How to Use the Holidays and a PR Calendar to Earn Media Coverage

In digital PR, it’s important to keep an eye on the calendar and not just for the obvious reasons. While you’re tracking timelines and deadlines, be mindful of those holidays, events, and seasons that can affect the success of your campaign.

What is Seasonal Storytelling?

Simply put, seasonal storytelling is using the calendar to your advantage. It’s strategically using holidays, seasonal events, and special days to aid your content creation and outreach strategies for your digital PR campaigns. 

Seasonal storytelling isn’t hard, but successful seasonal storytelling does take proper planning. 

That’s where we have you covered. In this post, we’ll explain how you can use seasonal storytelling in your work and provide you with the ultimate 2023 seasonal storytelling calendar to get you started. Let’s dive in. 

Storytelling Using Traditional Holidays

Holidays are relatively easy to plan for because they’re already on the calendar. These are days like July 4th, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. They’re widely recognized (and often federal holidays), meaning government offices, schools, and major companies observe them. 

Here is where you put your tangential thinking cap on. Instead of making content explicitly about the holiday, create pieces that can easily tie into the holiday news cycle. For example, the Fourth of July happens during the summer months and generally includes outdoor time, cookouts, fun on the water, and fireworks. There are countless content topics that journalists could run in coordination with the holiday

Holiday-inspired content examples:

We’ve created lots of content campaigns that lend themselves to seasonal storytelling around the holidays. Since we discussed the Fourth of July already, let’s talk about some of the content we launched in coordination with Independence Day.

Map showing the most BBQ-obsessed cities

Here is a piece we did about America’s love for barbeque. Fourth of July is synonymous with grilling and food so this piece tied in perfectly. We used Google Trends to identify the most barbeque-obsessed cities in the country. The publication of this piece was in mid-May, which allowed it to hit multiple grilling holidays (Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and July 4th). 

While it wasn’t explicitly about Independence Day, there’s a clear tie into the news cycle before/after/during the holiday weekend. 

Holiday-focused content examples:

In other content pieces, we do specifically mention the holiday. This strategy works really well when the holiday closely aligns with your client’s brand and services. For example, it makes sense for a paper company that prints greeting cards to do an explicit Valentine’s Day campaign or a shipping company to do an explicit Christmas/Hanukkah shopping piece. 

The more broadly celebrated the holiday, the less risky this approach.

A map showing the most popular Halloween candy in each state

Considerations for holiday-focused content:

  • What’s the media appetite for content around this holiday? Are there certain narrative arcs around the holiday that predictably resonate with journalists —  i.e. shopping around Christmas or candy around Halloween — that you could tie into your client’s business?
  • How big is the holiday? Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are easier to create content that earns valuable inbound links than content about President’s Day. 
  • How long is the news cycle around the holiday? Smaller federal holidays may only be covered day-of, while larger holidays offer a longer news cycle. 

Storytelling Using Seasonal Events

Just because something isn’t technically a holiday doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Seasonal events happen throughout the year with lots of fanfare and consistency, and as such, are ripe for media coverage. 

They can be anything from daylight savings time (ending or beginning), or literally the changing of season (the first day of summer, fall, winter, or spring). Other seasonal events like tax season, holiday shopping season… even bug season have the potential to generate buzz (pun intended).

And don’t forget major sporting events like the Super Bowl and March Madness, these seasonal “events” are great to mark in your content calendars for consideration during brainstorms and media outreach.

Seasonal event-inspired content example:

I couldn’t mention bug season without giving you an example.

A chart showing the biggest mosquito hotspots

Here’s a ranking piece we did about the worst states when it comes to mosquitos and boy did people go crazy for it. We launched it right around Memorial Day to tie in with the start of summer… and you guessed it… bug season. People loved it!

Storytelling Using Special Months and Days

It seems there’s a day for everything these days. You’ve heard of them. National Clean Your Desk Day, National Walk to Work Day, National Chocolate Milk Day… and yeah some of them are a bit ridiculous. 

We don’t generally plan content around these specific days, but it’s important to know when they’re on the calendar. It just might happen that a content piece you’re doing outreach for has a connection to one of these days and could provide a timely hook for your pitch. 

  • When looking at your media outreach timeline, identify special months and days to see if you can build that into your strategy.
  • Find a timely hook, and leverage relevant information. 
  • Plan content creation and outreach accordingly to make sure content is not launched too early or too late.

Special months and days inspired content example:

We published a client’s piece about Gen Z mental health right at the end of August. Since September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we mentioned that connection in our pitch as a timely reason for potential media coverage. And it worked.. This piece brought in more than a hundred links and still gets organic coverage nearly a year later. 

