Together with anniversary-based hooks, the commonest type of pitch I receive is one pegged on a National Something Day, World Something Week or similar. These range from the high-profile – International Women’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Movember – to far more spurious examples.
And there are thousands now. Today alone is, supposedly, National Get Up Day, National Dark Chocolate Day, National Serpent Day, Baked Alaska Day, World Read Aloud Day, World Hijab Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and, least excitingly, Car Insurance Day, as well as being a key part of Cheerleading Week, School Counselling Week and Pride in Food Service Week among many others. See what I mean? (For a fascinating read about the origin of such observances, I thoroughly recommend James Hamblin’s investigative article for The Atlantic.)
With so much transparent commercialism on show, some travel editors simply refuse to sanction content around nearly all of them. End of discussion. Others are more amenable, while almost all tolerance bars are likely to have been lowered amid these story-starved times. Even so, I’d still advise you to proffer only ideas which are hooked on decidedly well-established days / weeks / months – ones that the publication won’t look absurd talking about.
How to make this calculation? Beyond trusting my intuition, I have two methods. Firstly, I ask people. “Has anyone heard of National Pizza Day?” I quizzed my family via our WhatsApp group. “Nope,” said my mum (plus everyone else), “but I bet you’ll be celebrating :-)”. Outrageous. And totally correct.
A more scientific tack involves counting Google search results – the key currency of our times – using quotation marks. “National Dark Chocolate Day”, for instance, barely scrapes a million hits, whereas “Earth Day” weighs in at 25 times that. As a loose measure, I’d say anything over five million hits counts as a reasonably big deal.
That being said, any pitches around “National Richard Day” (a dismal nine hits) will nonetheless be gladly received…