Christmas is one of the key sales periods for any product business. Alongside an integrated marketing campaign, engaging a PR company for that well-needed sales boost over the festive period is a very effective way to increase brand awareness and get your product in front of the people who are most likely to buy it.
If you are thinking about PR for next year, here are six things to consider to ensure that your Christmas PR campaign is a success.
Start as early as possible
Monthly publications work six months in advance, so Christmas in July is a very real thing in the media world. To get ahead of the curve and ensure you’re not missing opportunities with some of the most influential publications in the UK, you need to have your PR team engaged, your press kit ready to go, and product samples for journalists by end of June at the latest. The next six months, until Christmas, will consist of staggered pitching to publications with different lead times and continuous follow-ups. The earlier you can get started, the more chance you have of being included.
Samples are key
Pitching a prototype or Kickstarter product to journalists for gift guides is the same as pitching fake news. If it isn’t in production yet, then they won’t consider it as there’s a chance that the product might not even come to fruition in time for Christmas. Journalists need to have experienced the product for themselves to be able to recommend it, and some conduct their own photoshoots for gift guides, so you need enough media samples to accommodate this.
Retailers are as important as the product
Quite often the product only being available on your own website won’t cut it. Product availability is equally as important as how brilliant the product is. Journalists and editors are reluctant to include products in gift guides, or any features, unless they are widely available to their readers, so make sure you have stockists across the UK before pitching to bigger titles.
Photography is make or break
Product photography and lifestyle shots are worth the investment as the images can make or break gift guide coverage opportunities. A journalist could love your product, but if the images don’t look good on the page, they won’t make the cut. As a rough guideline, you need a mixture of pack shots on a white background, and lifestyle shots of the product in use, to ensure that journalists have as many different options to choose from and increase your chances of being in the final edit.
Have faith that coverage will appear
Despite the fact the PR team has been pitching for gift guides for over six-months, often coverage won’t appear until December. And quite often you won’t even know if you’ve been included until the gift guide has been published. It can be incredibly frustrating for all parties involved, however, the sheer volume of products journalists receive means that it’s impossible to update every single person on whether they have made the cut or not. Rest assured, when those gift guides go live you’re in for a treat.
Here’s one we did this year
We have been working with Augmented Reality specialists Curiscope to get their innovative interactive Virtuali-tee T shirt in gift guides in time for the Christmas period. Among our highlights were getting the Virtuali-tee on ITV’s This Morning, as well as print coverage from The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and The Mirror and many others.
Words – Ellie Cottrell