For PR professionals, the festive period, or ‘Silly Season’ as it’s known, offers a unique opportunity. As companies and journalists alike unwind for holiday celebrations, there is a lack of news and news writers – leaving an empty void for the savvy PR professional to fill.
So how can you capitalize on this opportunity?
Firstly, choose the right story to tell. Inevitably, reporters will be flooded with pitches about consumer products as Christmas is the key trading period for retailers. However, if you’ve got hard-hitting business news, then you’ll have an attentive audience, hungry to hear about it – as business news is sparse at this time of year. Equally, it is a great chance to push ‘softer’ stories (for example, research or trend pieces) that you may otherwise struggle to place.
Secondly, know which journalists are in the office. As with most professions, there is a mass exodus in the media over the festive season, and you need to know which few, dedicated faces remain. When speaking to journalists throughout December ask about their holiday plans – so you know who is around. There is nothing more depressing than a lengthy sell-in where no one answers the phone.
Finally, use embargoes to your advantage. No one wants to be working around the clock at Christmas – including journalists. Give them time to write up an embargoed story (to be published between 26th and 31st December) before Christmas kicks-off; they’ll thank you for it. You get coverage, the journalist gets a break.
And as for social media? Social media usage, Facebook and Twitter in particular, rockets at Christmas. This is unsurprising given the increasing number of smartphones and the popularity sharing festive messages with friends. Again, use this to your advantage to push your message to an audience that’s more engaged than normal.
Of course, the downside is that while other professionals are drinking mulled-wine and being merry, PRs need to stay focused, work hard and think creatively to capitalize on this opportunity. However, what better Christmas present to give a client than unexpected, wide-spread coverage?