Why and how you should capitalize on holiday pitching

Print publications expand their ‘news holes’ because of a spike in ads, and many editors desperately seek topics to fill that space. Here’s a December dozen ideas for landing coverage.

Holiday pitching tips

Conventional wisdom dictates that PR pros avoid media pitching during the holiday season.

The belief is that reporters, editors and consumers are too busy and distracted to look at press releases or read news articles.

To the contrary, December is a great time for sending PR pitches and winning earned media mentions. With additional seasonal advertising, both print and online publications must fill more space and publish more stories during the holidays—all with vacation-depleted newsrooms. Reporters and editors become almost desperate to find worthwhile content.

PR pros who send press releases, articles and story ideas face less competition for media attention, especially while other PR teams take a breather.

Here are 12 media pitching ideas for the holidays:

1. Wrap up the year. Write a year-end overview that covers industry trends and how your business performed. This is ideal for regional business publications, trade publications and other niche publications, as well as your company blog and other owned media.

2. Make predictions. Many publications, especially trade outlets in fields like technology, compile annual outlooks, giving PR pros a chance to position their clients as experts as they offer forecasts for the coming year, notes Kellie Flaherty at Walker Sands. “The key to securing coverage with this type of piece is to make the outlooks and forecasts as unique as possible,” writes Mariah Simank at anthonyBarnum Public Relations. “Try to steer away from popular opinion, but only if it genuinely embodies the company’s stance.”

3. Be topical. Write an article that connects your organization to a news topic or current trend, such as the economy, a political issue or other trend.

4. Find a holiday connection. Some businesses are naturally a better holiday fit than others, but almost any company can find a holiday connection with some creativity. PNC calculates the cost of items listed in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in its annual Christmas Price Index. A fuel company could calculate how much oil would have been needed to light a lamp for eight days. Consider how-to articles that offer tips for surviving the winter or completing seasonal activities.

5. Offer evergreen content. Some PR pros recommend against pitching a weak holiday connection. Editorial calendars, planned well in advance, are already stuffed with holiday stories by the time December arrives. Instead, pitch regular news and creative evergreen ideas. Editors are especially receptive to content during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, known as a “news desert.”

6. Be inspirational. December is an ideal time for “feel-good” stories. In its Christmas Miracle, WestJet gives free flights to reunite relatives scattered around the world during the holidays and performs other good deeds.

7. Give back to the community. Publicize your company’s donations to charities and employee volunteer activities. If your business doesn’t already support a cause, find one that aligns with your brand’s values. Often, it’s best to be modest about corporate charitable contributions. Let the charity make the announcement, and encourage employees and others to share the news.

8. Remember social media. Publicize the earned media placements and owned media through social media. Try incorporating holiday themes and sayings into your content and create holiday hashtags and images that can be used on social media to highlight your business while staying relevant.

9. Consider little-known holidays. Christmas isn’t the only holiday of the season. Consider pegging a media pitch to lesser-known observances, such as national Ugly Sweater Day or National Download Day. To help PR and marketing pros, HubSpot publishes a list of holidays, including a downloadable template with automatic reminders. For National Letter Writing Day, Dec. 7, write an open letter to your online community or your brand’s followers and share your brand’s plans for the coming year, suggests PR pro Faith Dye at PRCouture.

10. Create lists. Create and pitch lists. For instance: top 10 gifts for dad, or best apps for shopping. Such list-based articles, or listicles, typically perform well, especially if they have a seasonal theme.

11. Get ideas from social media listening. Social media users tend to frequent their favorite networking platforms more during the holiday season. A social media listening service can uncover those mentions and provide ideas for media pitches by identifying mentions of your brand, products, competitors and other keywords.

12. Produce multimedia content. PR teams can produce videos or podcasts on any suggested seasonal topic. Interview employees, customers or business partners to create videos. Many media outlets appreciate such content.

A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.

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