Even the jolliest among us find it difficult to think about the holidays this many months in advance, but when it comes to marketing, you have little choice.
Now is the time to position yourself, your product or your book if you want to be at the top of the media’s – and your potential customers’ – minds when the gift-buying season is in full swing.
I suggest you take your holiday marketing cues from retail stores. Some of them begin stocking their shelves with holiday decorations, wrapping paper and holiday signage at a time when many of us have barely unpacked from summer vacations!
Those stores do that because they want to be the first to grab the customers’ attention. You need a similar mindset when trying to attract the media’s eye. If you wait until your mood is festive enough to start humming “Jingle Bells,” you’ve waited too long.
Believe me, you won’t be “laughing all the way” at that point!
If you don’t think time is of the essence, consider this. Magazines typically plan their content three to six months in advance, so you already may be running behind schedule for some of those November and December issues.
Meanwhile, if you are an author, be forewarned. The competition is heating up with intensity greater than those chestnuts roasting on an open fire!
Here’s why: Publishers release a deluge of books in the fall, positioning themselves for the post-Thanksgiving Day spending splurge.
Essentially, everyone will be waving wildly and shouting, “Hey, book buyers. Look at me!”
And remember, the PR and marketing firms for publishers and authors are all doing the same thing you are – trying to get media attention. There’s just so much space available in articles or reviews about new books, or for radio interviews and TV appearances. Everyone is vying for the same real estate.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your holiday-marketing blitz:
- Book signings. The reason a book store arranges book signings is to draw in customers. But they usually stop scheduling signings about mid-November because customers are already in the store at that time doing their holiday shopping. So if you are interested in being included in a store’s book-signing schedule before the holiday season gets underway, you have little time to waste.
- Product reviews. Fourth-quarter sales represent a huge chunk of overall annual sales for nearly everyone, so if you have a product to peddle, you definitely want the word out during this time of year. We are about to hit the period when many publications contact EMSI’s News & Experts Division looking for products to include in gift guides. It should go without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that you can’t be included in those guides if media outlets don’t know about you. Now is the time to get your product in their hands, before the production work on those guides begins.
- On the air. People in the broadcast industry are like many of us. They want time off near the end of the year to enjoy holiday celebrations with their families. For you, that means fewer interview opportunities as the year draws to a close, so pitch early to be included in the dwindling supply of interview slots available. The same applies for trying to line up TV appearances.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you always need to think ahead, positioning yourself in advance for any special occasion or holiday, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or the Fourth of July.
You never want to miss those seasonally bedecked windows of opportunity.
Let the marketing festivities begin!
P.S. If you need help getting word out about your book, product or service in time for the holiday season, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215 or get your Free Media Analysis here!