The online retail market is flush with cash – just last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, U.S. consumers spent a record $850 billion and sales are expected to exceed $1.1. trillion this year. This stat not only makes a consumer say “wow”, it’s the perfect “pitch ammo” for a PR pro to use to hook a journalist when conducting a holiday readiness campaign.
We all want to land on the “nice list” for our clients and reporters, so here are 3 tips you can use to get in the holiday spirit when executing your media strategy this year and developing a plan for next season.
- Don’t fa-la-la behind (start outreach early!)
Lots of PR pros want to wait until peak holiday season to get outreach underway to reporters, but it’s likely too late. The trick is to get ahead of the game and start pitching your ideal storylines in early October and continue to spin new angles and follow up with reporters into the new year. This is also prime time to capitalize on your clients’ vertical business units or marketing objectives. Reason being? Think of the various “milestones” cybercriminals capitalize on throughout the core holiday months — Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday exchanges/returns, etc. They all tie to a vertical industry in some way (retail, financial services, etc.). Toss your stale security pitches and think outside the box — “leverage the knowns” as a client once told me. These are the newshooks reporters write about every year so it’s up to us to think of fresh ways to tell the story.
- ….But, yule be sorry if you pitch something “just to pitch”
Poll a handful of reporters with different beats and they will all agree on one thing — don’t force feed a story. That doesn’t mean you can’t get creative in how you approach your pitch or angle (this is encouraged — especially with verticals!), but bear in mind that there has to be some tie to the holiday season that a reporter and their audience can bite on beyond just security. Maybe it’s a new cyber attack method that’s ramping up during the holidays that retailers don’t know about (looking at you, credential stuffing) or a best practices approach for authorizing holiday contractors in financial services. The key here is to push boundaries and be creative, but also be ready to admit if it’s likely too big of a stretch. Being vulnerable (and opening with honesty) to a reporter puts you in a better position to build an authentic relationship and could potentially be the deciding factor on whether or not they would go for the story. Remember, don’t be a Scrooge!
- Sleigh the campaign by leveraging timely research
The holidays present a great opportunity for your client to tap their research team for new threat insights that may hit one of their verticals particularly hard during the holidays. Retail always comes to mind, but I challenge you to think of others. For example, cybercriminals treat tax season (which begins in January) as open season for phishing campaigns. Suddenly your retail angle becomes financial services and research insights tied to phishing could be the golden ticket to your “holiday” feature.
Now, only ~10 months until we get to do it again and tackle 2021 holiday readiness!