Don’t start too early. We know that the shops have been full of Christmas goodies for weeks now but the general rule among most broadcasters is that they won’t put a Christmas story on the TV or radio until December begins. This is particularly true of the BBC. The earliest you can try is December 1st. Therefore, launching a Christmas campaign in November is risky and unlikely to gain as much coverage. If you have to run the story go for the very end of the month.
Make it relevant
There’s not much point in launching a story about Christmas turkeys on Boxing day. Most people have had their turkey by then. Running a story on holidays would be relevant on Boxing day as that is a day when typically bookings see a spike. Mirror what advertisers are promoting and tap into their agenda. Our recommendation is think about when the subject is likely to be at the forefront of people’s minds. For example, on the last postal day before Christmas, a story about Christmas cards will do well.
Try not to focus too much on the brand or product you’re trying to sell. Commission a piece of research around the theme that will give news organisations a way to get into the story. For example, if your brand is a card company, commission a survey to find out how many people send Christmas cards versus how many people send e-cards. News media won’t want to be seen to be promoting a product, but if they can find a “top line” they’ll be more likely to want to cover the story/campaign e.g. 8/10 people still prefer to send paper Christmas cards instead of Christmas e-mails.
The “quiet period”
Broadcasters often have a task on their hands trying to fill their bulletins in the traditionally “quiet period” between Christmas and New Year. If you’re savvy, you’ll pounce upon this opportunity and embargo a campaign for that period. If your spokesperson can be available for interview in this period, and is willing to go into radio and TV studios then the broadcasters will probably bite your hand off! But we understand that everyone wants to take a break in the Christmas holiday, but there is nothing more frustrating from a news point of view than having a story to put to air but no spokesperson to talk to. Think about when your story is embargoed for, and make sure there is someone available for both pre-recorded and live interviews.
Christmas is a time for giving
If you’re a charity or your client has a charity link then Christmas is the time to ‘sell’ broadcasters your brand. Over the festive period, broadcasters want to cover heart-warming stories about the good deeds being done out there. Therefore, making your premises available for filming and recording is a good idea. Broadcasters will be looking out for somewhere that has a good visual backdrop or sound for radio e.g. a soup kitchen or dog kennels. Therefore, let the broadcasters know what you can offer and make spokespeople available.
Other seasonal favourites:
These are some of the stories we used to cover when we were working on national TV and radio.
- The great Christmas Getaway – including how far we travel over the Christmas period, how to prevent breakdowns
- Drink driving campaign and a fire safety message around New Year!
- Last minute shopping – busiest day on the high street and before that the busiest internet shopping day
- Christmas toys – what are the must haves for 2014 – swiftly followed by best worst Christmas gifts
- Christmas drinks and cocktails with expert
If you’d like to find out more on how to ensure the best broadcast PR coverage then come along to our upcoming Workshop: Radio Day Open House.