Roger Fisk
5 min readAug 24, 2021

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Part 4; Building a Strategic Calendar

We can’t persuade if we don’t have people’s attention. With that in mind, the 12-month calendar has two main windows for the introduction of new initiatives, products, or any other sort of news-seeking announcements: the fall and spring.

Why do I say that? Hand me that Sharpie and I will cross off all no-fly zones, so we don’t waste time and energy.

People un-plug for the summer. You can keep something going, maintain brand allegiance with playful summer lifestyle messaging, but no one is introducing anything in the summer unless it is a new sunscreen, and even then, they should have started in the spring. So, let’s cross off June, July, and August. In Part 1, I talked about weekends being news graveyards, so let’s cross off Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays all year.

And right there, in less than 10 seconds, we have taken almost 200 days out of consideration.

Early December — mid-February are mostly out as well for a few reasons. Holiday marketing eliminates almost all media oxygen in December. Every non-profit and charity is clogging inboxes in search of those end of year donations before the ball drops, and public schools are out from Dec 20’s-ish to early January so the kids are home.

This leaves us two windows for getting people’s attention: September- early December, then February to late-May. These windows are the Boardwalk and Park Place of the Attention Economy.

Here in the US, Labor Day fires the starting gun on an intense period of activity that runs up to, but stops short of, the December holidays. The school year starts. Odd years mean local elections and even mean national. It is a traditional time of harvest, and in business, be it agrarian or not, September is serious business. In 15 of the last 17 years, September has been emblematic of what the S&P 500 does overall for that year. So goes September, so goes the year.

September provides our Tuesday at 11am announcement’s promotion a fertile field for engaging our target audiences, getting their attention, and persuading them about the value of our product, service, policy initiative or cause.

We want 4 weeks of run-up to our product or policy announcement so we can set the table with the social media and press outreach discussed in earlier pieces. That pushes us past early September when public schools are starting, and campuses fill up. We also want a week or more *after* our announcement to continue the drumbeat of amplification, so we don’t want to prematurely punctuate our engagement efforts with Halloween. This leaves us looking at driving our engagement campaign through September to an announcement in early October.

After factoring all the above, we arrive at the date of our press-seeking announcement; Tuesday October 5 at 11am (EST.) and we will begin promotions and engaging our target demographic Tuesday September 7th.

That September Tuesday we start driving social and digital content to frame our issue. The easy way to think of this is one theme a week for the month between Sept 7th and culminating October 5th. In Parts 1,2 and 3, I used millennials, business leaders and faith leaders as our hypothetical demographic targets, and we will splinter the value of our announcement into mini-themes for each of the four weeks leading into Oct 5.

We used a hypothetical of a financial institution unveiling a new retirement savings program, so Week 1, Planning for Security. Week 2; What if There is An Emergency? Week 3; Enjoying Life Week 4; Grandchildren. Each of these are themes around which we can build social content and slowly start to get the water warming up for our announcement, and within these themes we can weave content specifically for our faith or business leaders (this hypothetical retirement product can sidestep millennials for now).

This 4-week framework, with a specific emphasis each week leading into our announcement, can apply to virtually any issue, cause, or product. When I did a project for a national group that represented small-medium farms, food co-ops and farm to table restaurants, in broad strokes we framed Week1 around independent fishermen, Week 2 around a young couple embarking on farming, Week 3 on Food Workers and Week 4 on Hunger, and this all allowed us to humanize the issues at play while building traffic and cultivating clicks. The organizers generated the core material while we encouraged allies and supporters to post similar content, giving each week a binding theme with the capacity for personalization and regionalization but still building towards a unified, harmonic goal on October 5th.

This 4-week drumbeat is also important with coalitions where multiple groups or affiliations are involved. It often takes *a while* to get a group moving and producing, so our 4-week model helps get the blood flowing in our partner organizations, so their members have clicked on and shared a half dozen posts or articles before we need them for announcement amplification in the week of October 5. All cylinders must be firing in Week 5, and the 4-week model is invaluable in getting the machinery to maximum speed and capacity.

It is also important to give a thorough review to our calendar to find built-in themes and vehicles we can use in our outreach and social media. For example, just in September; the 3rd is National Food Bank Day, 4th National Wildlife Day, 15th National Online Learning Day, and the dichotomous 18th is both National Gymnastics Day and National Cheeseburger Day. My point is there are natural thematic hooks embedded in the calendar waiting to be leveraged to help you raise awareness and visibility.

This is how we pick our shots strategically on the calendar and avoid dead zones where attention is already focused elsewhere.

Part 1 focused on Tuesday at 11am and how to both promote and amplify your announcement. Part 2 dug into building a compelling speaking program that highlights the value or importance of your announcement and uses the voices of your target demographic for maximum persuasion. Part 3 anatomized how you can weave visuals into every consumer touch point and maximize your message penetration, and finally Part 4 has come full circle and taken the entire year calendar and pinpointed a specific day for your press-seeking announcement.

Use all of these and I’m confident you will greatly enhance your chance of reaching your target demographic, getting their attention, and persuading them.

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