How to Love (Actually!) the Holidays with PR

October 18, 2023

For many, the holiday season begins the day after Halloween. It’s become the fall milestone when it becomes acceptable to start playing holiday music and dusting off your decorations.

With the start of the holiday season comes the holiday shopping season and the opportunity for outsized retail sales for your products or services. And as the year draws to a close, many consumers start the journey of completing their holiday shopping before it’s too late.

Over the past 10 years, the retail industry has seen a significant shift to online shopping, with shoppers foregoing the traditional in-store haul in favor of the more convenient online experience. Black Friday weekend shopping has shifted to start on Thanksgiving, with retailers starting their weekend sales on Turkey Day. But when you work in PR, the holiday planning starts in the summer. PR professionals like me and my colleagues at Bospar work behind the scenes to craft marketing strategies, identify the most relevant media outlets for our clients, help with influencer marketing, and to handle content creation, content marketing and social media marketing to deliver the holiday magic that everyone loves so much. As any retail or consumer PR worker can tell you, the holiday season can be both exhilarating and exhausting.

It’s imperative to have a holiday PR checklist to help you get through the season—and how to love it, actually! The consumer and retail team at Bospar consists of holiday PR experts, and we’re successful at promoting our clients’ messaging during the noisy and busy holiday months.

Here are simple PR tactics you can use to help your business thrive during the holiday season!

  1. A Christmas Carol: First things first, start your PR and marketing campaign development during the summer, planning for all scenarios and looking at Christmases past, present and future. It’s important to have an action plan for potential crises and how you’ll solve them. We all know that the key to a successful PR program is having a plan A, B, C and even H, I, J and K in case things go awry.
  2. Home Alone: Data breaches and hacks are becoming more and more popular, so channel Kevin McCallister and plan for any cybercrimes and the impact they could have on your brand. Prep potential media comments and develop taking points and messaging to use if needed. Prepare executives for media questions to assure consumers that it is business as usual. And in true Kevin McCallister fashion, take it all in stride. 
  3. Jingle All the Way: Each holiday season brings the hot new item for which consumers will flock to stores and scour online sites. This year, Barbiemania has taken the world by storm, and the hot gifts are all about Barbie, Barbie, Barbie. Part of our job as PR pros is to know what the hot gifts are and plan our campaigns around them, so that your clients don’t get left out. And for retailers—make sure you have ample inventory so that consumers aren’t left like Arnold Schwarzenegger looking for the last-minute item.
  4. A Christmas Story: Ralphie Parker wanted a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. But what do kids today want? A PR tactic that we like to use at Bospar is leveraging data to determine what gifts kids, adults and other consumers most want each year. It’s a great way to look back at previous years to see how things have changed and also a relevant story for media as they put together their holiday coverage. Bospar also collaborates with clients on content creation so we can share articles, press releases, videos and other assets based on such data, holiday trends and related client messaging.
  5. The Santa Claus: We’re making a list and checking it twice…of top shopping tips for retailers. A key part of your holiday PR program is to establish your company leaders as experts in holiday shopping—and there’s no better way to do that than with a list of tips for retailers to keep in mind for online and brick-and-mortar shopping. At Bospar, we like to work with our clients to develop these lists and post the content on their blogs to give the media a link back to the client’s website. The end goal: to make your CEO the go-to for all retail stories based on their thought leadership content!
  6. Scrooged: It’s also critical to prep your company spokespeople for phone and broadcast interviews so that they don’t have a Frank Cross moment and get so consumed in their own story that they come off as callous and out of touch. That’s why Bospar provides media training so clients are prepared to answer tough questions and show that they are genuine. This encourages reporters to speak to them again, and consumers to fall in love with your executives and other experts so your brand becomes their new favorite.
  7. Die Hard: Finally, the fun part—it’s time to pitch! We like to pull a John McClane and go all out with media outreach. We leave no stone unturned and no relevant reporter un-pitched. Bospar’s PR experts read the daily news and watch the morning news to assess how we can effectively interject your story into any breaking news stories. And we keep our clients abreast of relevant news about which we can share their thought leadership. 

Holiday shopping and PR and marketing go hand in hand.

While it may seem daunting to break through the noise of the holiday season to get your message to media and shoppers everywhere, Bospar has cracked the code on how to make your businesses’ holiday – and the months leading up to it – successful and stress-free. 

U.S. online holiday sales alone are poised to hit $221.8 billion this holiday shopping season. With a successful public relations campaign, your business can get its fair share of the pie.

Both retailers and brands rely on the Bospar PR and marketing team to help build buzz, maintain a positive reputation, develop messaging and create contributed content. In today’s competitive market, it’s imperative to have a PR partner that will help elevate your brand above the rest through a bold PR strategy and aggressive media outreach. 

Investing in PR is key to maximizing your sales and spreading holiday cheer. We’re here to help!

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About the author

An agency veteran, Ali Nagy is a Bospar vice president specializing in developing creative media campaigns for clients in fintech, consumer tech, healthcare tech, and insurtech. When she’s not working, she’s a baseball and hockey mom of two boys, avid reader and wannabe Food Network star.