The holiday season is fast approaching, which means I’ll soon start hearing the question that’s almost as much an annual tradition around here as turkey and pumpkin pie.
Is it pointless to launch a publicity campaign this time of year?
Those who ask usually are operating on some variation of this theory: Many people take time off during the holiday season, so folks in the media must do the same. That means there’s no point in trying to work yourself into a print article, a radio interview or a TV interview because there won’t be anyone on the receiving end of your effort.
But that’s not true. Yes, some people in the media probably do take some holiday time off, but newspapers, radio stations and TV stations don’t come to a halt. They are 24/7 operations and are always looking for great angles – maybe even more so during what could be a slow news time for them.
A few of the team members at EMSI were discussing this subject just this week because we’re already thinking in holiday terms ourselves – and we’ll be regularly in touch with the media, right between bites of cake and cookies and sips of eggnog!
But beyond the typical pitches you might send out any time in an effort to attract the media’s attention, there’s an additional tactic you can use this time of year. That is to figure out a way to tie your area of expertise to the holidays and cast yourself as someone who can speak on the topic.
If you’re a chef, for example, the pitch could involve recipes for holiday dishes or tips on how to prepare a meal for 20 holiday visitors when you’re used to feeding a family of four. A financial professional might want to suggest ways to budget your holiday spending. A fitness or health coach could discuss staying healthy through this calorie-filled time while still joining in the merriment.
So as you make your own holiday plans, remember that there’s no need to stop promoting your brand. As you do, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t delay. The sooner you send out pitches, the better because the media often plan holiday coverage well in advance. You want to be part of the mix when decisions are made. Emailing newspapers your Thanksgiving recipes two days before Thanksgiving isn’t going to work. Rachel Friedman, EMSI’s vice president of media operations, points out that magazines typically plan their content three months or more in advance, which means you already may be running behind schedule for some of those November and December issues.
- Take advantage of social media. This time of year, people are more active on social media, at least in part because it’s cold outside in many parts of the country. Staying inside and catching up on their newsfeeds is enticing to people, says Jay York, EMSI’s senior social media strategist. You’ll want to be active on social media, too, so that you’re plugged in and can insert yourself into the hot topics of the day whenever that makes sense for your brand.
- Resolve to be involved in resolutions. As 2017 approaches, there will be a lot of focus in the media on the “New Year, New You” theme as people make their New Year resolutions. This can represent a great opportunity for you, either by offering ideas for resolutions or advice on how to keep those resolutions. A personal trainer could list tips on how people can create and stick to an enjoyable exercise regimen or a financial professional can offer ways to save money and build a nest egg.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that with publicity efforts you always need to think ahead, positioning yourself in advance for any special occasion or holiday, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or whatever big event is next up on the calendar.
And with the media operating 24/7, there’s no reason for you to ease off the effort. Because they sure aren’t.
Now pass the pumpkin pie!
P.S. If you need professional help getting your message out to the media over the holidays, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.