Don’t Drop the PR Ball Before the Ball Drops
The holiday season is upon us; food, family, time off, the works. But when it comes to marketing and PR initiatives, B2B companies have a tendency come to a complete halt until the New Year. This blog will explore four tips when it comes to maintaining PR during the holidays.
B2C companies own the holidays from a marketing perspective. With big promotional pushes, everywhere you look you can find holiday advertising, gift guides, and campaigns designed to boost consumer sales. It can be easy for B2B companies to get lost in the consumer-facing holiday marketing mix, but staying visible is very important to carry your brand into the new year.
The snowball effect is what marketers strive for when building a brand. The hardest part is getting the snowball moving, but once it picks up steam keeping it rolling is essential to growth. If the snowball stops rolling, say during the month and a half between Thanksgiving and New Years, it becomes much harder to build that momentum back up in the first quarter.
Here are four ways to stay relevant during the holidays:
Produce Original Content
December is the busiest month of the year for most. Unless relevant to the holidays, companies should avoid making major business announcements during the latter half of December. Many reporters are winding down for the year or have already taken off for a vacation like the rest of us. But just because the holidays are busy does not mean that publications are not hurting for content. The media still must produce content over the holidays, and if you feed them good stuff, it’s more likely to appear. Since there tends to be a lack of B2B news during this time, editors look to fill the void with pre-packaged content relevant to their readers. This is an excellent time to produce an industry report or write bylined articles on the current state and future of your industry.
If you have unique data to share, now is the time to leverage it. Newsworthy statistics or trends are always popular with the media, however, holiday-related statistics are even better. This data could include topics such as year-over-year spending habits, correlational growth analysis, or how in-store sales compare to e-commerce across different geographic areas. Work with company executives to compile a list of unique, well-founded trend predictions for the coming year. Due to the need for additional content, this is a great way to position your company and executives as thought leaders heading into the New Year, often times parlaying it into an annual occurrence. A piece of advice, start this process early as reporters start thinking about prediction stories in November. Still, many predictions articles will come out right after January 1st, if you get timely content to media; you’re likely to be included.
Increase Social Media Activity
During the holidays, you’ll be spending less time and energy on news announcements. This provides a good opportunity to focus efforts on increasing your social media presence. Both media and potential customers will be taking time off from their busy professional lives (i.e., not answering pitches), but most of them will still be checking in on social media for news and updates. This provides a valuable platform to stay engaged with your audience. The holidays are a great time to showcase the more human side of your company, even if you are selling robots. Post photos of your staff at holiday parties, participating in charitable initiatives or showing off the office décor. The human element will help put a face to the product or service you are offering.
This is also a good opportunity to follow reporters on social media and engage with them by retweeting and replying to their various posts. Reporters like to feel the love and appreciate the likes, shares, and comments on their posts. This is one way to keep momentum with a reporter without bombarding them pitches during the holidays.
Campaign for a Cause
‘Tis the season of giving after all. You can elevate your brand and reach new audiences by partnering with other, maybe unexpected, companies that are doing good in their communities or on a national or global scale. Instead of increasing advertising or other spending, invest that money in a charitable partnership. Work with a nonprofit that shares the same values as your company. This will help promote the cause to both of your audiences. It’s also an excellent way to gain exposure to your brand without being overly promotional during the holidays. Not to mention it earns your brand some good Karma in the process.
Plan for Next Year
Time is the most undervalued commodity. It is always a good idea to get a jump-start on initiatives for the next year. What better time than when the news cycle is slow?! Take advantage of media limitations and update your PR/Marketing goals and strategies for the upcoming year. Review and evaluate what worked and what didn’t, considering how to improve. Review your campaign results and how it related to website traffic and sales. This will help determine new goals and strategies for engaging with your audience in the New Year. Reviewing and updating your overall strategy will set you up for greater success early in the year, rather than wasting time and resources to rebuild momentum.