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

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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