In the shortened fall-winter calendar, competing for a place among the shiniest of holiday campaigns can be a challenge. That's why implementing these tried and true programs can garner you exactly the right amount of feel-good attention, allowing you to create holiday PR buzz without the stress of the season. And, if you're prepping for end-of-year reporting, we have a robust platform that can help.
As we get deeper into the holidays, we in public relations may be in the midst of trying to secure related coverage and create holiday PR buzz for our clients.
We know the holidays can pose their own challenges for securing earned media wins, there’s always increased competition for limited space on editorial calendars. After all, the holiday season is fairly short. This can cause a PR pro to panic – what can we do to win that coveted media coverage for our clients? What are some other ways to create holiday-related buzz?
Charity-related campaigns are one approach that can win the media’s attention.
“If your client has an active corporate social responsibility program and/or charitable partners, connect with their holiday giving activities,” says Beth Swanson, managing director at Swanson Communications Consulting. “This can bring coverage for both your client and a good organization that needs the PR.”
One example of this is The Greene Turtle’s “Tips for Tots” campaign. While the campaign is going into its 13th year, The Greene Turtle, a sports bar and grill, brought Maroon PR on board in 2016 to help generate awareness through an integrated media relations and social media campaign to push its fundraising to a new level. 2016’s campaign broke a record, raising $90,000 to benefit Toys for Tots.
“We achieved media coverage across the state of Maryland and into Washington, DC and West Virginia, appearing both in print and on broadcast media,” said Chris Daley, director of brand and business development, Maroon PR. “The client was thrilled and the charity benefitted. We’re working with them again this year, with the goal of raising even more.”
Another way to appeal to your audience during the holiday season is to use your employees to get the message out.
For example, Diana Villegas, previous international PR manager of Innogames, says the company successfully used its employees in a campaign in 2016 to appeal to the 30+ nationalities represented in its gaming community.
“We made videos with holiday greetings from various employees in their native languages,” said Villegas. “We shared these on social media and made a Christmas edition of our monthly video podcast highlighting our employees. This strengthened our image as an international employer. It worked during the holiday season because it’s a time of unity and thankfulness.”
This time of year, journalists and bloggers are looking for ideas for holiday gift guides. If you have a product that could be a fit, Swanson suggests trying that approach.
“If you have a product that’s particularly suitable to give as a gift, reporters often group multiple products or services together under these categories for holiday stories.”
When you pitch, she also suggests mentioning if a portion of the sales will benefit charity, which can be an additional hook for media.
When looking beyond traditional PR, some turn to content creation to engage their audiences.
Jon Butler, managing director at customer engagement agency Big Brand Ideas, says holiday seasons are a perfect springboard to use games to drive deeper connections.
“For one of our clients looking to engage potential new customers over the festive period, we developed a highly-addictive memory game set in a Christmas environment. Customers were encouraged to play the game and share their results with friends socially.”
The average time on site was 5 minutes, with 87% of visits coming from Facebook. This represented a significant increase in visits to the client’s site and an uptick in inquiries from prospects.
If your client has helped a group or family, that can be turned into a feature story, Swanson mentions. Before pitching, be sure the beneficiary is willing to work with you on it, meaning they’re OK with you sharing the information and are open to talking with reporters, if asked.
“If you can highlight ways a client has given back to the community or spread cheer in the lives of people they serve, this can grab the attention of local media,” says Alison Carville, principal of Carville Communications.
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