Holiday PR: Too Late to Catch the Polar Express?

December 4, 2018

*This post originally appeared on the WTIA blog (read it here)

For PR and marketing professionals, October through December is arguably the busiest quarter of the year. From holiday campaigns and year-end recaps to planning and budgeting, there is a lot for the communications team to wrap up before the ball drops on December 31. During the chaos, it can be easy to lose track of time and miss key media opportunities, leaving teams looking back on the season feeling that more could have been done.

While it’s true the window for PR gets smaller and smaller as the season marches on, there are some simple things tech companies can do make the most of opportunities that come with the holidays. In the spirit of giving this season, we’re sharing a few tips and tricks we use to help our clients gain some quick PR wins between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday Post-Mortems: Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide huge PR opportunities, and not just for consumer-facing companies. Our agency has helped numerous enterprise technology and B2B clients build campaigns around holiday shopping. Even if you missed out on a proactive initiative this year, it’s still not too late to conduct media outreach or marketing activities. Consider whether your company has interesting data or commentary to share in the wake of Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday, and if so, build a story around it for the media in your sphere.
  • Broadcast: In the hot pursuit of USA TodayWall Street Journal and Forbes coverage, don’t forget about the power of broadcast, and the fact that the news cycles are often much shorter than they are for print and online stories. Work with local broadcast producers, radio personalities and podcasters to understand the types of holiday stories they are looking for, and how your contributions might fit in. Bring some interesting and new ideas to the table – like unique holiday giving programs, ways your company helps employees manage stress this time of year, or December consumer trend analysis – to highlight your expertise and spark their interest.
  • Pulse Surveys: Consumer polls – when they uncover new or surprising data – can be media gold. And tools like Survey Monkey make getting that data as easy as peppermint pie. Challenge your team to a quick brainstorm on timely topics and conduct one, or several, pulse surveys through December to uncover headline-worthy findings that you can give to the media in bite-sized pieces.
  • Blogging and Social: Traditional media isn’t the only channel for reaching your audience during the holidays. Your company blog and social media platforms should also be getting a lot of love during this time. These channels provide an easy outlet for fun, light-hearted and last-minute content over which you have full control.
  • Last-Minute Gift Guides and Wish Lists: Virtually every news outlet will publish gift guides and wish lists. While many of these are carefully curated earlier in the year, there are plenty of reporters and bloggers searching for products and services to include in their December lists. Have your materials at the ready – the pitch, description, images, samples and giveaway items – so when the PR team identifies these last-minute opportunities, you can jump on them without delay.
  • Predictions and New Year’s Resolutions: Most teams begin collecting their thought leader predictions and building the outreach strategy for them in October. Still, like the holiday gift guides, predictions articles are relevant through the end of the year and can be useful for reporters and editors that need to fill their content pipeline during a typically slow news time. Flip your predictions into New Year’s resolutions to give them even longer legs through January and February.

Even if you feel that your company is behind schedule on holiday PR plans, it’s still not too late to jump on any number of the quick win opportunities listed here. As always, keep a close eye on news cycles through December, and look for additional opportunities to response pitch breaking news with a holiday angle. If all goes well, once Christmas Eve rolls around, you’ll be ready to sit back, relax and reflect on a great year. 

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