Secure holiday media coverage last minute with these 5 tips
The mad dash to the New Year is in full sprint and, before you know it, you’ll be receiving “Out of Office” replies to your pitches. This means you have about one more week to secure media coverage…or does it?
Turns out, you may have more time to work with than you think. Many media members are still working over the holidays and they’re looking to fill time slots and complete interviews before the New Year. You just have to know where to look and how to position your pitch for optimal results despite the holiday hustle.
Ho-Ho-Hold It Right There!
One of the absolute worst things you can do any time of year is to assume it’s a bad time to pitch media. Seriously, unless there’s a natural disaster or PR crisis, it’s better to ask first and apologize later when it comes to holiday media coverage. Don’t disqualify yourself (or your client) without giving your best effort.
With this in mind, get your head in the holiday pitching game with these five tips and make the most of the remaining calendar days before the New Year.
1. Remain calm. Just because you’re on deadline doesn’t mean it’s time to beg or plead when approaching the media. You have to keep your wits about you, keep your voice even and friendly, be resourceful and remember to pace yourself. Do your research (yes, there’s still time for research) and get your head in the game.
2. Create a sense of urgency. Why should the journalist/producer/anchor/host/blogger cover your news right now? Answer this question before you pitch and make it clear within your pitch to encourage a before-the-holidays reply to your pitch. Some examples: look for opportunities to tie your story idea to current local or national breaking news, holiday human interest stories, New Year’s resolutions, post-holiday topics, etc.
3. Be a detective. Just because you get someone’s voicemail doesn’t mean they’re actually out of the office. Call the receptionist and ask if your contact is still in the office or if they’re off for the holiday. Better yet, let the receptionist help you by explaining the reason for your call and ask if the person you’re calling for is in fact the best contact.
Tip: If your contact is the best fit and is out of the office, ask for the interim contact and politely persist until you find out who it is and obtain their contact information. Newsrooms can also be an excellent source for uncovering the interim contacts as well.
4. Make It super convenient. Many media members are looking to fill time around the holidays or immediately following the holidays so they can actually relax on their day(s) off. This is the perfect time to be a friendly, highly organized resource for our media friends. In your pitch, offer up an expert for interview same-day and indicate that they can be available via email, phone or Google Hangout on short notice in light of the holidays.
Also it can be helpful to indicate that you have all necessary collateral should they want more information: photos, news release, fact sheet, sound bites, b-roll, etc.)
5. Cover your bases. Make sure that if you call a journalist and get voicemail, you leave a message and immediately follow up with an email to increase the odds that your request will be seen before the holiday. Include a link to more information (a news release or current news item which makes this news timely and relevant) and call the receptionist to ensure your contact is still in the office.
That’s it. Now it’s time to get out there and add value for your client and media friends alike. Share your favorite holiday media coverage best practices in the comments below.
Kate Finley is the Founder and CEO of Belle Communications, a digital integrated marketing communications agency based in Columbus, Ohio specializing in PR, social media and content marketing for food, restaurant and startup brands. Kate is a young entrepreneur who founded her agency at the age of 28 with the goal of equipping brands with the tools and exposure they need to THRIVE. Kate and her team have secured more than 2000 media opportunities for clients, including coverage with TODAY, Oprah, CNN Money and more. She has been featured in PRWeek, CNNMoney, Cision, PRDaily and Spin Sucks.
Photo: Laptop with gifts via Shutterstock