Worldwide the end of the year, Christmas and New Year seasons are typically a time for all industries to wind down – if only slightly, for a few days’ break around Europe, or for up to six weeks in Asia/Australia.
It’s generally around this time of year that PRs advise their clients to ride the ‘shut-down’ and take a break from media pitches too. Journalists take a well-earned holiday; some newspapers start to print shorter versions and fill-in radio hosts are called to the mics.
But I would argue that this is a key period internationally, in any calendar, for companies to maximize PR and media coverage. Media outlets are working overtime looking for filler stories, it’s easier to make the front page – and you can get a significant head-start on your competitors with mentions and hits for the New Year.
This season is a vital time to build brand traction and wide-reaching awareness for companies. It doesn’t have to require a full-time ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach – but simply a few strategic steps to ensure you’re on the front foot when it comes to seizing media openings and coverage opportunities. Here are my top tips:
Pitch, pitch, pitch
I worked for many years in radio broadcast – and I always approached the end-of-year seasons with a sense of anticipation. My regular guests were on a break, and I had literally nearly hundreds of spots of airtime to fill every week. I remember, year after year, waiting and hoping every day for pitches to fill my inbox for a holiday story. It taught me a lesson I have not forgotten in my years of PR – around this time of year: pitch, pitch, pitch. Radio and TV producers are always on the hunt for quality content. Certain media platforms may never have heard of your brand or story – now is the time to cut-through and grab their attention and the chance for coverage! I don’t ever think you can pitch too much around this holiday time.
To stay engaged with the media and your audiences across the holiday season – prepare in advance with scheduled content. PR doesn’t sleep – but this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice family events and work full eight-hour days across the new year season. Schedule your content to ensure it remains consistent – this goes for social media posts, pre-recorded radio interviews, pre-pitched opinion pieces and print contributions. Harness the power of scheduling email pitches at regular intervals to make your life easier.
Prepare every element
From my experience, not too many journalists are happy about having to work through Christmas or New Years – so a PR’s agenda should be to make their job as easy as possible. When pitching stories – prepare every element. If yours is a great print/online feature story – prepare a standout photo opportunity with talent on standby. Take the time to write opinion pieces or commentary that outlets can simply lift and publish, attributable to your company. Think carefully about what the media need this time of year, and take the necessary steps to provide it in full.
This season is essential for creating rich, meaningful public relations opportunities for your company. The payoff of brand recognition and media ownership is invaluable – and can set your organization up for standout PR across 2019.
Katie Clift is Director of Katie Clift Consulting.