It was optimistic to think the US Presidential election was going to be decided quickly. As we enter the post-election anxiety stage, we in PR have to reassess any activities we have planned for the coming weeks as the vote counting days meld together.
We might not know who the winner is for a while (at the time of this writing, it seems that way) but we do know how to keep business rolling into the new year. While you shouldn't launch any clients during a tumultuous election cycle, there are windows of opportunity.
This time of year — between the election and the holidays — might seem like a dead end for client outreach, but there are things we can do.
November is going to be difficult, but not impossible. The national anxiety will eventually turn to some sense of normal, whatever that means with a global pandemic on our heels.
But while we should avoid outreach until at least post-election week, we can begin prepping our client materials for December outreach. Prepare press releases and pitch emails for different verticals, tighten up media kits and journalist mapping spreadsheets. Be ready to rumble.
There are opportunities for client activity in November, though slim. If you have a client that relates in some way to Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping then this is your time to shine and promote them.
Journalists will be searching for anything that takes their minds off the chaos, as long as it's relevant. On the other hand, it's a disservice to your client to push them as Thanksgiving or Black Friday related when they aren't. Patience is important.
After November, there is a generous window of time between the start of December and the Christmas holiday week. This is the time to push any urgent releases that can't wait until the new year.
By this time (we hope), whatever happened will have happened, and journalists and readers will likely have settled down. The truth is that the rest of the year — regardless of the winner and any social unrest that may follow — is going to be tough all around. There are just too many unknowns.
But timing in December is less stressful than in November as we're past the election and we don't have a five-day shopping, turkey and mashed potatoes with the family holiday to deal with.
So, the first three weeks of December are great for app launches, anything related to holiday gift guides, service updates, and partnership announcements. These items will find their way into the inboxes of people thirsty for something that isn't tied to the election. If you have nothing to send but you have clients that need to prepare for new year launches, you'd be doing that anyway. Carry on.
The best thing to do is stay cognizant of the fact that we have a responsibility to properly represent our clients and brands. That means not forcing anything into the marketplace that is out of place or being blissfully unaware of the world around us.
If you get the overwhelming feeling that now is not an advantageous time to send a release, then don't. Work on internal projects instead. Communicate with your clients. And start working on launches for the new year. Don't sit idle, but don't act with an impetuous lack of resolve.
There is a chance that by the time you finish reading this, or at least by the weekend, there will be a collective sigh and we can let our shoulders relax, and start typing up fresh press releases. Anything is possible.
We must remember that our clients always come first and navigating them through this wild time in history is the job right now. While we can't control the world around us, we can control how we represent our clients within it, and move forward with a full vote of confidence in our PR strategies.
Ayelet Noff is the founder and CEO of SlicedBrand, a global PR agency headquartered in Berlin.