Similarly, April is Stress Awareness Month. We used this timely hook to help our outreach efforts for a piece on America’s self-care practices and the ways people pamper themselves. The piece included survey stats about stress and burnout that also created interest for journalists. 

A chart showing self care statistics

Digital PR Content Production and Outreach Timelines for Seasonal Storytelling

Successful seasonal storytelling can’t be done without planning. Plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more. Why? Because content production and outreach takes time. 

It’s not enough to realize a holiday is next week. If you’re going to produce content specifically for a certain holiday or season, it’s important to make sure the content is done and ready to go well in advance.

Timelines for digital PR seasonal storytelling

Make sure you have a clear understanding of how long it takes to produce digital PR content. 

There are so many things to consider here:

  • What is your team’s bandwidth?
  • How long does it take for clients to approve ideas? Even upload speed is different from client to client. Make sure to take all of these factors into account when planning your seasonal storytelling. 
  • How long is the news cycle surrounding the holiday? Some holidays consume a lot more media attention, while others are topical for two weeks or less.

Outreach strategy for seasonal storytelling in digital PR

Once you have a clear expectation for how long content production takes, now it’s time to examine your outreach strategy. Remember, there’s nothing a journalist hates more than being pitched dated content so make sure to have enough time to get the piece into outreach and in front of journalists. 

You want to try and hit that sweet spot. Pitch journalists early enough for them to plan their coverage, but not too early that it gets lost in their inbox. This is a delicate dance and can be different depending on what type of journalist you’re pitching (a local reporter’s timeline is different from a reporter for a national health outlet). 

Be sure to get your initial pitch out there with enough time for journalists to consider it. You also want to make sure you get out ahead of any competition. There are a lot of digital PRs creating great content out there! Don’t be late to the pitching game.

Always follow up!

Follow up in a timely manner that is close to the holiday, special day or seasonal event. Unless you get an explicit “no” this is a way to get your piece in front of journalists for a second time when time is really of the essence. Journalists are busy and have notoriously full inboxes. Be respectful of their time but don’t hesitate to follow up. 

Be mindful of the calendar even if you’re not pitching seasonal content

And one last thing that is sometimes overlooked” The calendar is still important even if you’re not pitching seasonal content. Why? If it’s the week between Christmas and New Year, some content just doesn’t make sense during this season. 

It’s important to think about the tone and timing of your content pieces and whether or not they work with what’s going on in the world. This one is a bit of common sense but is often overlooked.

Top Reasons Why Journalists Love Seasonal Storytelling

Journalists love seasonal storytelling. Unlike breaking news, seasonal stories are reliable and give reporters, writers, and producers time to plan. By leveraging the calendar, you can get timely content in the hands of journalists when they want it (and need it) the most.

#1. Staffing: Seasonal content is mutually beneficial

Providing content for journalists during the holiday season can be mutually beneficial as many people plan for time out of the office. This means journalists may prepare content in advance to launch when they’re off. 

Another thing to consider is newsrooms aren’t staffed as well on the holidays to give journalists some well-deserved time off. Providing them with timely and newsworthy content can be advantageous to both parties. 

#2. Holidays can be “slow”

The reality of the holiday season can mean slow news days (or weeks) for journalists. Of course, even if there isn’t breaking news, journalists still need to fill their news holes. This is where seasonal storytelling can be very helpful for them.

Easy ways to produce content to help fill the “slow” time for journalists:

  • Identify the “hard data” (statistics to back up trends) journalists would need to talk about every holiday season
  • Produce content that fills that data gap via surveys, social media analyses, Google Trends, etc. 

Timely content that ties in with holidays or seasonal events can provide journalists with hard data and compelling consumer insights. We did a piece about Americans’ holiday shopping outlook to launch right before the start of the season and pitched it to journalists to help aid in their coverage. In this scenario, providing journalists with timely and newsworthy content proved equally beneficial. We were able to get media coverage for our clients, and journalists were able to supplement their holiday coverage with additional research. 

We know journalists will be covering these holidays and seasonal events, so why not plan campaigns that will assist their coverage? You can bring added value by providing content that fills that data gap with surveys, social media analysis, and Google trends. Just remember, timing is key! There’s nothing more useless for a journalist than outdated content. Be sure to keep an eye on your calendar and plan content creation and outreach accordingly.


Seasonal storytelling can be fun and mutually beneficial for both digital PRs and the journalists they pitch. While it’s not hard, it does require some knowledge and preparation.

We’ve done a lot of the work for you. You can use our Ultimate Seasonal Storytelling Calendar here.

It has everything from national holidays to special days, seasonal events, and cultural celebrations. Use this calendar to guide your content planning and use seasonal storytelling to boost your PR efforts and media coverage for your clients.

Read more from our blog