Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH'S SPIN CYCLE — Maximize your holiday PR with these tips for your list

TODD SMITH'S SPIN CYCLE — Maximize your holiday PR with these tips for your list

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

Every year, we distribute thousands of holiday season news releases. From gift guides and product launches, events and end-of-year wrap ups, there are many ways brands use news releases to successfully insert themselves into the holiday news cycle. After all, smart PR pros understand that news releases can directly impact end-of-year, holiday sales.

To help you maximize your holiday PR program, here are five tips for merry holiday publicity:

Treat Your Release Like A Present

What will surprise or delight your readers? Whether you are B2B or a B2C, write a news release that informs the reader and provides enough excitement to drive social sharing and increase coverage.

So what are the types of news releases do reporters use during the holiday season? According to our expert sources at MediaPost:

»Tips for a better holiday, life or year

»Gift ideas: cards, services, products, donations, gifts by age and demographic

»Economic/holiday tie-ins

»New toys and gadgets

»Recipes and holiday foods

»Holiday convenience opportunities

»Customer spotlights

»End-of-year wrap-ups

»Holiday-related products

»Non-profit donation requests

»A new holiday twist on an old offering

Think Visual! Holiday Content Needs Imagery

If 65 percent of humans are visual learners, then it makes sense to include images in your release to increase the impact of your news.

To increase readership and build emotional connections, reporters rely on company-provided assets – photos, logos and video to round out their articles.

Take photos of your products, create interactive capsules of your holiday content, add screen shots or PDFs, repurpose last year’s assets, use testimonials, or create Vine videos of your holiday tips in practice. Showcasing your offering visually increases coverage and social sharing opportunities.


Jumpstart Social Sharing

People who open a news release are interested in your news. Turn that interest into action by including calls-to-action such as:

1. Adding in click to tweet to allow readers to share your news – featuring a social friendly headline and hashtags, with one click.

2. Including links to your successful marketing channels – RSS feeds, newsletters, social accounts. Use a written out CTA, vs. hyperlinks, to receive even higher results.

Don’t Pitch On Social – But That Is Where Trends Are Found

Once your release is final, reach out to relevant reporters for placement. However, stay clear of pitching reporters via social platforms. Numerous media surveys show that while social channels were important for news sharing and gathering, most reporters loathed pitches from these channels. That said, reporters love to see coverage shared on social channels, and why not? It helps them meet their metrics (story views).

So don’t forget to share all coverage of your news to increase impact across online portals.

Understanding the Success of Your Holiday News Release

One big mistake many communicators make is not accounting for all of the action generated from their holiday PR efforts. In addition to coverage, track multimedia views and shares, social activity, marketing channel registrations, social follower increases and inbound website traffic.

Follow these steps this holiday season and watch the ROI of your holiday news release skyrocket. Take the time to understand what your audience is looking for, time your release, include imagery and social action requests, share your coverage, and of course do not forget to track the reactions to your news and create some impact and action this year.

7 Holiday E-mail Marketing Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We have officially kicked off the holiday e-mail-sending bonanza, and the one item on every e-mail marketer’s wish list is a holly, jolly response rate to his or her campaigns.

Battling the competition will be more difficult as everyone sends more and more messages. What’s the secret to rising above the noise of the inbox over the next month? These seven holiday e-mail marketing tips will help you avoid an avalanche of holiday woes and ensure your marketing is merry and bright.

1. Ditch reporting? You’re getting coal.

It’s a busy time for all of us. But this is no time to ignore your metrics. If your subscribers aren’t reacting well to your holiday e-mails, you may have to do a switcheroo. You should be tracking your metrics like NORAD tracks Santa in December.

2. Stay off the naughty list by using responsive design.

A hefty chunk of mobile commerce sales comes during the holidays. According to Adobe’s Digital Index report, 26.2 percent of 2013’s holiday season mobile commerce sales came on Black Friday, and Cyber Monday contributed 18.3 percent. Not only must you use responsive design to make sure your e-mails render across all screen sizes, it’s important your load time is short and sweet so potential customers don’t get fed up and leave.

3. Don’t be a Grinch: Remember your loyal customers

Make it a point to make your loyal customers feel special during the holidays. Start with an e-mail that expresses your thanks for their business. Include a reminder about their point balance, a VIP-only sale or discount, an exclusive gift-with-purchase, or special holiday products or services only available to loyalty program members.

4. Keep testing, ya lazy animal

What, no testing? You can’t beat the clutter of the holiday inbox with boring and undescriptive subject lines or hastily put together content. Stand out from the onslaught of competing e-mails by testing your messages for the best engagement.

5. Wise men use word-of-mouth

Encourage subscribers to buy even when they don’t know what they’re looking for. Clueless customers will turn word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews into prompt buying decisions. Consider working these into your holiday e-mails for more conversions.

6. Make spirits bright with lots of suggestions

Give the gift of a good suggestion via upselling, cross-selling, and sending automated abandoned shopping cart e-mails. Wish lists are also a great way to keep subscribers’ gift ideas at the top of their minds.

7. The weather outside is frightful, but your e-mails shouldn’t be

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so make sure you’re not sending error-riddled messages that could put a gloom on your good time. Double check every e-mail that goes out for grammar and spelling, and make sure all links work as intended. Also, don’t forget to manage unsubscribes, bounces and abuse complaints so your inboxing report brings you good tidings.

All is calm, all is bright

By following these holiday e-mail marketing tips, you’ll fend off common blunders commonly committed at this time of year. Don’t let the rush of the season get to you. Instead, keep your campaign’s priorities front and center and check the important items off your list.

Fumbled Mic | Big 12 ‘One True Champion’ Ad Campaign, Commish Sacked Playoff Chances

All year long, the Big 12 has been advancing a “One True Champion” ad campaign as the college football playoff heated-up – but by crowning both Baylor and TCU as co-conference champs, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby not only sunk both teams’ chances of making it into the final four, he put an exclamation point on arguably the worst sports ad campaign of all time! In the wake of final playoff rankings that has Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State in the Final Four, the Big 12 has a serious credibility problem on its hands. A conference that is considered by the sports pundits as one of the top two in the nation, is suddenly on the outside looking in. And Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby – with some serious poultry product on his face – should be fitted with a new kind of Egg Bowl crown! Shortly after Baylor’s handling of Kansas State (they beat TCU head-to-head), Bears coach Art Briles let Bowlsby know exactly what we were all thinking about this embarrassing double-standard. “If you have a slogan and say there’s one true champion, all of a sudden, you’re going to go out the back door instead of going out the front,” Briles said. “Don’t say one thing and do another.” The Spin Cycle’s sentiments exactly! And the Big 12, along with its rudderless commissioner, gets a deflated, fumbled mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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