Whether you’re a Yo Ho Ho type or more prone to mutterings of Bah Humbug, there’s no doubt that the run-up to Christmas is a great time to think about giving your firm the magic sprinkling of PR dust, writes Lucy Stephens.
It’s official – the run-up to Christmas is now here. As Penguins, we should know.
The proof of the pudding (see what I did there?) will assail your senses just as soon as you walk through the doors of any shopping centre store right now … and immediately hear the tinkling sounds of Jingle Bells, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, or whatever else the shop has on loop that day.
It’s no good murmuring “It’s not even December yet”, because the fact is, we are actually gearing up to Christmas, whether we like it or not. And while I may personally feel there’s something uniquely dispiriting about hearing festive tunes waaaay before (in my view) they should be heard, I have also to bear in mind I’m something of a Grinch and can only really tolerate the sounds of Christmas on the 24th of December, so over the years have had to accept being firmly in the minority when it comes to festive cheer.
All of which is great news for your business, school, charity or other organisation, because the fact is that Christmas is a brilliant time for stories, and stories are what makes the PR wheels go round.
But what are the magic ingredients of a good Christmas story that will be great for your business too? What simple things could you do as a company that will help spread the word not just about your brand and profile, but something important about your people too?
1 – Christmas is a gift
Christmas is the time of giving and news outlets are interested in stories about what companies, individuals, charities and schools are giving away at this time of year. This is the time when it’s great to think about what you could give too. Some ideas to get you started:
- Volunteering at a food bank to mark the Christmas season of giving and goodwill
- Supporting a local charity in some way, either by joining in with a volunteer morning, or making a contribution, or sponsoring an event.
- Consider who is particularly vulnerable at Christmas time and how you can support them: special presents for patients and staff at your local hospital perhaps? Pop along to your local care home for a festive singalong?
2 – Make your pictures sparkle
Great advice when considering all PR is to think in pictures, and this is particularly true at Christmas time. If you’re out and about volunteering for a charity, remember to bring a selection of Santa hats and dot them on the heads of all employees as they carry on their voluntary work. It shouts CHRISTMAS to all news editors straight away and it’ll look great on your social posts too. Ditto: Christmas jumpers. Make them mandatory for all festive posts as of Dec 1. Santa’s orders straight from the North Pole.
3 – Be part of the story
A big part of our job in PR is to promote our clients as expert voices when big stories are breaking in the media. We get to know what matters to them and what they want to say, then when a news story emerges that ties in perfectly, we’ve got the contacts to get them on the radio and TV talking about it.
Here’s the good news: as from about mid-December, Christmas is always the story. Be part of it by joining in with the themes of Christmas:
- Food and drink – if you’re a restaurant, are you cooking up something new for Christmas?
- If you’re in retail, can you talk about what is selling very well this year? What are the trends you’re seeing?
- Run a bar? Give us a new festive cocktail recipe to try. And don’t forget to tell us where we can enjoy it expertly made.
4 – Tap into those festive feelings
Christmas isn’t just about fun, glitz, parties, presents and pizazz. It’s also a very emotional time for many people. Anyone who has been through any tough situations during the year – and many of us will have – will be feeling particularly emotional at Christmas. That’s why stories about giving, children and animals will tend to tug at the heartstrings around the festive period more than they might at other times of year. It’s also why it’s a great time for your organisation to be being generous – we all want to feel that warm festive feeling and you can help provide it.
5 – That’s a wrap – when it’s all over
It’s worth remembering that newspapers and media outlets may be crying out for content not just in the run-up to Christmas but in the days afterwards too. Everyone needs time off and news reporters are no exception. At Penguin PR we’ve all worked in newspapers and know all too well how few staff are in over Christmas time and how badly stories are needed to fill those pages.
But what can you say after Christmas? Surely that’s a wrap, Christmas wise? Well, there is still more to be had out of yuletide even after the big day.
- Saying thank you – it’s polite to thank for Christmas presents and it’s no different for organisations or charities which have received the generosity of others: a social post and a press release thanking generous donors for their Christmas giving and saying what a difference it has made will always go down well.
- Christmas sales – everyone knows that Christmas is the number one selling period for lots of businesses and business editors will be keen to hear how the season went. What did you sell lots of? Was your pub or restaurant busy throughout? Don’t forget the wider news picture: did Christmas help you bounce back after any struggles, eg, Covid, or rising energy costs?
Hopefully all this will have sparked some ideas about raising the profile of your business in the run-up to Christmas. Engaging with PR will help give you the edge you need: get in touch with the Penguin PR team today on email@example.com. We’ve got a big drawer full of Santa hats all ready for you.