We may be in denial, but the holidays are indeed upon us. With Thanksgiving just over a week away and Christmas coming soon on its heels, we need to be looking at the calendar to make our PR plans.
While timing is always important in public relations, trying to get media coverage at this time of year can be especially challenging.
Why PR Timing Over the Holiday Matters
In talking with clients about their upcoming PR plans, the holidays have to be taken into consideration. Here’s why:
- If your news doesn’t have a holiday angle, it may be overlooked.
- The holidays change the production schedules of some publications.
- Many reporters may be out of the office enjoying time off with their loved ones.
- With so many other distractions, our audiences may be tuned out to our news during the holiday season.
Considering the client’s schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and your target audience’s schedules, trying to get media coverage – and attention for that coverage – over the holidays can present a problem.
So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do?
How to schedule your news around the holidays for maximum success
Let’s look at the calendar for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Of course, if your news is related to either of these, this advice may not apply. But, if not, here’s what I’d suggest:
- Thanksgiving always falls on the 4th Thursday of November. This year it happens to fall early, on Nov. 22. If possible, pitch news the week prior, the week of Nov. 12, or hold off until the week of the 26th. Avoid pitching news the day before or the Monday following a holiday.
- What about Christmas? Christmas day falls on a Tuesday this year. The week of Dec. 17 should be OK to pitch (although I suggest always avoiding Mondays if possible). After that, just save it, unless it pertains in some way to the holiday.
- 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. 7. This should increase the 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, always issue press releases and pitch journalists in the morning, if possible.
Those are my tips for making the most of your news over the holiday period. Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!