Christmas is around the corner, and at this time of year, brands often fall into one of two camps: either going full throttle into an all-singing, all-dancing creative festive campaign, or falling completely silent for fear of not being able to cut through the Christmas noise. In reality, you don’t have to go to either extreme. We’ve collated a few ways in which brands can maintain link results with top tips and low-risk tactics, whether you are talking about Christmas or not.
Don’t fear the festive period
Yes journalists will be receiving a lot of Christmas pitches in their inboxes. The same rules apply – have something newsworthy to talk about, make it relevant to your brand and the publisher’s audience, and pitch it to the right person at the right time. If you can do all that, you have as good a chance as at any other time of year.
It doesn’t always have to be Christmas-sy
Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean you only have to pitch Christmas ideas. Forcing a Christmas campaign for a brand where it’s not relevant or natural is only going to result in minimal pick up and an uncomfortable read. If you have something non-Christmas to talk about it could actually work in your favour. Publishers will be looking to balance out the Christmas-focused content so it could help you cut through all that Christmas noise.
Evergreen content: the gift that keeps on giving!
If you have a Christmas-themed campaign, think about how you can make it useable long after publication, and for Christmases yet to come. The Norad Santa tracker and the Nasa Santa Tracker are great examples of evergreen content that can be outreached year after year. For research-driven campaigns, think about whether you could update the data each year with an evergreen content theme.
Alternatively, look at Christmas search queries related to your industry or products and create in-depth informational content that answers these queries. Make sure to study content that is ranking on page one for these terms first and then make sure your guide offers everything they offer and more. If you have the best informational content on a particular topic that has decent search volume, chances are you will be able to outreach that content to relevant publications year after year. If it begins ranking well for those queries, it may naturally start to acquire links every Christmas as it is a genuinely useful asset.
Get in early with gift guides
Christmas gift guide requests seem to appear earlier each year. We’ve seen some publishers securing products as early as July. Make sure you have Christmas product copy and imagery ready in good time to be able to respond to media requests for gift lifts or proactively approach publishers you expect to cover them. Look for journalists who covered gift guides last year, check if they are still at the same publication (there has been a lot of shuffling around during the pandemic), and check that they are still covering similar content before approaching them.
Warm up your contact list
Tap up journalists you have the closest relationships with and find out what they are planning to cover over the festive period. It’s not just about sending them Christmas cards and gifts (although they may help!), but really go out of your way to help them rather than always asking for coverage. It is the season for giving after all!
If you have no significant campaigns going live, dedicate a certain amount of time in November and December to responding to media requests of journalists that you’ve never worked with. I once responded to a very obscure request about the Bermuda Triangle. There was nothing in it for me or my clients immediately, but I knew that in future I’d be able to approach them when the right thing comes along and have a better chance of making the cut when their inboxes are inundated with Christmas pitches.
Tap into tradition
If you are planning a Christmas-themed campaign, try to tap into tradition and sentimentality. Jump on topics that are always spoken about at this time of year: cold weather, food, giving, going home, family, Santa. Then find an emotive angle that sparks debate. This How Drunk Can You Get on Christmas Dinner campaign is a good example of something that is emotive but also has practical value.
Get tactical with your timing
If you are pitching a Christmas-themed campaign, you may want to consider your first wave of outreach at the end of November or first week of December before you start receiving a load of out-of-offices. If you are pitching a non-Christmas idea you may have a better chance of pick up when people have Christmas-content-fatigue, during the week prior and after Christmas. After Christmas and into January journalists are usually scrambling for good content, so make sure you’ve used any down time in December to kickstart a campaign for the new year.
Be present and reactive
Keep monitoring the news agenda for reactive opportunities. Every Christmas news stories appear around Black Friday, highstreet spending, sustainability, eating and drinking, technology, and more recently the pandemic. Try and pre-empt the headlines and prepare brand commentary for the media. Or go one better and film video commentary on an iPhone. Rich media content keeps users on a publisher’s site for longer and is expensive for them to create, so if you can do it for them you have a better chance of pick up.
About the author
Kira Lauber is Head of Digital PR and Outreach for CreativeRace. She specialises in digital PR and content marketing strategy to drive powerful media coverage, high authority link acquisition, relevant traffic and engagement. Kira is a previous winner of Best Website at BBC Journalism Awards.