Secrets of holiday story success
Autumn is officially here! The kids are in school, Husker football is in full swing (though not without its share of
PR flaps), and I’m starting to think I should rake some leaves soon.
But while you and I are basking in cooler temperatures and brainstorming Halloween costumes, media outlets are already thinking Christmas and New Year’s.
Does this mean if you weren’t pitching the holiday gift guides during your Spring Break that you’re out of luck? Not necessarily. But there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind as September fades:
- Scope the story landscape. Talk to editors and journalists – ask about features or special sections they’re working on for the holiday season. Pick up the phone and you may find a hidden opportunity for your client.
- Have visuals lined up and ready to go. Print and broadcast are more visual than ever, and the holiday season is a great time to put that old adage to work for you: A picture is worth a thousand words. Include links to logos, photos or stock footage on your media center in your initial pitch. Make sure someone is snapping pics at events so that you can pass along a captioned photo afterward to the media.
- Leverage community partnerships. There is a ton of competition for media coverage during the holidays. If you have established solid relationships with other businesses, non-profits and schools in your community, your value to a journalist is that much larger. A one-dimensional story is pretty hard to pitch. A true community story can sell itself.
- Make the most of last-minute opportunities. Interviews and sources fall through, and PR pros are not the only ones trying to keep their heads above water. Follow journalists on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to HARO’s daily emails. If a reporter says, “Looking for a human interest story, ASAP!” or “Need holiday story idea right away!” you need to be there to save the day.
- Christmas trees may be evergreen; your story should not. Your pitch should include why this event, program or product matters now, so that your idea doesn’t hit the dustbin along with the New Year’s
Happy pitching! I’m off to get a head start on dying Easter eggs.