July 1, 2013 Columns

Spreading the Word: Seasonal Changes Mean New Opportunities for Media Coverage

Summer kicking into high gear conjures images of swimming pools and barbeques. But before you book your beach house for the weekend, think about what the changing seasons can mean for you professionally. The media love tying current happenings into news stories—which may mean perfect public relations opportunities for you and your profession, workplace, school or practice.

Consider what summer usually brings: Kids are out of school and have more leisure time. Many families take vacations, which may include airplane or car trips. Parents are looking for things to keep their kids entertained and—at least occasionally—reading. All these factors mean kids may be spending more time on their personal technology devices, connected to headphones and listening to music or audio from games. From an audiology standpoint, this is an opportunity to point out the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss and offer tips on how parents can combat it. From the speech and language development perspective, this is a chance to offer advice on how parents can encourage kids to read when school is out, and to provide ideas for verbal car trip games to keep the preschool set occupied.

ASHA's public relations team has used similar strategies with much success. Timed to the first day of summer 2012, we issued the press release "Protecting Kids' Hearing Needs To Be On Parents' Summer To Do List: Family Trips and Lazy Summer Days Call forExtra Caution Around Kids' Personal Technology Time." We also released a Summer Safety Tips infographic for people to share via social media. This led to considerable media coverage and activity on everything from Twitter and Facebook to Pinterest.

The end of summer also may offer built-in public relations opportunities for pitches and story ideas related to back-to-school preparation. SLPs can talk up language-development activities to get kids back into books after a summer off.

Autumn may conjure up images of fall sports, along with messages about TBI and concussion awareness and prevention. December holidays symbolize family gatherings—a perfect time to call attention to hearing loss.

With every seasonal change comes opportunities to promote our professions. You don't have to look far to find them—they're part of your everyday life, playing out in your community or part of holiday happenings. Why not target one? For tips on how to effectively pitch to the media, read our past Spreading the Word article.

Spreading the Word is prepared by ASHA's Public Relations department.


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