Be a PR Star: Bright Ideas to Help You Shine

Public Relations Strategies for Holiday Sales
Updated October 18, 2013
The fundamentals of effective public relations and publicity strategies don’t change.  But the holiday season generates unmatched opportunities for retailers to leverage the natural news cycle.
From mid-November through early January, retail sales and holiday gift giving are central topics for the media, providing endless options for pitching holiday stories.
Think about it.  Holiday sales and hiring projections make national news headlines.  Each national, regional and local outlet offers gift ideas, shopping tips, deals, steals and must haves.  Bloggers and shopping gurus profess to be the experts on hot selling items and are chock full of gift-giving advice.
Put together a strategy now that will make you a sought after resource for your local press.
Solve a Problem
Think about ways to offer “solutions” for readers/viewers by making shopping easier, more affordable or more fun.    Here are ideas to consider:
  • Prestige – Do you have exclusive brands or products that consumers can’t find in your area?  Talk about them.  Is your gift wrap distinctive?  Send gifts to local TV or radio celebrities to highlight your signature style.  Do you have someone on your staff that always suggests the perfect gift?  Make that associate available for interviews or suggest a “gift challenge” column.  Readers can write in their challenges and your associate can make suggestions and ultimately drive customers to your door.
  • Practicality – Don’t underestimate the value of convenience as an amenity, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.  If you sell products that are pre-wrapped and ready to give, pitch these as suggestions for last minute gifts.  Does your store pack and ship or offer free gift wrap?  Those services are huge time savers for time-strapped shoppers and make perfect fodder for consumer reporters.
  • Price – In the current economic environment, consumers will continue to seek value.  If you are merchandising gifts at various price points,  make sure you get the word out.  Send a press release with gift suggestions to fit specific budgets,  or show pictures of how to make an inexpensive gift look luxurious.
Develop an initiative that benefits the community
  • Charity Shopping Nights are increasingly popular.  Find a charity that is important to your customers and host a special shopping night to benefit that organization.  Be sure to invite any local celebrities that support that organization including local television anchors and radio personalities.  They will often mention such events on the air.
Make it timely
Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend are huge media opportunities.  Find ways to tie your activities to the natural news cycle and be prepared to talk about your business.  Business reporters will ask about your outlook for this year versus last –sales, inventory levels and hiring.  Be prepared to answer these questions.
Don’t forget……
Be user friendly
Reporters work on deadline, so be easy to reach and respond quickly.  If they can’t reach you, they will move on to the next source.
Know who to contact
Weekly community newspaper:  The Editor (or in some cases the Publisher)
Daily Newspaper:   The Features Editor for fashion gifts, or the Business Editor for stories that have economic impact, like holiday hiring.
Television or Radio Stations:  The News Assignment Editor or Assignment Desk
Calendar Listings are often a “do-it-yourself” exercise.  If you are hosting a holiday shopping event, look for a link on the media outlet’s website and take advantage of controlling the content of your listing.