Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and news outlets across the country will carry tributes and survivors’ stories. But what if your organization had planned to launch a new campaign tomorrow or hold a press conference releasing the findings of a major study? Is this a day to reconsider?
We’ve talked in the past about the importance of keeping an editorial calendar and using it to help guide the publishing of your content. LightBox has a terrific resource to use as a starting place, and now is a good time to review and update your calendar as we’re four months into the year. Be sure to note what’s worked so far and continue to add to it.
However, marking dates on your calendar with creative news hooks is only part of the equation; keeping an eye toward blackout dates of when not to publish your content is equally important. For example, our last blog post used April Fool’s Day tricks to inspire creative ways to get attention to your cause. But while April 1st might be good to highlight the lighter (or cheekier) side of your work, it is probably not the best day to release a white paper on cancer research or announce a major new finding on climate change.
Similarly, anniversaries of national tragedies are also dates to fully think through before publishing or launching. Over time, the associations with the anniversaries can certainly shift; the anniversary of D-Day holds a very different meaning fifty years later than it did on the first anniversary. Be conscience of this fact and use your sensitivity and wisdom to decide if your content can wait.
If you need some help researching major news stories, Zapaday is an open news calendar that allows you to track by topic and flag new events as they emerge. Also, the Newseum keeps an online archive of national and international newspaper front pages that chronicles events of historical significance. And if you’d like to read some good advice on dealing with social media during a national crisis, Razorfish’s Matt Heindl offers terrific guidance in “Social Media Guidelines During National Tragedies.”
The bottom line: as you continue to tailor your editorial calendar to suit your specific organization or cause, be sure to also include blackout dates of when not to launch a new campaign or seek media attention. Remember, sometimes the best message is silence.
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