With Christmas being in just a few months perhaps you’ve started thinking about your December PR and marketing plans. Thing is, I’m afraid to say, you’re a bit late. For PR professionals, it’s July that marks the beginning of one of the most crucial seasons of the year: Christmas. Yes, you read that right! Behind the scenes, Christmas PR work often kicks off in July, and there are some very good reasons for it.
Big outlets and print publications often start work on Christmas content far earlier then you might expect to accommodate timelines for print, sampling, and so on. So if you’re targeting publications that are likely to adopt this practice, then it’s essential to have your press releases, pitches, media lists, and products prepared earlier. Make sure you know who’s doing what and when, and have samples ready to be sent out months before the Christmas shoppers have started to ensure your product or service ends up with a review or spot on the prime gift lifts come November and December.
Commencing in June or July ensures you align with the media’s PR schedule. As I said, journalists typically request products for review during this period, and when they compile Christmas gift guides later in the year, they often reference items they’ve previously reviewed or written about. Delaying your efforts into the year may cause you to miss out on valuable opportunities for exposure in major news outlets.
Know your promotions
If you’re working with a product that is likely to be discounted at some point in the lead-up to Christmas, it’s a good idea to plan and prepare any deals, their dates and details, well in advance. That way you can jump on any media opportunities ahead of time and secure your spot in any offer roundups.
We’ve all heard of speed dating, but have you heard of the PR equivalent – power pitching? It’s a PR’s dream, promising a big batch of journalists and media contacts with a special interest in your product area. And best of all, they are specifically there to hear your pitch. The catch is you usually only have a short window of a few minutes to impress each person. But the pay off can be well worth the effort, with big outlets often in attendance. Plus, your audience is likely more receptive than they would be in their overstuffed email inbox because they’re listening to you with the intention of being pitched to, and hopefully finding a great story or product to pick up ahead of the festive season.
Organise the chaos
It’s a great idea to keep any information you collate about specific print lead times, contacts, upcoming features of gift lists, power pitching opportunities etc and make a master folder or spreadsheet to keep track of things. Using colours, fonts, or symbols to organise key dates or contacts can help streamline the wealth of information you are likely to collect from July onward.
The early reindeer gets the sleigh
While it may seem unusual to start Christmas in July, the benefits of early preparation are sure to be seen. By beating the holiday rush, securing media coverage, crafting organised resources, building strategic partnerships, and getting ahead of print lead times, you can sew the seeds for a more successful and less stressful holiday season.