Build an All-Year Publicity Machine

June 2005
by Bill Stoller

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If you’re like most publicity seekers, you probably think about one project at a time. You’ve got a new book coming out in July, so you send out a release in June. For hard-core publicity insiders, though, there’s a rhythm to generating coverage, based on the natural ebb and flow of the seasons. Such an approach can help you score publicity throughout the year.

Essentially, it embodies two strategies:

timing your existing stories (new product introductions, oddball promotions, business page features, etc.) to fit the needs of the media during particular times of the yearcrafting new stories to take advantage of events, holidays, and seasonal activities

Before we run through my four seasons of publicity plan, a few words about lead time. In this age of immediacy (when a Matt Drudge or a CNN can write a story and put it before millions in only a few seconds), it’s easy to forget that lead time for many print publications and TV shows can be weeks–and sometimes months. For example, you’d probably have to send a story about a Christmas book to an entertainment magazine by September 15 at the latest, so that the editor can review and change the piece, the issue can be typeset and printed, and distributors can place it on newsstands before December. Lead time can range from a day (for hard-news pieces in newspapers) to a few days (for newspaper features), a few weeks (for weekly magazines), or many months.

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