Plotting Your 2005 PR Strategy

Last year, the election dominated the headlines. From “Dean’s Scream” to blogger’s exit poll numbers, there was no bigger story than the election. In 2005, the media will have to find new sources to fill up all those inches and minutes between ads.

As I did last year, I’ve once again cobbled together a list of what I think will be making headlines this year, and I’ve offered up some food for thought as well. I’ve also provided a handy list of important dates. Please note that the news-cycle ideas I’ve listed below are in no particular order.

The News Cycle In 2005


1. Red States vs. Blue States heats up with Republican grip on Capitol Hill
2. Gay marriage issue far from over
3. Social Security on the front burner
4. It’s the economy, stupid
5. Illegal immigration

Food For Thought: Take advantage of the “division” in America with stories about how products or services cut across the red state/blue state divide, or how your company deals with workforces separated by more than just geographic distance. Social security is going to be the biggest issue on Capitol Hill, and it’s an issue that has an impact on every American. Stay away from the gay marriage issue unless it directly affects your business or organization.


1. Tsunami relief continues and the aftermath of the disaster continues to unfold
2. Elections in Iraq
3. China’s economy lands softly or falls hard
4. Terrorism
5. Europe’s economy

Food For Thought: Don’t try to latch onto the tsunami story unless you have something extraordinary to tell the world. Find a way to get some ink out of China, because sooner or later it’s going to start to dominate the headlines. Be on the lookout for a lot of stories about how companies are either competing with or doing business in China.


1. China and its impact on the world
2. Tort reform and its impact on the health care and insurance industries
3. The weak dollar, interest rates and inflation
4. Oil prices
5. Stock option expensing and the impact on “New Economy” companies

Food For Thought: China again! Oh well, there’s always tort reform, which is going to affect any company that carries some serious liability. For or against tort reform, you better start writing editorials, letters to the editor and making your company or organization’s view known. If the weak dollar strengthens, be wary of a flood of imports and lower earnings at internationally-levered companies.


1. Convergence is here, but it’s coming through telecoms and cable companies, not the ‘Net
2. Blog and pay-per-click advertising fatigue
3. Dot-com Boom Part II: real or imagined?
4. Digital music services on the go
5. Everyone’s war on Microsoft

Food For Thought: If you’re in the middle of the telecom vs. cable battle, take advantage of it now. The bigger story will be what flavor-of-the-year will replace blogging and pay-per-click advertising as the “next big thing.” Remember social networking? This year it could be about online real estate and classifieds – and little known ‘Net names that come out of nowhere to become major players.


1. Hybrid SUVs are coming!
2. Bundled services
3. Consumer credit quality begins to deteriorate
4. Easy cash from mortgage refinance boom is gone. How will consumers spend?
5. Airline crunch leads to increased travel

Food For Thought: The airline story will continue to be intriguing, providing ample opportunity to get in some frequent flier quotes. But the consumer picture is going to be all about spending as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and the real estate market begins to cool.


1. Steroids in baseball
2. 2012 Summer Olympic host announcement
3. Baseball returns to the nation’s capital
4. The fate of college football’s Bowl Championship Series
5. Professional hockey’s future

Food For Thought: New York will be hot if it gets the Olympics, and that means plenty of local angles reaching a national audience.

Entertainment/Pop Culture:

1. “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” return
2. I heard the “F” word on CNBC today. What does the FCC have to say about that?
3. Has reality television had its day in the sun?

Food For Thought: When does the new Polyphonic Spree album come out?


1. Wanted: Newspaper readers
2. Terrestrial radio fast approaches its D-Day
3. Blogging goes mainstream, sort of

Food For Thought: Let the media wallow in its own filth and use them to your advantage whenever possible!

Holiday Calendar Interesting to note that Independence Day falls on a Monday and Veteran’s Day on a Friday this year, setting up three-day weekends and having a more lasting impact on editorial calendars and news flow. Likewise, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are both on Monday’s, setting up the preceding weekend editions for big last-minute stories.

Holidays with an asterisk (*) preceding them indicate that the stock market is closed on these days. This is significant because when the stock market is closed, business/financial sections in daily newspapers are often thinned for those particular days and the day immediately following. Make a push for trend or feature pieces on these days as, without any market action to write about, reporters are looking for interesting stories to fill news holes.

* Monday January 17 – Martin Luther King Day
Wednesday February 2 – Groundhog Day
Tuesday February 8 – Mardi Gras
Wednesday February 9 – Ash Wednesday
Wednesday February 9 – Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster)
Monday February 14 – Valentine’s Day
* Monday February 21 – President’s Day
Friday March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Sunday March 20 – Palm Sunday
Sunday March 20 – Earth Day
* Friday March 25 – Good Friday
Sunday March 27 – Easter
Monday March 28 – Easter Observed
Sunday April 24 – Passover
Sunday May 8 – Mother’s Day
* Monday May 30 – Memorial Day
Sunday June 19 – Father’s Day
* Monday July 4 – Independence Day
* Monday September 5 – Labor Day
Sunday September 11 – Patriot’s Day
Tuesday October 4 – Rosh Hashanah
Wednesday October 5 – Ramadan begins
Monday October 10 – Columbus Day
Thursday October 13 – Yom Kippur
Monday October 31 – Halloween
Friday November 11 – Veteran’s Day
* Thursday November 24 – Thanksgiving
* Friday November 25 – Stock market closes early
Sunday December 25 – Christmas
Monday December 26 – Chanukah begins
Monday December 26 – Kwanzaa begins
* Monday December 26 – Christmas observed
Saturday December 31 – New Year’s Eve

Political Calendar

Thursday January 20 – Presidential Inauguration
Wednesday February 2 – President’s State of the Union Address
Tuesday November 8 – Gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia

Trade Show Calendar

Too numerous to list, see Tradeshow Week’s directory.

The Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) takes place this week in Las Vegas, and it reigns supreme as the nation’s most popular trade show, at least when it comes to media coverage.

Sports/Entertainment Calendar

Sunday January 16 – Golden Globe Awards
Sunday February 6 – Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida
Sunday February 13 – Grammy Awards
Sunday February 20 – Daytona 500
Sunday February 27 – Academy Awards
April 2 to April 4 – Men’s NCAA Basketball Final Four in St. Louis
April 3 to April 5 – Women’s NCAA Basketball Final Four in Indianapolis
Friday April 15 – Washington Nationals play first regular season major league baseball game in Washington, D.C., since 1971
Wednesday July 6 – International Olympic Committee announces host city for 2012 Summer Olympic Games

This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (, a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

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