This month (September) national and international awareness days include sourdough, childhood cancer, Urology, Alzheimer’s, Fun Fairs and International week of happiness at work. A real mixed bag wouldn’t you say?
You all know the origins of #Bluemonday yes? If not, briefly, it was a day settled on by a life coach and psychologist and included in a press release in 2005 from a travel company to encourage holiday bookings, to cheer people up on the ‘saddest day of the year’. It’s quite the surprise that it grew legs and a life of its own and (some) people now accept that it is indeed factually the saddest day of the year. Clever huh?
Anyhoo I digress. I do believe that awareness days have their purpose. Awareness Days are a great way to focus attention on a cause or issue, to educate, to inform, to raise funds. Some of them have become incredibly well established, like Macmillan Coffee Mornings, and Earth Day and Talk Like a Pirate day.
One of my bugbears about them is the disparity between what gets a day and what gets a week or month. International Women’s Day for example – one flipping day. National pie week – pies get a whole week??
Unless you are a Macmillan/the ‘owner/creator’ of the day, involvement in awareness day is likely to be around creating your own internal comms to inform, engage, or celebrate staff; or external PR where you might be shouting about what you are doing in your sector that aligns with the issue, or creating some social media updates/stories around the issue. Another bugbear, and quite frankly lazy comms, is when I see organisations ‘supporting’ campaigns with “happy insert hashtag plus emoji”. If I did emojis there would be a facepalm here. If it’s not your sector or you have nothing to say on the matter, keep quiet. It’s far better to put your energy and focus on the awareness days and issues that do matter.
Whatever business you are in there is likely to be an awareness day to hang your hat on. There’s a web resource here you might find useful https://www.awarenessdays.com/
And if there isn’t one you could try to creating your own. That’s what Ed balls did! Not really, but Ed Balls day is a funny day on Twitter, when users like to remind him of his early faux pas of tweeting his own name when he’d intended to search for it.
To sum up, I’d say, get involved in the relevant awareness days for your industry/sector. Find the relevant ones and add them into your content calendar. Build up stories so you have something prepped and ready. Get images, quotes, human angles. Keep it simple. Stay away from those that aren’t relevant. It’s a waste of time and effort, and it shows when you aren’t really invested.