Christmas in July for startups
Something that is not feeling me with any Christmas cheer is the rubbish advice about “Christmas in July” that I’m spying out in the wild. Remember, one-size-fits no-one but if you must take free general advice, have a look at the below for my best bits
1. Christmas is actually in April
YUP you heard it here. Most PRs who are organising Christmas in July events are right in the throw of planning these in April, so even trying to get involved in these in July is too late. But take a step back. If you are a small brand, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend throwing all your budget at a Christmas in July event (although, adhering my one size fits no-one rule, there are obviously exceptions but generally NO, save your money).
2. Ask yourself
Do I have a business/communications strategy? How much of my business is focused on Christmas? If you are only doing Christmas in July (CIJ) because everyone else is. Stop. Right. Now. If your budget is tight and ultimately you want to get sales then my recommendation is spend less time trying to get in gift guides and more into content creation, social media marketing (paid and unpaid) and be tactical with your time and budget.
3. Should I pitch now?
From the LIGHTBULB Entrepreneur & Press Hangout, journalist and founder Charlotte Fall says: “Monthly mags - now now now. Rest: no no no. Weeklies/digital – pitch/enquire in September... And expect it all to be done and dusted by mid/end Oct.
A lot of the papers will be done by end of October, but some will be open up to November ish.I did work on a gift guide with Femail mid December, couple years ago. But that’s pretty unusual.”
4. Choose your titles
LIGHTBULB group member, freelance editor, Rebecca Denne says: “What's the product? My advice is to be really selective about who you send it to. If it's not relevant to their readers, then it's just a waste of your time and theirs. Think about their market so that you've created the angle for them.”
So, in the past I have worked on Christmas for both a pets product which I would pitch for categories like “Gifts less than £20” or “Gifts for dog lovers” or because they were beautifully designed “Gifts for creatives” and I would craft different angles like this dependant on the titles I was pitching too.
5. Insider advice
I’m LOVING The content by fellow PR expert Fiona Minnet, she has a whole section on Christmas in July and can even coach you through this process: https://www.bossyourpr.com/boss-your-pr-blog/2019/7/19/christmas-in-july-join-the-collective-and-ace-christmas-2019
Finding the right journalist details takes time, knowing what and how to pitch also needs guidance and she has the whole thing sewn up for you. So stop wasting your time and energy and pissing off the wrong titles/wrong journalists with the “Have you started Christmas gift guides” and get help from a pro. Money well spent (note: I’m not in anyway affiliated and get no kick-back from this, she is just brilliant at what she does).
6. Still clueless and going it solo?
My final hacks
- Take out a trial of media database and search for “Christmas here” to get a list (they will update as and when they find this information so could be worth sharing a subscription)
- Use some good search terms on twitter to search for the requests as and when they come (but note a lot of these won’t start till October)
- Join Lightbulb if you are a business owner and listen to the journalist advice there
- Partner up with some other brands and share the cost of acquiring a Christmas media list
- Invest in sponsored posts that are targeted to the publications/journalists you would like to feature your product to get on their radar
- Make sure you have product available to send to media, they won’t want staged photos and will want to shoot it themselves . At the very least, make sure you have a high res product cut-out on a white background.
Keep me posted with how your Christmas pitches go and tag me in any Christmas wins with @wernchat or #hypeyourself. If this was helpful and you want more free PR and brand building tips, tricks and advice. Sign up to me newsletter.