13 Ways to Get Your Business in the Media This Christmas

A juicy piece of free press promoting your business could be the Christmas present you give yourself this year.

One of the best times to get free media coverage for your business is when journalists are fighting for fresh stories on a well-worked theme.

Christmas is definitely one of those times.

Every section of the newspaper needs new stories with a Christmas theme (or new takes on the same stories you see every Christmas).

Follow the lead of the big brands

That’s why big brands do everything they can to help journalists out at this time of year.

Aldi's novelty crisp flavour was all about generating Christmas PR, not turning the public onto gin-flavoured potatoes
Aldi's novelty crisp flavour was all about generating Christmas PR, not turning the public onto gin-flavoured potatoes

Aldi, for instance, released a new flavour of crisps just for Christmas: gin and tonic. Were they expecting to make millions from a novelty potato chip? No, but they were expecting to get some PR out of it. That’s why every newsroom in the country would have received a box of gin and tonic crisps this year.

Journalists foraging for something with a Christmas angle could review the crisps or include them in a round-up of cool and unusual things to eat this Christmas.

And every time the snacks got a mention, so did Aldi. The exercise wasn’t about selling the snacks: it was about reminding people that Aldi was stocked and ready for their Christmas food shopping.

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How can you help a journalist and get yourself some free press at the same time?

You don’t have to be a big brand to help a journalist out this Christmas. You just have to think about where your business intersects with the spirit of Christmas and what people are doing at this time of year. So what are people doing at Christmas?

  • They’re thinking of each other
  • They’re overeating and overspending
  • They’re taking holiday
  • They’re hosting guests
  • They’re buying presents
  • They’re reviewing the year gone by
  • They’re partying
  • They’re eating out
  • They’re thinking about the future
  •  They’re…

With that in mind, here are some thought starters to get you thinking about how you could get your business some free press this Christmas.

1. What’s hot this Christmas?

What’s happening right now because it’s Christmas or the end of the year?

What's hot in your business this year?
What's hot in your business this year?

What’s hot? What’s everyone doing differently this year from this time last year? What does everyone want for Christmas? It’s not just about gifts.

  • If it’s bonus season, what can you say about how that’s different this year?
  • Are you a real estate agent with something to say about how this Christmas is affecting the property market?
  • Is Christmas a good time to get a bargain in your area of business (or is it is a bad time)?

2. Seasonal tasks: business

What are you expert in that businesses should be doing at Christmas?

  • Can you put together some Christmas tips based on your insider knowledge of some area of business?
  • Is it a good time for maintenance? For planning? To review the year? To recruit? To…?
  • Is there something businesses should do at Christmas that they might fail to do?

Newspapers love to sound a warning or just to be helpful.

3. Seasonal tasks: domestic

Media story idea: domestic maintenance
Media story idea: domestic maintenance

Christmas is a frantic time on the domestic front. People love anyone who does the thinking for them on how to do things better, faster, cheaper….

  • What should people be thinking about getting done at this time of year?
  • Do you know about planning for a Christmas party?
  • Should people be getting their finances in order?
  • Should they be thinking about their health?
  • Doing some work on the house?

Basically, what does your business do that you could give people advice about through the lens of Christmas? If you don’t have enough on your own, what complementary businesses could you work with to put together an idea for a story?

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4. The year in review

Take a moment to look back over the last year. What insights about the last 12 months can you give a journalist covering your industry or your customers?

  • How are things different now from the beginning of the year?
  • Is there something you can make an observation about? How has this year been for businesses in your industry or your customers?
  • What have you noticed?
  • How was this year different from last year?
Get PR by predicting the future
Get PR by predicting the future

5. The year ahead

The only thing newspapers like better than a year-in-review piece is a predictions piece. What predictions for the next 12 months can you make for your industry or the customers it serves?

6. New Year’s resolutions

What New Year’s resolutions should your customers be making? For instance:

  • A financial planner could give tips for growing wealth over the next 12 months
  • A plant nursery could give advice for gardeners be resolving to do better by their gardens in the coming year
  • A productivity expert could talk about how to get more out of next year than this year
  • A health expert could talk about how to achieve your health goals in the next 12 months

Every business can advise customers on getting more out of the new year. What’s your advice?

7. A guide to having the best Christmas

Most business can also give advice on having a great Christmas.

Get great free PR at Christmas
Get great free PR at Christmas
  • Do you sell food? (Give tips for cooking a great Christmas meal.)
  • Do you give relationship advice? (Tell families how they can get through Christmas without arguing.)
  • It’s school holidays. (Give ideas for entertaining the kids.)
  • In the health business? (Tell us how we can avoid overeating or deal with the consequences if we do.)
  • Are you in building maintenance? (How can your customers avoid having their Christmases ruined by being called into deal with a burst pipe or other emergency they could have avoided?)

If you think you don’t have “Christmas” advice you could give, think harder.

Need this blogpost as a PDF to read later? Let us email it to you. (You'll also get our free quick-start guide to writing a killer press release.)

8. Where to find…

Christmas is a time of searching, whether it’s for the perfect gift or inner harmony. What can you tell people about where to find whatever it is they might be looking for?

9. The best…

Christmas in the media is all about giving advice. And advice on where to find the best x or how to do the best y is always popular. Think about:

  • The best places to go
  • The best ways to do something
  • The best things to buy
  • The best ways to avoid something

Stuck? On a piece of paper write down “The 10 best ways to this Christmas.” Give yourself 60 seconds and just write down everything that comes to mind that’s relevant to your business.

10. Have a competition

Is there a fun competition you could run with your customers. Answer a piece of Christmas trivia correctly and get a 10% discount… Local media love stories about local businesses doing something different and topical. Quirky is good.

11. Catch the eye

All media, but especially local media, needs eye-catching photos. Elaborate, fun or inventive decorations or costumes make great pictures, and great photographs of local people doing things locally make people read their local papers.

  • A cheese shop with a nativity scene made entirely of brie…
  • An office that turns its windows into Christmas display worthy of Selfridges…

Need this blogpost as a PDF to read later? Let us email it to you. (You'll also get our free quick-start guide to writing a killer press release.)

12. Be charitable

Christmas is the season of giving. Are you supporting a particular charity this year? Just donating won’t interest the newspaper. You will need a story to go with it.

  • Is the charity close to your heart for a particular reason?
  • Is it tied to your type of business?
  • Are you giving your customers a chance to get involved?
Recycle a story angle to get media coverage for yourself
Recycle a story angle to get media coverage for yourself

13. Recycle someone else’s idea

If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t worry. Stories are recycled every Christmas, and those are the easiest ideas to pitch to journalists. If they liked them last Christmas, why wouldn’t they like them again? This Christmas you’ll see advice on losing weight, being a great host, keeping the kids off the Xbox, doing year-end tasks and all the other stories you saw last Christmas and the 40 Christmases before it. Seasonal stories are perennial. Newspapers aren’t going to steer clear of turkey recipes just because they ran them last year. Use Google to search for what stories were written last year that featured people from your industry then pitch your take on those topics.

What now?

Wrap your press release in a bow
Wrap your press release in a bow

So you’ve had a good idea, it’s time to let the media know. The easiest way to do this is with a press release. A press release is a tried and true way of writing up your story suggestion. It puts your idea in such a way that the journalist can picture the story you’re pitching and how she might write it up. Press releases contain the core of the story, all the important facts and the contact details of the people involved.

Let us know if you're looking for a press release writer.