The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holidays are now behind us. It might be depressing for some, but for media relations professionals, it’s a good thing. The most wonderful time of the year in PR is one of the worst times of the year to generate results for most clients (unless you work for Apple or Amazon).

Each year organizations, corporations, and non-profits alike try to generate media coverage for their holiday initiative. Reporters are bombarded with options. While it is always a good idea to try to attach your initiative to a news-of-the-day story, it is very competitive and difficult to place stories about holiday initiatives this time of year.

For future reference, here are some suggestions for working around busy times for journalists:

  1. Plan ahead – get your information to reporters early; six months in advance is a great goal. The sooner you get on a reporter’s radar, the more likely the reporter will cover your initiative.
  2. Tag along – couple your story with other organizations’ initiatives. It is unlikely a reporter will solely cover your initiative so make it easier on the reporter by coupling your story with others. This also helps you shape the initiatives that are paired with yours (rather than letting the reporter choose on their own).
  3. Change your timing – turn your holiday story into another season’s story. Instead of competing with everyone else to get coverage in November and December, create a reason for getting coverage of your holiday story in another month. For example, did you get an early donation to kick off the season in September? Or did a family benefit from your initiative in October or February? Think outside the holiday season.
  4. Drop the holiday tie-in – strip the holiday element out of your story. Not all coverage will contain a holiday element and media still have to fill newspapers and airtime with “regular” news during the season. If you have a strong story, it may be beneficial to strip the holiday element out of your story in the months of November and December to garner media coverage.

Did you not get the results you were looking for with a holiday pitch? Consider repackaging your story with a fresh hook or angle, without the holiday tie-in, and see if you have better luck.

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