How to use awareness days in your marketing strategy

By Pelican Consultant Emma Scott

6 minute read

Key takeaways

  • Awareness days can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy
  • Avoid ‘jumping on the band wagon’ by only targeting relevant events
  • Used correctly, awareness days can boost your PR activity, strengthen your reputation and increase your social media presence.

My daughter recently took part in ‘Wear a Hat day’ to help her school raise money for Brain Tumour Research. She asked me if there was a special day for everything, and I told her there probably was. Being nine years old she asked if there was a ‘national poop day’. It’s on February 7 in case you’re interested.

Clearly some events are designed to draw attention to important causes, while others are just a bit of fun, and both kinds are worth incorporating into your PR and marketing strategy if they fit your brand and are relevant to your overall purpose.

But while national/days/weeks/months can be an effective way to raise awareness, money or interest, capitalising on them can also come off as a shameless publicity stunt, undermining your message and potentially damaging your reputation.

Here are our top tips on how to incorporate awareness events into your marketing strategy.

Be selective and relevant.

The first thing to be conscious of is not just joining in with awareness days for the sake of it; make sure you’re only using them when they really align with your overall business strategy. Pick a few to use in your content marketing and, while it’s OK to have fun with the more frivolous days, try not to make the link too tenuous. With your purpose and audience always front of mind, look for awareness days with a genuine connection to your product or service.

Use those hashtags.

Using hashtags appropriately is a common headache for businesses, but awareness days will usually have an associated hashtag ready for you to use in your social media posts. These provide a great opportunity to start a conversation and enable people to find and contact you, thus building your audience.

Think like a journalist.

If you’re thinking about using an awareness day to target specific press, it’s worth spending some time making sure journalists are actually interested before moving forward. Shortlisting the days you’d like to use then researching the press coverage for those days across previous years will give you a good idea of if your efforts are likely to pay off.

Make sure it’s a good match.

If using awareness days in your PR strategy, ensure they’re a good fit for your brand. While some awareness days are versatile and just about any type of business can use them, (such as Random Acts Of Kindness Day), others simply won’t be suitable for your brand. And before posting anything, make sure you know what the day is in aid of to avoid an embarrassing faux pas. For example, if you’re a bike retailer, gym or cycling enthusiast, Bicycle Day might seem right up your street. However, Bicycle Day – not to be confused with World Bicycle Day – actually commemorates the first recorded LSD “trip” by Albert Hofmann in 1943.

If it doesn’t exist, create your own.

It seems unlikely there won’t be a day, week or month of awareness you can use to support your campaign, but if not, you have a real opportunity. One of our more notable campaigns was Recycle Now Week, a national campaign we created to inspire the public to recycle more household waste.

In the months preceding Recycle Now Week, environmental issues had become hugely fashionable. A host of A-list celebs had noisily announced their green credentials, a re-usable shopping bag had become the summer’s must-have fashion accessory, and a raft of style mags had proclaimed that green was the new black. We chose to capitalise on this phenomenon by pursuing a glamorous, fashion-focused campaign theme. More than 160 events were held across England, Scotland and Wales and our marketing toolkit was used extensively to support this activity. The campaign secured extensive national TV, radio and newspaper coverage worth almost £1m.

Since awareness days are known long in advance, you can plan your content way ahead of time, and if used correctly, they can boost your PR activity, strengthen your reputation and increase your social media presence.

If you’re looking for a little extra help with your PR, marketing or social media, then why not chat to us about how we can help?

Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment & CSRfoodpackaging & logistics and trade association sectors and offers a range of services such as strategydesigncontent creationpublic relations and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.

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