No Need to Panic Yet, But It’s About Time for Holiday PR
No, you don’t need to be pitching for the holidays yet.
However, if you’ve ever felt unprepared when the winter holidays just snuck up out of nowhere and you had to scramble to get gifts and bake a turkey, then take this as a friendly reminder, holiday gift guide pitching season is right around the corner.
In the PR world, holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah start in the summer, and sometimes even earlier. This is because of two reasons:
Holidays are the best time for media coverage
The best publications work 4-6 months in advance
This means if you want to land your products in a top magazine’s list of “Hottest Gifts in 2019” right before Black Friday—well—you have to start working for it now.
So no, you don’t have to start pitching this week… but in four to six weeks, you should. Use the time between now and then to your products ready.
I’ve already started putting together plans for my clients. Here are a few really effective strategies I recommend to increase your odds of getting those choice gift-guide placements.
Create Something Just for the Holidays
A lot of my clients create products that will only be available for the holiday season. It goes live right before Thanksgiving and is taken off the shelves (or online store) after New Year’s Day.
Because the product is only available for a limited time, it creates a sense of urgency. Most people know that urgency can increase sales.
Urgency can also increase media coverage.
If a publication likes the product, they know they only have a small window to cover it.
This has been an incredibly successful strategy for me, but it is only possible if the brand prepared well enough in advance to have that product somewhat ready to go when May or June rolls around.
That’s a tall order, but I believe in you.
Gift Sets Are Always Good
If you can’t create a new or limited-edition product in time for the holiday gift guide pitching season, you can take this short cut.
Combine the products you have into a gift set.
Arrange a sampling of different products, wrap them up nicely, give it a catchy name—and voilà—you have something new!
It’s easy to attach a story to a gift set, which makes it easy to pitch.
For example, a gift set of travel-sized skin products could be any of these stories:
Only the essentials for your minimalist friend
The necessary luxuries for chic travelers
All the options for those who want a little of everything
I would recommend digging a little deeper and being a little more specific than any of these, but you get the idea.
When you write the pitch, craft it like “We’ve designed a gift for a group of people who are typically the hardest to shop for, minimalists. So, for the unlucky folks who draw a minimalist in the office gift swap, we recommend these high-quality skin care essentials that won’t take up too much space.”
Products with Holiday Colors
M&Ms will be red and green, so why not your products too?
If red and green aren’t your thing, that’s okay. There are plenty of tasteful color palettes for the season.
One option is turn change the color of your product. But if that’s not possible, changing up your labels can do the trick.
Color-coordinated products can feel like accessories, décor, and add to the festive feeling.
In your pitch, try to describe how your new colors are a must-have this season.
Another thing to consider is combining the holiday colors with one of the two ideas from above or even all three together.
Can Service-Based Companies Get in Holiday Gift Guides?
I’ll admit that products get a lot more attention during the holidays, but if your business is service-based, you can get in on this action too.
Again, I recommend pitching something holiday-specific or a little extra special to grab the media’s attention.
Start with some sort of deal or discount. This could be a deal on buying gift cards, maybe a discounted year-long membership, or something like that.
Another idea is to create a holiday-specific experience.
Picture a “holiday massage” with oils and candles to make it smell like peppermint, pumpkin spice, firewood, etc.
I’m not sure if that specific example would have mass appeal or only sounds good in my head, but in any case, you get the idea. You’re the expert and can probably do a much better job than me coming up with a holiday-specific experience that everyone will love.
You Have a Month, Tick Tock
Whatever path you choose, this is the time to get the product/service side of your PR strategy ready.
Pretty soon, it’ll be time to start pitching your business for holiday gift guides. And believe me, if you want to be successful with PR at all this year, this is the time to get on it!
If you have no idea where to start with PR, or if you think PR has to be an expensive monthly investment, talk to me. I have options to make PR totally doable.