By Monica Rosenfeld
Christmas, now only a few months away, is a very competitive time to gain media attention for your brand. This is simply because so many businesses would relish some media love at this time. Journalists and bloggers are inundated with requests to feature products that could make fabulous Christmas gift ideas.
If you sell products that are perfect for the Christmas trade and you would love some media exposure to capitalise on the Christmas period, here are six tips to ensure you are ahead of the pack.
- Start gearing up for your Christmas PR pitch now! Many long lead publications (typically glossy magazines) start working on their Christmas issues in August/September, so you need to keep these lead times in mind if you want to get a look in. Medium lead publications (typically newspaper supplements) work about six weeks in advance and short lead media outlets (online, TV and radio) work about four to two weeks out.
- Put together a list of your ideal media outlets. The list shouldn’t be too huge or it may become an overwhelming task which gets relegated to your “too hard, I’m too busy with other things” basket. Once you have the list, call each one and find out the name and email of the person putting together the Christmas Gift Guide. Occasionally, you may be passed on to the advertising department. To avoid this, ask for people with specific roles. For magazines, the Editorial Co-ordinator is generally the best person to contact. For newspapers, ask for the Lifestyle Editor. For radio, a Senior Producer is ideal and you generally want the Chief of Staff when it comes to TV.
- Make sure you organise high quality, high resolution photographs of the product and if there is more than one product in the range, create a look book which, for PR purposes, is simply a catalogue of images showcasing the products and under each one indicate the name of the product and its RRP.
- Email the journalist organising the Gift Guide with your product image or look book and in the message, write a very brief introduction to the product. Here you can present the product as a very popular Christmas gift and state whether it is suitable either for a man, woman, boy or girl as often Christmas Gift Guides are segmented into these categories.
- After a few days, follow up your email with a brief line asking if the journalist is interested in featuring your product and if they would like any samples sent over for photography.
- Christmas can also provide a good opportunity to have your product featured on TV. Many morning shows feature a range of products in the lead up to Christmas and shows like A Current Affair and Today Tonight sometimes run a story or two on the topic. Again, find out the details of the producer working on the Christmas story, send your information in a clear, brief format and be sure to follow up.