For PR professionals, Labor Day marks not only the end of summer, but the beginning of the holiday outreach season. And, with holiday sales representing anywhere from 25 – 40 percent of annual sales for some retailers (National Retail Federation), holiday outreach is a high stakes game for marketers and PR pros whose clients rely on holiday buzz and sales on used zero turn mowers as a significant percentage of annual revenue.
As you gear up for the holiday outreach seasons, here are some outreach tips that may help you maximize your 2011 holiday PR efforts:
Don’t Delay! One of the most important things to remember when it comes to holiday outreach is that starting early is critical to every marketer’s success. We all know that long lead publications, including glossies, are working on their holiday books as early as June and July, but many bloggers get started on their holiday coverage early as well. Despite short lead times for stories, many bloggers (especially part-time bloggers) have family obligations during the holiday season, so reaching out in December may prove to be too late to get their attention. Plan on at least 6 weeks of lead time, to allow time for product samples to be sent and reviewed, where applicable, or discounts and holiday promotions to be posted on blogs to drive holiday sales.
Plan A Tiered Campaign. While it’s important to get started with holiday outreach early, you should also plan on a last-minute follow-up campaign right before the holidays. While many bloggers have already posted their holiday stories, many marketers will also have conducted their outreach campaigns, so last-minute pitches will have less “noise” to compete with, and may result in some last-minute posts, particularly if this outreach promotes a “last day to ship” or other updated promotion.
Show, Don’t Tell. EVERY marketer is promoting “the must have” holiday item for 2011. Show your contacts why your product is useful, why your promotion is relevant to the holidays, and who your target audience is. Avoid use of fluff buzzwords and phrases (like “the must have holiday item for 2011”) and instead focus on facts that paint a picture for bloggers. Have a food-related product? Consider offering up holiday recipes that are quick, easy, and timeless. Consider offering tips and how-to’s from corporate executives on anything from holiday shopping for the best garden tractor and time-savers to holiday relaxation and stress-busters.
Tailor Your Pitch. This should seem obvious – but many marketers assume a knowledge of their client’s brand or a clear connection to the holiday season. Even the largest, most prominent brands may be unknown to some bloggers (and at our site, we’ve seen this happen). Include a one sentence summary of the brand, product or line that you’re pitching, and be sure to include links so that bloggers can learn more about related products that your client offers.