For many businesses, maximising sales this Christmas could be more important than ever for attempting to recoup some of the losses due to the pandemic.
Securing PR for your product or service should therefore be one of the focuses of your marketing activity.
Gift guides in national news and magazine titles are the holy grail for many companies – a simple inclusion in a ‘top ten toys for kids’, ‘best buys for beauty addicts’ or ‘perfect presents for pets’, for example, could lead to your product selling out in hours.
It’s too late for the printed gift guides – they’re all done and dusted before school’s out for summer. That’s why you’ll often hear of big retailers running ‘Christmas in July’ shows, in which they showcase their festive range to the media. In fact, products need to be finalised, packaged and photographed by February at the latest to even be in with a shot of inclusion. It even seems weird to us!
The good news is that online titles run to much later deadlines and many will still be looking for last minute gift ideas. And the opportunities don’t end with gift guides – there may be festive features planned, Christmas news stories and influencer opportunities up for grabs too – but choose wisely and collaborate with someone who is going to give you value…keep an eye out for blaggers looking for free Xmas presents!
Here are our top tips for spotting those last-minute chances for coverage and making the most of them:
Twitter is one of the best platforms for linking businesses and journalists. Keep an eye on hashtags such as #journorequest which journalists use to find case studies, quotes and products from businesses like yours.
Be sure to respond with exactly the information the journalist requests. If they’re looking for products, they’ll need high resolution, professional shots – likely ‘cut outs’ (where the product has been cut out from its original background and placed on a clean, white background) and/or lifestyle shots, showing the product in situ or being used. Mobile phone images aren’t usually good enough quality. They’ll also need the RRP and details of where it can be purchased.
If they are looking for a quote, be sure to ask what the wider context or angle of the article is, so that you can tailor what you say. If you provide a written quote, try to make it sound natural and avoid trying to shoehorn in several mentions of your brand – it’ll read like an advert and likely be rejected.
Make the most of free media alerts
There are several subscription media alert services such as Response Source, Journo Link and Food4Media, for example, which send tailored requests on behalf of journalists who have listed them, looking for input for their articles and features.
The services allow you to choose the type of alerts you are interested in so you only receive relevant requests and can reply directly to the journalist.
Many of the services offer free trials which can be an invaluable source of coverage opportunities. Although pricey, you may find the trial so useful, it could be worth signing up for a full subscription.
Social media influencers collaborations can have a huge impact on the success of a product or a brand. Professional influencers know exactly what their followers will like and respond to and can offer a very targeted approach.
However, unlike traditional PR, working with influencers is rarely free. At the very least, you would need to provide the product or service free of charge for the influencer to try and keep. Some influencers also request payment in exchange for posts and mentions and in fact, many will have an agent who will negotiate fees and requirements.
Be sure to do your research and approach bloggers and influencers with caution. To begin with, look at their social media feed:
Does it look professional?
Do they have a high level of followers and more importantly, engagement?
Are their followers your target market?
Do they have a niche, or do they seem to promote anything and everything?
Look at other brands they’ve worked with before and consider approaching them to ask about their experience.
Most importantly, be aware that some ‘bloggers’ are little more than ‘blaggers’. Many are easily identified by their excessive use of the #journorequest hashtags and multiple requests via media alerts, as mentioned above, simply with the aim of scoring freebies. Classic blagger requests include:
‘Just moved into a new house – any high-end white goods brands want to collaborate?’
‘It’s my toddler’s birthday next month and I’m looking to review toys suitable for a 2-year-old.’
‘Looking to include more travel reviews on my Instagram feed – specifically luxury, long haul trips, 5* accommodation with private pool, and first-class flights suitable for a family of 5.’
You get the picture…
Above all, don’t panic if you feel like the festive season has crept up on you. Keep your eye on social media and you never know – a simple reply to a journalist request, or email to an influencer could see you end the year with some super sales figures!
Get in touch if you’d like help with setting up, identifying and responding to media enquiries.