Column Inches at Christmas Time

It’s that time of year again – news desks across the country are being
snowed upon by a veritable avalanche of over branded, tenuous, Christmas-themed
releases.

The majority of these releases won’t see the light of day.

But for the Consumer PR – this is probably THE most crucial time of the
year to achieve column inches for your brand.

So what can you do to ensure your Christmas release doesn’t end up in
the bin?

1. Be imaginative – and make it current:

We all know that news is on a loop and that papers will use the same
stuff year in and year out – Cost of Christmas, Greatest Christmas Movies,
Highlights of the Year – but is there anything you can do to make your story
more current, more topical – give it a fresh top-line news angle – this could
mean the difference between a stick and a page-lead.

2. Look at sales stats:

Sales stats are a great way to achieve product-based coverage – they can
create interesting news stories because they make a comment on current trends
and lifestyles – all great tabloid and mid-market fodder.

So look to see if sales of any products are up this year – it doesn’t
even need to be a considerable increase – but if it’s an interesting enough
product it’ll work.

Look into the reasons why this would be. Why are people spending more on
XXX – is it due to a change in lifestyle – the recession – are men becoming
more like women? Give it a reason.

Look into regional, gender or age differences in spending habits – who
is spending more or less on what products? Make a statement about specific
demographics.

3. Don’t flood the market:

One or two Christmas-themed PR stories will make a national newspaper
each day. So don’t send reams of Christmassy press releases out.

It is not the case that the more journalists see your brand name, the
more inclined they will be to use your Christmas release.

Think quality over quantity.

4. Don’t waste money on stunt-like festive PR
shoots.

Balance risk and cost. Unless it’s an absolute cracker – stunts are a
very expensive way to get no pick-up whatsoever.

Celebrity endorsements and pricey stunts can work but again, be creative
– it needs to be a belter.

If you work in-house – use an agency who know what they’re doing – we
rate Taylor Herring and Cake PR in the stunt department.

Here’s an example of a belter of a Christmas PR stunt for Lakeside
shopping centre  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1325899/Chantelle-Houghton-reaches-new-heights-Lakesides-Christmas-tree-fairy.html

5. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your story
will appear because it has a Christmas slant.

Poor stories end up on the spike whatever time of year they are filed –
and at Christmas, because of the sheer volume of releases being sent to news
publications, you need to be even more creative than ever.

Consider, and I realise this is controversial – perhaps NOT giving your
story a Christmas theme.

Coverage at Christmas is coverage at Christmas – it doesn’t necessarily
need to be about Christmas.

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