Public Relations

Fitting a PR Campaign to Themes

Calendars, schedules, to-do lists, reminders. There are countless ways for PR pros to  get organized and, consequently, they can become overwhelmed. For many brands, there are natural tie-ins for campaigns throughout the year like consumer campaigns tied to holiday gift-giving or summer barbecues. But for other organizations, the annual tie-ins may not be as clear, such as those for a manufacturer or research institute.

Whether it’s for a pitch, creating content or executing an event, if you’re struggling to find a creative way to promote evergreen storylines, then try to adapt some of these ideas for your PR efforts.

Editorial calendars

In the traditional sense, media outlets release editorial calendars in order to sell ads. Trade magazines do this frequently, listing which topics and rankings they plan to cover in the upcoming year. It’s worth taking a shot and pitching editors of a given publication a few months in advance saying, “I saw this issue will focus on ___ topic. If you’re looking for storylines, I’m happy to share how ___ is approaching the issue or help offer alternative spokespeople.”

Even if you can’t place something every month, showing an editor that you’re willing to help them find story ideas for assignments they already have will help build positive relationships moving forward.

‘National day’ hashtags

No matter what sector you’re in, I’m willing to bet there is a “national day” holiday that your brand can participate in via social media. It’s not just #NationalIceCreamDay and #TacoTuesday type hashtags that take over your feed. I’ve seen hashtags for manufacturing week, economic development week and more.

I work with economic development organizations and one way that we leveraged #InternationalCoffeeDay for a global client was by highlighting coffee companies from around the world that have invested in the country (which was my client) — it was a fun way to bring B2B investment messaging into a mainstream conversation.

It also helps to consider if a national day or trending hashtag could tell the story of an employee who works for your company, rather than only thinking about the surface level. There are really good calendars available on Hubspot and Sprout Social.

Historical events and milestones

OK, so maybe there aren’t really any hashtags you’ve found to latch onto and maybe your organization or client doesn’t care about media results in trade press.

What about considering historical events? Is your company tied closely to the local community? Was it founded after a political or social turning point? Is it your company’s anniversary or is another milestone being hit like a record number of employees or clients?

Whatever it may be, find something that you and your audience will want to celebrate.


No matter how your team plans your PR calendar and themes throughout the year, make sure that it’s balanced. If your organization or client has different products, verticals or audiences, then you should try to touch on them all equally.

How else do you come up with themes for your PR team to focus on throughout the year? Here’s to a content-filled year ahead!

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of PRSA Strategies & Tactics.

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