Launching a Holiday Season PR Campaign? How to Rise Above the Noise

Image credit:   Avel Chuklanov    via Unsplash

Image credit: Avel Chuklanov via Unsplash

Anyone who’s worked in media or PR knows that the holiday season is especially busy for pitches. Everyone wants to jump on gift guides, year-in-review lists, new year trend predictions, and other holiday-related story ideas, and land a coveted spot on the editorial calendars of top-tier publications.

It’s hard enough to reach reporters during quiet seasons -- according to MuckRack, there are now six PR pros to every one journalist. But as the holiday season approaches, journalists will get an increasing number of emails and phone calls from PR reps asking for interviews and features, making it even harder to catch their attention.

So how can you hook a journalist in the midst of the holiday chaos? With the right strategy, you can stand out in a reporter’s inbox, despite the influx of holiday pitches they’re sure to receive. Here are a few tips for launching a PR campaign during a busy press time.

Dish out data.

Every good journalist knows the importance of relevant and trustworthy statistics. As a brand looking to gain traction for your holiday campaign, you should aim to offer insights that no other source can offer. For example, if your company ran a survey, or you’ve collected data related to the niche your prospective media targets cover, you have a one-up on other brands pitching holiday stories. Your unique findings can help put you a notch above other sources pitching the same old angles.

Get your timing right.

For PR reps, timing is everything. You don’t want to pitch too early or too late in the season, or you run the risk of ending up in the “trash” folder -- no matter how great your ideas are. The general rule-of-thumb is that longer leads require earlier pitching, while shorter leads can wait until later in the season. 

The ideal timing for holiday pitching is from late September to early December, with the sweet spot falling somewhere in between. Think hard about the content you’re pitching (e.g. gift guide versus company features) and use your best judgment to decide on the appropriate time.

Believe it or not, timing also matters for the specific hour of the day you send your pitch. The majority of journalists (65%) prefer to be pitched before 11 a.m.!

Focus on building connections.

Many people outside of the PR industry don’t understand how much behind-the-scenes work goes into every pitch. To ensure your messages resonate with their recipients, you’ll have to do some digging. 

Beyond doing some basic research on the publications and reporters you’re targeting (nobody likes an irrelevant pitch that has nothing to do with their beat!) the most important thing you can do to stand out from other pitches is to form strong connections with journalists. Follow them on social media, comment on and share their articles, and show that you’re here to be a helpful resource for their work. A reporter is much more likely to be receptive to your pitch if you’ve taken the time to build a relationship with them first.

Aim to inspire.

Every reader wants to read something inspiring -- a story that motivates and ignites a spark within them. When you’re pitching you want to portray yourself not just as another business, but as a human being with passion for their craft. Journalists will be more drawn toward honest and emotional pitches with a great story, rather than a list of facts about the brand’s successes. Ask yourself why your audience should care, and focus on those details in your pitch.

Looking for a PR partner? Let’s chat about your upcoming campaign ideas, for the holiday season and beyond.

PR basicsNicole Fallon