Chante Jones | November 14, 2022
We all know how the song goes, right?
“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake… and so does the media.”
Okay, so I added that last part to make my point. But it’s true, nonetheless. The news never sleeps. Even during the holidays. So, be ready with your holiday pitches.
I know. You’re thinking by now gift guides are mostly published, and it may be too late to pitch your story.
That’s true for outlets with long-lead times, but daily or weekly print, digital, and broadcast media often push holiday-themed content right up until the 11th hour, so it’s never too late to pitch a good idea.
Media are always looking for stories that take place around or evoke holiday themes and feelings – and there are plenty of holidays this time of year, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, and New Year’s. But competition is stiff. Everyone is pitching the same things.
So how do you earn holiday media coverage and stay on your favorite editors’, producers’ and reporters’ ‘nice’ lists?
We have some advice.
Craft the perfect holiday pitch with these 5 tips:
Remember the long line Ralphie and Randy waited in to see Santa in A Christmas Story? Imagine that’s your pitch, waiting to be read in someone’s inbox. If you don’t want it to get booted – like Santa kicking poor Ralphie in the face – make it stand out. Maybe:
• Put a different twist on a time-honored holiday tradition
• Tell a human-interest story that rallies the local community
• Offer a problem-solving hack or last-minute gift options
Give the reporter – and yourself – the gift of something that hasn’t already been covered a million times. Just make it authentic to your client or organization. Pitches with superficial or forced connections to the holidays don’t fool anyone, and they don’t get picked up.
The 24-hour news cycle never stops, but many journalists do, especially during the holidays. They take time off to travel, be with loved ones, and wind down just like everyone else.
That means already short-staffed newsrooms operate like skeleton crews, resembling a scene out of The Nightmare Before Christmas rather than the elves hustling and bustling around Santa’s workshop in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Reaching folks can be challenging if you don’t know who to contact. As with any other pitch, do your research to find out who’s working over the holidays. Then, make a list, check it twice, and give them what they want.
• Check the outlet’s website and review reporters’ past features to see what they’re likely to cover
• Follow the outlet and the reporters on social media to see what they’re talking about in real-time
• Call the newsroom and ask what stories the outlet is looking for and what gaps they’re trying to fill
While there probably aren’t many execs running media outlets these days like Bill Murray’s character in Scrooged, journalists are still expected to deliver timely, relevant, and interesting stories. Not only do stories need to be compelling to earn coverage during the holiday season, but they also need to be easily and quickly executed.
Why? Because those skeleton crew journalists are likely struggling to get everything done.
Help them out by neatly packaging your pitch so it’s ready to go:
• Make your content print or broadcast ready with engaging facts, accessible data, and quotes
• Be sure to prep subject matter experts or spokespeople and have them on standby for interviews
• Bring your story to life with video, colorful photos, infographics, and click-to-share links for extra, real-time reach on social media
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… when it’s not the most stressful and hectic time of the year. Let’s be honest, the holiday season can be overwhelming for many – like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on steroids – so people are eager for upbeat stories that spread holiday cheer.
The holidays give the media an opportunity to back off the heaviness of politics, economics, and societal ills and ramp up lighthearted, feel-good stories that make people smile. Keep it fun and light, with timely news hooks and useful information like:
• Seasonal how-to tips and helpful advice from experts
• Pets, kids, and more pets and kids
• Easy, impactful ways to give back
• Trends, survey results, and year-in-reviews or New Year’s predictions
No, not the tree – the content. But how fitting, right? Like the tree that doesn’t lose its needles as the seasons change, evergreen content stays relevant and fresh year-round. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
So, no worries if you don’t have a pitch with a good holiday angle. Use this time to get a head start on the new year by pitching an evergreen story.
Finally, focus on the week following Christmas. It’s typically a slow news time. Outlets are looking for pitches that can easily cover news holes and content gaps, or pitches that allow them to prepare stories that can run anytime. Capitalize on this opportunity to build relationships and advance stories for the year ahead.
As a full-service agency, Falls & Co. offers 30+ years of media relations experience, with a laser focus on helping you demonstrate your value to employees, customers, investors, the media, and other constituents. Contact us to find out how we can help get your story told.
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Chanté Jones is an associate vice president at Falls & Co. With nearly 20 years of experience, Chanté combines her passion for storytelling and her technical expertise to provide companies of all sizes with integrated communications strategies, including content development, public relations, brand awareness and more.