The first work day of 2016 finds professionals everywhere returning from holiday breaks, long weekends and last-minute PTO days crammed in before year end and the roll-over cutoff. The conventional wisdom in marketing and communications – or, at least what we admit out loud – is that the holiday season tends to be slow.
We like to tell ourselves that our clients are out-of-office or at the end of their marketing budgets for the year or that our top resources aren’t around. I think we tell ourselves this to justify the time we take off at the holidays.
While it’s important to spend time away, reconnect with loved ones (and family, for that matter…) and recharge, the opportunities presented by the holidays can’t be understated.
The truth is: the news monster needs to be fed. And during the holidays, sometimes it’s tough for reporters and editors to fill their lineups. Which can be a great opportunity to get traction on difficult stories and lame ducks.
On December 31, a local TV personality put out the following tweet:
On a normal day, this sort of open invitation would have resulted in an avalanche response of random pitches from communications pros. As it was, the tweet garnered a grand total of only three responses that same day. Though we didn’t secure coverage on the NYE newscast, we did manage to land two segments for one of our clients for the coming week and an open invite for another client to get a news crew at an upcoming event.
On the same New Year’s holiday, with some last-minute pitching to newsrooms in New York, another client scored an on-camera interview with 100% message pull-through for an event where their key message was getting lost.
The day before Christmas, a short feature on a fundraising campaign in upstate New York ran, boosting fundraising numbers for the non-profit in the following week.
And a year ago, an answered phone on our way out the door on Christmas Eve turned into one of our biggest clients for 2015.
This isn’t to say that we don’t celebrate the holidays, ever turn our phones off or don’t take a break. It's just to illustrate that sometimes it pays to pick up that last call and to be available. As much as public relations is a craft, it’s also just as much a service industry. Being available to both your clients and your customers and a commitment to deliver, even when everyone else is off, can yield dividends.
With that in mind, here’s to your successful 2016 and great start to the year!