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PR Lessons From This Summer’s Hit Shows

Summer TV, Digital CommunicationsThere’s no denying that the world moves a little slower during the summer months. As the weather gets warmer, there’s a sudden uptick in out-of-offices from colleagues, clients and media contacts alike. It’s easy (and common) to unintentionally let productivity slide into a complacent state.

Surprisingly, a few lessons to avoid summer complacency can be pulled from one of the biggest productivity killers out there – television. Succeeding in the face of the summer slump is a feat that the TV industry has more than mastered. Every spring, a collection of viewers’ favorite shows all come to an end, but rather than falling into oblivion, the industry seizes the moment to introduce fresh ideas and experiment with new concepts. Take a closer look at a few of this summer’s top shows and apply their lessons to your PR campaigns to keep them invigorated and full of momentum through September and beyond.

True Blood: Unusual Combinations Make for Magic

For those of you tuning into HBO’s most fantastically ridiculous hit show, you’ll be exposed to a whirlwind of vampires, witches, faeries, werewolves, shifters and fire demons (that’s right, fire demons.). It’s a combination so complex it almost makes your head spin. Yet, it works, and audiences are as passionate as ever.

Finding the right combination of plot lines (or trends) can be remarkably rewarding for a TV show, as well as for your PR campaign. Have a client focused on big data? See what happens when you tie big data trends to the transportation industry and CRM. Unusual or unexplored combinations can deliver impressive results in the form of niche media coverage, social engagement around quirky content or spikes in traffic to your unique blog post.

The Newsroom: Take It Back To the Basics

One of HBO’s newest series, the Newsroom narrates the dramatic journey of newscaster Will McAvoy and his news team as they strive to transform their nightly news show from a bias, hype-driven production back to what news was meant to be – an open, educated source of information.

The lesson is less-than-subtle in the show, but nevertheless inspiring. In a world that is uber-focused on entertainment over information and buzz over truth, it pays off to go back to the basics. The same goes for your PR tactics. Take a step back and relieve your team from the pressure to constantly deliver new and better-than-the-last ideas. Instead, focus on your client’s core business and re-emphasize their message to key media contacts. Setting up company update briefings, building pitches around corporate roadmaps and securing coverage on the state of the industry are all positive steps towards steering the campaign back to the basics.

Political Animals: Current Events Cultivate Excitement  

USA’s summer drama, Political Animals, follows a fictional former first-family as they weave their way through the complex political landscape, using presidential elections and foreign affairs to lead the plot. The timely topic connects with viewers’ interest around the increased political buzz of election campaigning. In a similar manner, sourcing creative PR tactics from current events and trends is an excellent way to increase campaign momentum. Teams should build tactical plans, such as pitches, blog content and website features using timely topics as a platform. If there is a popular sporting event, highlight a client’s customer in the sporting and entertainment industry. For retail clients, use high volume buying seasons to highlight strategic supply chain management.

Now is the time to embrace proactivity to keep your traditional and digital campaigns from becoming another victim of the summer slump – and all you have to do is watch a little television for a spark of inspiration!

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