Christmas is a crucial period for many brands. In fact, anecdotally, some brands can generate up to half of their annual revenue between Black Friday in November and their big January sales, making the festive season one of the most important times of the year.
Getting in front of your key audiences during such a busy period isn’t just about targeted advertising; you need to build brand equity - that desire for your products that no one else has. And this is where PR comes in.
But as with anything in PR, you need to be the perfect partner to the media in order to garner their attention within the crowd. Luckily, we have some key tips to take your Christmas PR game to the next level.
It’s a joke we’ve heard leave our parents’ lips from an early age, but the old adage really does hold true within the media. Unlike your everyday customer, many print publications are planning their November and December issues as early as June and July, with journalists looking for engaging features and products from early in the Summer.
Come September, almost all publications are open and on the hunt for festive season content, be that for the December party season, the Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve festive lull and even the big day itself.
If you’re looking to build up your festive presence, pull out a list of key print titles you want to target from July, and online editions from September. Don’t expect a ‘yes’ this early on, however. Always ensure you focus on what you can offer the journalist at a later date. Many will file you away and search their inbox at a later date when they need relevant content.
Think Christmas in July is early? Strategic planning itself should take place in Q1 of each year, with a discussion on potential brand/celebrity partnerships happening around late January. It’s not just ad agencies that need time to execute a fully integrated campaign!
This would seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often many journalists are picked up during key periods and forgotten like unwanted toys once they’re over. Just like any relationship, media relations need nurturing. You can’t expect to develop relationships in the final hours before November in the hopes of coverage.
Instead, aim to provide ideas, spokespeople and products throughout the year. Make yourself known as a useful source and you’ll find that key journalists will be coming to you for comments and ideas.
A thank you goes a long way too. Always ensure that journalists know your relationship with them is valued. Whether that’s a simple thank you for their work or even meeting up for a coffee to get an understanding of their interests or simply put the world to rights.
Most Christmas shoots take place in the summer, meaning you’ll need to be ready to go from mid-July. Want to get in before competitors? Provide a slick service. It may seem obvious but you’ll be surprised how often journalists and stylists are let down. And with a million other shoots and pieces to balance, time is never on their side. If you can help provide a solution to one of their problems - e.g. some items for a shoot haven’t turned up or a spokesperson has dropped out - jump in and help.
And if you are the brand providing products for a shoot or a review, ensure your service is second to none. Your delivery will be one of many they will be juggling. And if for any reason you can’t meet their deadline or there has been a hick-up, honesty is always the best policy.
In 2021, everyone’s favourite C-word (COVID-19, I mean) has seen many shoots taking place as late as the second week of December. The media is a movable feast and it’s always worth checking in to see if a journalist or stylist needs some last-minute help. Aside from getting your brand mentioned in a piece you may have missed out on, you’ll cement your reputation as a reliable source.