For journalists, the holiday season often means a break from the demanding news cycle. But between holiday celebrations and time off, this time of the year can also create content holes for reporters. For PR pros, the holidays are the perfect (and often underrated) time to gift news outlets with story ideas.
While it’s true that many reporters take vacation time during the holidays, don’t let the overflow of “out of the office” automatic replies frighten you – there’s still plenty of reporters working in December who need help from PR pros to inform their readers. Here are some tips for conducting media outreach in the midst of the holiday season:
1. Pitch evergreen story ideas and content
As hard news slows, mid-December to early January is the perfect time to pitch your best feature and thought leadership ideas. Since reporters want to have their stories ready to go before their days off, the timeliness of your story isn’t as important during the holidays. Reporters will appreciate your evergreen contributions with the inevitable news holes they’ll face in the coming weeks. You might even see quicker turnaround on contributed articles since editors can fit those pieces in whenever they have a space to fill.
2. Don’t go overboard with holiday-themed pitches
Unless you have a great angle, don’t stretch to connect your client and their products/services to the holidays. Since most editorial calendars are already stocked with holiday stories and content, it’s unlikely that seasonal pitches this late in the game will warrant any coverage. Since reporters plan their holiday stories well in advance, the best time to pitch holiday ideas is early fall. At this point, sticking to regular news and creative evergreen ideas is your best bet to break the noise of the holidays.
3. New Year predictions pitches still work
Pieces about onward looking predictions may seem overdone to some, but they continue to work and oftentimes lead to top-tier placements. Many publications – especially trade outlets like technology – have annual New Year predictions guides, giving PR pros a chance to position their clients as experts. After considering trends and how the industry will evolve in 2016, these pitches can be an easy win in securing coverage.
4. Allow extra pitching time for urgent news
If your client launches a product or has an important announcement in the coming weeks, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for pitching. With reporters and editors in and out of the office, your press release or pitch might have extra shelf life around the holidays – something you can use to your advantage. With varied vacation schedules (yourself included) you’ll want to pad your pitching schedule to compensate for possible delayed communication with reporters.
Bottom line: don’t go dark on pitching during the holidays. This time of the year offers a unique opportunity to foster relationships with reporters and secure great placements. Before going into time off mode, continue pitching throughout this month – you’ll reap solid end-of-the-year results while providing reporters and readers with fresh content.