Conventional wisdom dictates that PR avoid media pitching during the holiday season. The belief is that everyone, including consumers, reporters and editors, is too busy and distracted to look at press releases or read news articles.
The truth is that December is an ideal time for sending PR pitches and winning earned media mentions. With additional seasonal advertising, both print and online publications must fill more space and publish more stories during the holidays. PR pros who send press releases, articles and story ideas face less competition for media attention while other PR teams take a rest.
Here’s some media pitching ideas for the holidays:
Wrap up the year. Write a year-end overview that covers industry trends and how your business performed. The topic is ideal for trade publications and regional business publications as well as your company blog and other owned media. List-based articles, called listicles, are typically well received.
Make predictions. Predictions for the coming year can earn substantial media mentions toward the end of the year. They can establish executives and clients as experts in their field.
Be topical. Write an article that connects your organization to a news topic or current trend, such as the economy, a political issue or other trend. Consider how-to articles that offer tips for surviving the winter or completing seasonal activities.
Find a holiday connection. Some businesses are naturally a better holiday fit than others, but almost any company can find a holiday connection with some creativity. PNC calculates how the prices of items listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas cost in its annual Christmas Price Index. A fuel company could calculate how much oil would have been needed to light candles for eight days.
Be inspirational. PR pros typically avoid releasing major product announcements between Christmas and New Year’s – a notoriously slow time. But the time period is ideal for publishing positive feature stories. “PR people face less competition and the media are often hungry for a feel-good story during holiday time,” says Marijane Funess, media relations director at Crenshaw Communications. Consider examples of outstanding customer service, volunteer activities of employees, or the benefits of company donations. WestJet, a Canadian airline, has become known for giving free flights and its Christmas Miracle PR stunts.
Consider video and podcasts. PR teams can create a video or podcast on any of the suggested seasonal topics. Interview employees, customers or business partners to create videos.
Remember social media. Publicize the earned media placements and owned media through social media. Try incorporating holiday themes and sayings into your content and create holiday hashtags and images that can be used on social media to highlight your business while staying relevant, advises CP Communications.
Get ideas from social media listening. Social media users tend to frequent social networking sites more over the holiday season. A social media listening service can uncover those opportunities by identifying mentions of your brand, products, competitors and other keyword,
Bottom Line: PR pros often stop media pitching during the holidays, thinking people are too preoccupied to read the news. Because their activity slows, PR pros who promote their brands have an excellent opportunity to win media placements. The end of the year may not be the favorite month for product releases, but both media outlets and their readers are hungry how-to seasonal advice, year-end wrap-ups, and inspirational stories that warm their hearts.