Sarah Whelband | Awareness days – clever or pointless PR tactic?
Awareness days or weeks have long been used by PR firms as a way of raising the profile of a specific cause or product or issue. But with more awareness days than there are actual days in the year now
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Awareness days – clever or pointless PR tactic?

09 Sep Awareness days – clever or pointless PR tactic?

Every day seems to now be coined a National Day this, or National Awareness Week that. For example, I’ve recently seen National Dog Day make the rounds on social media, swiftly followed by National Burger Day (the two aren’t linked, I promise!)

Awareness days or weeks have long been used by PR firms as a way of raising the profile of a specific cause or product or issue. But with more awareness days than there are actual days in the year now, it’s no wonder that more than half just sink into oblivion without any media coverage appearing at all. It’s simply not enough of an excuse anymore for journalists to cover a story.

We are in danger of achieving national awareness day fatigue, and I’m sure that journalists sometimes feel the same. There are some amazing awareness days and weeks out there, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, which really help to draw attention to such an important cause.

Don’t get me wrong, an awareness day can be a great hook to issue some news, but it’s important not to be doing it for the sake of it, or if the link between your brand and the issue is somewhat tenuous. It’ll make you look lazy, and will do more harm for your company than good.

But with the rise of social media, there are ways to still create a buzz around an awareness day and create engagement with consumers. A recent campaign that successfully did the rounds included #nomakeupselfie which raised millions for Cancer Research in just a few days. If consumers feel they can do something to get involved and use it to attract attention to their own social media profile; that appeals to them. But social media can be unpredictable, and what worked last time might not this time. But it’s a different tactic to try.

Overall, yes, it seems to be that awareness days have had their time, and journalists are tiring of them. However, there is still room to use them as a hook, but there are some essentials. It’s important that the link to your brand is strong, and that any activity you do is meaningful and appealing to your target audience. There must be a reason why, so a clear call-to-action is important. Finally, think about social media as the vehicle to draw attention to your cause rather than traditional media tactics, it helps to bring the awareness day concept into today’s society and gives it a bit of a refresh! But bear in mind that it’s a tactic that isn’t guaranteed, but if you are willing to give it a shot, then go for it!

If you’d like some advice on how you can raise the profile of an issue or campaign, then please get in contact, and I can help you to put some strategy behind it, and have some fun creating ideas with you too!

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