge. If I had a penny for every time a reporter or radio presenter jokingly asked whether it was ‘World Bidet’ during our client’s World Bee Day campaign this year…
And while you might find the idea of dedicating a whole day to this throwback bathroom appliance ludicrous, it’s actually not that far from the truth. On the 19 November 2021, people around the world will observe what is known as ‘World Toilet Day’ – an awareness day originated by the United Nations to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis and the 4.2 billion people who live without access to clean toilets.
Regardless of whether the message behind it is humorous or meant in earnest, awareness days can present brands with the perfect media hook to elevate a key message or align themselves with a particular topic.
But in such a crowded arena, finding the right ones can be a time-consuming minefield. And even when you think you’ve got the perfect fit, there’s still a media mountain to climb, with no guarantee that a journalist will cover your story. However, that’s not to say it’s not worth it. On the contrary, putting in the time to get it right can wield HUGE results.
The simple mantra to keep repeating to yourself is ‘do I have something new and exciting to offer?’ Too many brands simply jump on the bandwagon with lukewarm content that’s pre-destined to get lost in the noise. Remember, an awareness day is not a story in itself. Therefore, if you want a journalist to cover your content, you need to have something worth covering. This could be new research, the launch of a campaign, or simply doing something out of the ordinary.
You should also remember that you’ll be competing with other brands on the day. Therefore, preparation becomes key. Identifying the most important awareness days for your client should be first up on the agenda. Then beaver through what your competitors’ key PR messages have been in the last three months, say. With your PR head on, you can probably work out what theme they’ll write their story on, so you can sense-check you don’t double up (and worse, lose out).
This should be followed by prepping and pitching your angle a couple of weeks in advance so that you stand a better chance in cutting through on your chosen awareness hook.
With that (good) story prepped, pitched and secured ahead of the day itself, not even a Hollywood actress or the latest politician fumble (as I almost lost out to around World Bee Day), can get in your way.
The lesson here: nailing a media story on a global awareness day takes serious graft. Give yourself as much time as possible: those few extra weeks can be make or break when it comes to long-lead journalists.
Rest assured, though – with a truly unique story and the right preparation, the day will be one worth remembering!