It’s that time of year again! Christmas music is besieging mainstream radio, people are setting up their decorations—and most importantly, holiday shoppers are flooding malls and online stores alike to find gifts and treats to give their loved ones during the joyous season.
Hopefully, your holiday PR and marketing strategies are underway. After all, the holiday season is typically the busiest and most profitable for retailers and e-tailers alike. But of course, you aren’t the only business excited for this time of year. In fact, advertising bid prices can soar to rates that are up to 140 percent higher during the peak Christmas season.
So how can you maximize PR opportunities this holiday season? Here’s how:
1. Capitalize on holiday themes
Nobody likes a Scrooge during the holiday, even when it comes to advertising and branding. Now is the time to build brand associations between traditional holiday themes and your business, so try coming up with a catchy slogan that capitalizes on the traditions of the season. While you most likely want to avoid cheesiness when possible, unless that’s the kind of brand voice you are using (like Pringles did with their Christmas ad), you can certainly use some holiday stereotypes to make a festive message that gets your brand in the holiday spirit.
Of course, you want to make sure that the holiday makes sense with your business persona. Don’t go overboard, either. Just try to find one or two ways to incorporate holiday-themed elements naturally into your messaging. You can take it a step further by creating content that is specific to the holidays as well. Reach out to media outlets to have your product featured in a gift idea or offer some tips and ideas that pertain to the holiday season, such as a survival guide, recipe ideas, or gift-wrapping tutorial.
2. Take advantage of holiday hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to promote your company’s messaging, especially during the holiday season. You can try creating your own and encouraging your audience to share user-generated content with it, like the Starbucks’ red cup art campaign.
You can also use popular hashtags to promote your products by tagging your social media posts with things like #StockingStuffer or #LastMinuteGifts.
Join in on conversations with trending hashtags. If you come up with a clever or humorous response, it can really help to go momentarily viral and gain some traction during the holidays.
3. Build personalized holiday campaigns
The holiday season is all about making people feel special, and it is also the perfect opportunity to incorporate personalized details into your PR strategies. As you know, personalized branded content is in high demand these days, and during the holiday shopping season, consumers will appreciate customization even more.
There are plenty of ways to include customization during the Christmas holidays. One of the best personalized holiday PR campaigns to date is The OfficeMax “Elf Yourself” website.
What makes this idea really unique is that it didn’t even have much to do with advertising the brand, but more about creating a fun, personalized experience that got customers engaged. And it worked; considering that 800 million videos have been created and shared on social media.
4. Start early and stay late
While some may disagree, it is really never too early to start prepping for the holiday season. If you are reaching out to media outlets, it is certainly important that you plan your holiday campaign as soon as possible before they become inundated with pitches from other brands vying for spots.
Furthermore, don’t just view the 25th of December as the deadline for holiday PR. You can still take advantage of some post-holiday buzz by extending your campaigns with some slight tweaks to keep them relevant into the new year.
5. Use your network of influencers
Social media influencers can be especially helpful during the holiday season because their followers are typically going to them for advice, ideas, and inspiration. Fashion and lifestyle influencers will offer gift ideas, holiday outfit advice, and home décor inspiration. Healthy living influencers will suggest holiday recipes and fitness tips for upcoming New Year’s resolutions. Of course, food and drink industry influencers will be upping their game to create new festive recipes that fit in with the Christmas season.
This means that no matter what industry your business is in; the holiday season is the perfect time to partner with influencers. More than likely, they will be extremely thankful for some content ideas, especially if they can tie it in to their holiday campaign. As always, be sure that you are researching their audience reach and demographics to make sure that your product and brand are a good fit with their followers.
You may also want to consider using the holiday season to incorporate more engaging influencer content through giveaways and contests. These strategies are highly popular and effective for boosting engagement in terms of likes, shares, comments, and views. You can even see if there are possible collaborations available with different brands to create a more robust giveaway prize (and cue in “12 days of Christmas” giveaway themes).
6. Use your PR tools to find the target audience
During the holiday season, it is possible that your target audience could shift and expand. As customers search for gifts and presents for loved ones, friends, and co-workers, they may be searching for products that they would never buy for themselves. Therefore, your targeting strategies need to be a little more flexible and expanded during Christmas to appeal to a wider audience.
Take advantage of your PR tools to discover how your target audience shifts. Of course, Google Analytics is a heavy-hitter here. Look at Google Trends to see data about consumers who are searching for related keywords and notice which ones are peaking during the holiday months.
Use tool like Agility PR to find the influencers, writers, journalists, and bloggers who match up with your target audience. These online tools are designed to help you determine your ideal readers through analytical datasets and match you up to media outlets accordingly.
The holiday season is a joyful and exciting time for both consumers and businesses. It opens up a lot of doors for PR teams to reach out to wider groups of audiences and build recognition – as customers are especially brand aware during this heavy shopping season.
There’s no need to stress. Take advantage of this time; stay festive, and maximize your opportunities with smart strategic moves.