Doing PR over the holidays? What you need to know about timing

photo-1470938017644-581bd9737a31 November 17, 2016

The holidays are indeed upon us.

Though many may be in denial—Thanksgiving is NEXT week, people!—they are coming, and coming fast.

In talking with clients about their imminent public relations plans, timing over the holidays has to be taken into consideration. Not only might potential readers be tuned out to product announcements, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying holiday time with their loved ones. And, adding yet another hurdle, one reporter I just spoke with mentioned that the holiday changes his newspaper’s production schedule.

As you might imagine, between your schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and potential readers’ or viewers’ schedules, it can be a challenge. So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do?

First, let’s look at the calendar for Thanksgiving:

  • We know Thanksgiving is next Thurs., Nov. 24. If you MUST issue news next week, issue it Mon. or Tues. at the latest. After Tues., all bets are off as far as reaching anyone. Of course, as a colleague pointed out, if your news has to do with Thanksgiving or with Black Friday, then by all means, pitch or promote away.
  • Then, looking at the week following Thanksgiving, keep in mind that Monday should be avoided. Journalists will just be getting back to their inboxes, which will be jam-packed with messages that came in over the long holiday weekend. Go with Tues. or Weds. to issue news or reach out to reporters.
  • Also, a note about Black Friday. If you’re pitching business reporters, many of them are busy with stories related to this, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. You may need to hold your pitch or circle back the following week, if it falls outside this theme.

The next holiday hurdle is Christmas. Again, if your news is related to Christmas or to New Year’s, go for it. But, in cases where this doesn’t apply, here’s what I’d suggest:

  • Christmas day falls on a Sunday this year. So, the week of Dec. 18, you might be able to get away with an announcement (although I suggest always avoiding Mondays if possible). As we move closer to the end of that week and Christmas day approaches, just save it, unless it’s relevant.
  • The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is notoriously quiet for any news that isn’t related to the end of the year or New Year’s resolutions, so do yourself a favor and wait until the week of Jan. 2. Then, try Jan. 4 or later to increase your odds of getting the media’s attention.

After that, it’s all clear—although the standard rules apply. Always check to see what’s coming on the calendar as far as holidays and be aware of other news in your industry that might steal the spotlight (I know this to be true in tech). Avoid Mondays (too much email) and Fridays (unless it’s news you don’t want anyone to see). And, issue press releases in the morning, if possible.

Those are my tips for making the most of your news over the holiday period. Any questions? Let me know!

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timing PR over the holidays

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