The holidays are usually seen as one of the most challenging times for public relations and marketing teams. People start to shift their focus from business considerations toward celebrations and relaxation. The tools and tactics you utilize during the rest of the year may not have quite the same impact during the end of the year.
Avoiding this slump isn’t necessarily a straightforward matter. A lot depends on understanding how your messaging can most effectively connect with audiences in ways that are both seasonally appropriate and authentic. This said, taking a few additional and focused steps can give you a better chance of maintaining engagement through the new year.
We’re going to take a moment to explore some of the ways to avoid the PR slump during the holidays.
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One of the mistakes too many PR professionals make is in waiting until the holidays have already arrived to develop a strategy. To some extent, it is understandable to make a few last-minute decisions. After all, trends and events can change in a matter of days. However, you’ll find that you’re able to be more confident and agile in your efforts if you at least start making your marketing plan early on.
Identify the methods that will be most suitable for your seasonal campaigns. Perform market research based on the last few years’ holiday periods alongside how general consumer behavior has changed in recent months. Gather your team and gain some clarity on what your messaging needs to be in place over the winter months. This also allows you to arrange a gradual phase-in to garner early engagement that you can carry through the holidays.
Another advantage to this approach is that it helps you and your PR team to feel more in control of the process. The holidays can be stressful enough without the added pressure of last-minute marketing goals. You get to make connections with your target demographics in a more mentally healthy way.
Utilize holiday trends
Perhaps the most important influence on the PR slump during the holidays is your ability to tap into trends. It’s wise not to be overly focused on holiday themes to avoid the potential for consumer fatigue in these areas. Nevertheless, it is certainly helpful to utilize them mindfully. Remember that the holidays are a time in which people are consuming more media and actively seeking certain types of content. Part of your approach should include performing continued research into the media platforms your demographics are favoring at this time so you can focus your efforts in the right spaces.
Another invaluable tool at your disposal here is social media. Consider the current general social media trends, including the rising focus on live-streaming content and short-form video. Even the use of employees as brand ambassadors continues to be a key point of trust-building across platforms. However, you should also ensure your efforts are agile enough to respond to the content and topic trends that are likely to arise during the holiday season. Ensure your social media managers and marketing team are collaborating closely to spot and take advantage of these.
While trends are useful tools, you should nonetheless be wary about how you’re utilizing them. Your priority in this area should be to identify trends that genuinely mesh with your brand voice, aims, and reputation. Consumers are still drawn to authenticity in PR during the holiday season and they may be less likely to engage if your efforts seem incongruous.
Don’t attempt to address the potential holiday PR slump independently. As with many other essential business tasks, PR challenges are best tackled with a diverse range of contributors. As such, as the holidays approach it’s important to establish collaborative procedures you can leverage to positively impact your success.
This starts within your company. Professionals across a range of disciplines are likely to be able to provide your PR and marketing team with valuable insights. Strong interdepartmental communication standards can contribute to a more collaborative work environment. When colleagues can interact freely and effectively with one another they develop more trusting and positive working relationships. From a PR perspective, this streamlines your company’s ability to learn about seasonal opportunities, challenges, and solutions from your full range of workers.
Externally, some of your most important PR collaborations during the holidays will be with niche influencers. After all, these content creators have likely spent the year building trusting relationships with their audiences. Tapping into this resource can help ensure you avoid slumps in engagement. Reach out to influencers that are closely related to your brand’s products or services. Work together to develop relevant, informative, and entertaining content that communicates your messaging in a way that is authentic.
While the PR slump may be a common feature of the holidays, there are some steps you can take to navigate it. Starting your campaign planning early can help you avoid seasonal panic and boost your agility. Holiday trends in both media consumption and social media topics can help you more effectively connect with audiences. Remember that effective interdepartmental and influencer collaborations are valuable tools at this time of year. With a commitment to implementing these components, you can keep your brand connected to your target demographics during the holidays.