With 2023 upon is, it’s important to get to grips with the key dates, new trends and specific themes the year has to offer, to secure the maximum press coverage for the year, writes Press Loft’s founder, Nicola Snell …
Journalists look for products that fit into a variety of themes and trends each month depending on the season, colours of the year or key events. For example, they often cover pastel items in spring, or garden furniture in summer, as well as more obscure ones like sofabeds and spare seating ideas for Christmas articles. If you plan your PR well you will dramatically increase the amount of coverage you secure.
To help make your PR planning successful, I’ve compiled a four-step plan, along with a free PR calendar …
Five websites for sourcing dates
The first step is to research all of the potential dates, seasons and trends that may work for your company. It can be time consuming, but here are five great websites we use for quicker PR planning …
Readly.com. Look at previous issues of titles you want to appear in, both online and in print, to find topics they previously covered. For print issues, Readly.com is a great option to carry out research, as it aggregates thousands of magazines and newspapers in one place.
awarenessdays.com. Find charity and awareness days that could work as a great angle for promotion (such as Fairtrade Fortnight or Think Pink). Be aware that you can only use these as angles for promotion if you are genuinely supporting the campaign.
imdb.com, for film releases coming up. These can make the ideal focus for a press release if your products match – for example, the Americana trend was a good press release topic around Maverick, and Regencycore was on trend when Bridgerton came out.
www.trendbible.com. Trends (such as Maximalism, Scandi or Japandi) are one of the best topics for generating the maximum press coverage. They are frequently seen in interior articles. trendbible is superb for trend research. Although they have a paid service, there are some great free trend reports, and also good content on their blog.
Pantone.com. Colours also make excellent angles for press releases. There are seasonal colours which come up in articles every year – for example, spring articles always feature pastel products, summer has tropical tones, autumn has oranges and browns, and winter has richer tones – but also colour trends specific to that year (for example, browns, greens and oranges will be big in 2023).
Colour trends are one of the best choices for press releases. Pantone releases their Colour of the Year in December each year, and it is always worth sending out a press release in relation to this if you have any suitable products. Make sure to also take a look at their blog and socials for other emerging colour trends.
Once you have a list of potential dates, find the ones that your products fit into and select the best. Ideally, have one or two subjects and themes per month.
Two vital image styles for maximum press coverage
When you have identified all of the dates that are relevant to your brand and products, you will need to make sure that you have your images press-ready. This means all images need to be high-resolution, 300dpi and JPEG format.
We also advise having your photography in two styles: cut-out (images placed on a pure white background), which make up 60% of the coverage generated and are ideal for ‘get the look’ and moodboard-style features; and lifestyle images (in a roomset), which generate 40% of coverage but make the larger features and front covers, and are increasingly popular for online features.
Lead times – the key to maximising coverage
You then need to plot these dates into your PR calendar – but not in the month the events fall! Journalists work ahead, and a ‘lead time’ is the gap in between when they start working on the article and when the article is published. For example, a journalist typically starts working on garden furniture articles in April, even though the article is published in July, so PRs need to contact the media about garden articles in April to make sure they don’t miss their deadlines. We recommend working on a three-month lead time.
The formula for a perfect press release title
Once you have your calendar planned out, each month you need to write your press releases. The idea is to ‘hook’ your relevant products into these key themes and write press releases around them. You can get lots of press release inspiration on pressloft.com – the title is the most important part, as this will get your press release opened by telling the media exactly what is in it.
We have devised the following formula to maximise press release open rates: (New/Just launched) + Product Type + Trend/Season/Event.
If the item is new, include the words ‘New’ or ‘Just Launched’. Then include the product type (for example, sofas or dining chairs) and include the season or trend (it might be spring, pastels or maximalism). You don’t need to stick to the same order given in the formula, but it is important that those words are in the title so the journalist knows exactly what to expect. PR is a very competitive game and the journalists are time poor, which means they are more likely to open your release if they know what is in it and it resonates with what they are working on.
To illustrate the formula in action, here are some examples: new maximalist sofa collection from [company name]; garden furniture for summer from [company name]; and new floral print dining chairs.
Once you have planned your PR from start to finish, remember to keep adding to your calendar throughout the year. New trends come out all the time, so make sure you keep an eye on those and add them into your planner as they appear.
To summarise, PR planning is vital to maximise every PR opportunity and drive maximum coverage for your furniture – and we have a ready-made PR calendar for 2023 that you can download from here.
Pictured: Colour trends are one of the best choices for press releases, says Nicola (image courtesy iStock/simon2579)