3 Ways to Leverage the Holiday Season for PR

holiday season, chicago pr

GiftBy: Jack Meehan

As we say goodbye to the warm sunshine of summer time and welcome in the changing of the leaves here in the Windy City, it’s hard to believe that the angle of summer stories and back-to-school benefits are long gone. What’s even harder to believe is the fact that editors and producers have their eyes and ears looking ahead to the holidays, even before the first hint of snow is in the air.

It may seem outlandish at first, but it’s no surprise that editors and producers need to look far ahead in order to get their hands on the best stories, gift guides and product showcases moving into the holiday season. We’re here to provide you with the best options for leveraging your clients’ PR efforts, as the holiday season is approaching faster than you think.

  1. Plug into existing charitable events

If your client is looking to become involved, or has had a vaguely defied fourth-quarter corporate responsibility initiative that has been on the ‘to do’ list all year, you’re in luck. Rather than heading to the drawing board and trying to launch the first ever [insert brand name] holiday giving spree, take a look at the existing organizations and nonprofits that do great work every year around the holidays. Throughout the holiday season, companies, organizations and nonprofits alike are eager for partnerships and sponsors for their own holiday events, charity drives, etc. Find one that resonates with what your company or client really cares about and reach out to see how you can help.

An example of this that comes to mind is last year Motion PR worked with Premier Boxing Champions to help launch the brand. One thing that was important to PBC was to help support and highlight some of the great charitable work their individual boxers had already been a part of and help to amplify it. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin was one boxer who had been extremely active in helping the less fortunate, as he himself had experienced the struggles associated with homelessness first hand. With this in mind, we were able to partner Peter with Burlington Coat Factory’s Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat Drive, a cause near and dear to his heart. You can see the full clip of his Good Morning America appearance here.

  1. Utilize timely story pegs

Long before you fill your candy bowls for Halloween and baste your turkey for Thanksgiving, news outlets have already begun blocking out editorial and segment calendars to include gift guides and round ups. PR pro’s understand that pitching holiday round up story ideas as early as Halloween aren’t out of the ordinary. If you want to go above and beyond the ordinary round up story angle, it doesn’t hurt to brainstorm what upcoming holiday dates match with your potential story angles. Christmas isn’t the only holiday looming in December! New Years, Hanukah, Boxing Day and Human Rights Day are just a few that might open a window of opportunity for your pitches.

  1. Know your lead times

You may be used to the frantic hustle and bustle of summer pitching, vying for the top spot in a weekend roundup or for a front page feature in your local daily, but as the summer winds down you need to begin looking ahead. While you should be familiar with your regular publications, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on their long-lead and short-lead news angles. Lots of long-lead publications, namely magazines, can have a lead time as far out as three months or longer. A good rule of thumb is to start identifying long led publications you need to pitch for holiday coverage over the summer and create a calendar of deadlines ahead of time. In order to find these deadlines, you can look to their editorial calendars but if they are not posted publicly, you may need to reach out directly to get an answer. With magazines covering the long-leads, don’t let your local go-to’s fall off the radar. Take a look in the archives to find reporters who covered round-ups and gift guides last year, as they’ll give you a starting point in building your holiday media lists. Reach out to these reporters and producers first because odds are, if you’re thinking about pitching them they’ve already started their own research.