Each week I get to talk to dozens of communication professionals, most of whom are looking for ways to get their brands’ stories published in quality news publications. After a long three quarters of planning distribution campaigns, it might be tempting to slow down when the winter months roll around, but no time is more important for our industry than the end of the year.
That said, the holiday season can be a crowded media landscape, and PR professionals’ year-end goals are often lofty. Luckily, I’ve had plenty of Q4 conversations with communications teams who face the same challenge: How can you get more quality online placements that help drive brand awareness for your campaigns?
Here are the top seven ways to have a successful holiday season.
1. You’ve created great content; reuse those assets
Don’t overlook assets that you created early in the year. Update blog posts and use graphics and photos to create a new piece of content that can be pitched during the holiday season. “Work smarter, not harder” isn’t just a cliché, but can save you a lot of time when you’re in a last-minute scramble (especially if you have creative services teams going on well-deserved holiday vacations!).
In this post by my colleague Curtis Smith, one of my agency partners, Rachel Neff, talks about all the ways her team makes the most out of their content. See the article here: 6 Ways to Bring More Value to Your Client Campaigns.
2. Create a gift-giving guide
You don’t need several products to create a gift guide. Create a guide that offers unbranded gift ideas and weave your product or service into the story. My advice is to always think of what type of guides you’d personally like to see. If the gift guide is filled with your products, it’ll come off as a total commercial — instead, weave in unbranded but related items, which will make the article useful to the reader and establish your brand as a trustworthy, genuine source.
3. Visuals draw in readers, so consider photo-heavy content like listicles
Our partners love to have us write and distribute listicles, which include an image and paragraph of copy to accompany each numbered item.
If you don’t have a large library of images, that’s okay, too. You can still bullet out your content sans graphics, and focus on including one, high-quality hero image that will be shown at the top of the story.
Listicles are a great way for your readers to skim your content, giving them a chance to gather the information they need easily and quickly. Including images and bolded bullet points in your list makes your story easy to digest — and busy consumers who see a million sponsored content articles daily will thank you.
4. Timing is key during the holiday season
Make sure you’re pitching your content at the right time. If you’re looking for print pickup, you’ll need to start pitching early. In fact, the first of Brandpoint’s holiday promotions to print newspaper editors launches October 12. Check out our planning calendar to view all Thanksgiving, holiday and New Year launch dates.
Like I said earlier, I’ve been through plenty of holiday seasons in this industry, as have most of my teammates, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice on scheduling, planning and launching campaigns. The worst thing would be to come up with a great Thanksgiving-related article that ends up running the first week of December.
5. A focus on trends makes all the difference
As we head toward the new year, content that features trends and tips for décor, fashion or daily life will grab attention. Make sure your product is top of mind as you scan the content being served to you.
Be aware of what microtrends your consumers are interested in, whether it’s related to wellness, green living, budget-conscious tips or kid activities. There’s always a well of topics to brainstorm, and a unique story idea will be so much more clickable than a general concept.
6. Get social this holiday season
It isn’t groundbreaking anymore to say that promoting content on your social channels is a great way to reach your audience. In fact, if you aren’t using social in your communications campaigns, you’re way behind. But there have been a ton of new innovative ways to use social — including ways to launch content on these channels.
Brandpoint’s Social Amplification through Premium MAT Release lets you directly take advantage of big publishers’ Facebook and Instagram fans and followers to create more engagement for your content. These campaigns help you easily flight specifically tailored content on different channels with engagement as the key focus, reaching your audience exactly where they’re looking.
7. Wrap it up!
Spotify really hit a sharable goldmine with their yearly Spotify Wrapped campaign. Looking back on the year with your product or service in mind can help you brainstorm some fun, engaging content. Which products were a runaway hit? Did you have an awareness campaign that went really well? Share these customer favorites in an article, infographic or fun video. You can include this wrap-up in email and social posts, too.
Using the Premium Business MAT Release, you can create thought leadership content authored by your CEO that reflects on the past year and what is coming ahead. Using distribution at the end of the year for corporate communications is a great way to set a tone for the next year and to put a button on what you just accomplished as a company.
The possibilities are endless!
There’s no better feeling than ending the year strong by providing truly useful and exciting content for your key audience. If you’re looking for high-quality placements that feature expertly crafted content, I’d love to help you. Reach out to our team today and we can start brainstorming for online holiday placements right away!