Holidays offer great opportunities for your organization to work with the media to get your messages out.
First, the news business doesn't rest on a holiday. It might be a sleepy, peaceful day, but that news hole still needs to be filled. That's why there are certain holiday stories that were being done the day I was born and I suspect will be done until the day I die, such as the New Year's resolution story, the Memorial Day boating safety story, the July 4th fireworks safety story and (as illustrated in the video below) the Labor Day story about the American workplace. If you can find a good angle related to the holiday, you have a good shot of attracting attention.
Second, nobody else is pitching stories. Your competitors are all enjoying the holiday!
Every major holiday we have a somewhat desperate story tellers sniffing around for stories but nobody is available to talk. That's where you -- the person who wants to capitalize on this gaping news hole -- come in.
Here are tips on what to do:
1. Be accessible. The first rule of PR is to answer the phone. A journalist (or your PR rep) may be on the other end. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get someone to answer the phone on a holiday. If you are accessible on a holiday, you have a big leg up on your competition.
2. Be quotable. If you don't want to end up on the cutting room floor (boy is that a dated phrase!), you had better have a strong point-of-view. Don't waffle. In the video example below, one of the workers likens his job to making rainbows. How great is that?
3. Make it easy. Newsrooms typically are running on skeleton staffs on holidays, so they don't have time to chase down information. If you expect the news crew to drive 20 miles into the suburbs for a holiday story, you are dreaming. There are 20 miles worth of stories that would be easier for them to get to. Be ready to bring your news to them.
4. Make it fun. If you want people to feel positive about your organization, you have to project a positive image. That means being sure to smile and carry yourself in a confident manner. Closed body language will send the message that you would rather not be there.
5. Understand the reporter's purpose. They aren't there to tell a story about you. They are telling a bigger story and you are lucky to be a part of it. Be ready to speak beyond your business. What trends are you seeing? What are your customers telling you?
I've referenced the news clip below a few times. It is from Labor Day. As illustrated in the story, the obligatory story on Labor Day examines the American workplace on the day we celebrate American workers. It features our client Saint Arnold Brewing Company whose founder, Brock Wagner, picked up the phone on Labor Day and was ready to work. Brock was confident enough in one new hire that he allowed the crew to put a microphone on him -- which resulted in the most memorable quote I think any of my clients have ever uttered on the news.
See for yourself: