Making the most of the Christmas period: some tips for communication professionals

Christmas is a welcome and much needed break for many. But it is without doubt disruptive to businesses: customers may become unresponsive, business activity – across all departments with the possible exception of finance – generally slows down or even grinds to a halt (especially in some European countries) and for us in communications the month of December sort of stops half way through. For us communications professionals it’s therefore important to understand how the media landscape changes at this time of year. So here are our top tips on how to successfully negotiate your way around the media landscape during the holidays.

Change your tune and sing a seasonal song
During the run up to Christmas, a number of publications focuses on the year ahead with articles looking at what’s in store for their readers over the coming 12 months or so.

Think creatively about how you can be part of these conversations. This is a great time to get your CTO or equivalent to put pen to paper with a view to sharing their thoughts about the key trends, issues and developments that are just around the corner and how they will affect the industry. Ask them to pick out three or four points, to draw on their customer interactions over the past year, on discussions they’ve had with colleagues and peers. This will form the basis of an article that doesn’t just gaze into a crystal ball but that also offers sound advice. You can find examples here and here.

Generate content
Editorial teams often become stretched as staff takes last-minute time off that they would otherwise lose in the New Year. As a result this is a good time to offer a helping hand in the form of ready-made content. Just remember that it has to be of first-rate quality and meet the brief provided by the editor: make sure that the writer is familiar with the audience of the publication and with its editorial guidelines. And of course the author should be thoughtful, innovative in their angle, creative and thorough in their approach. It is a privilege to be allowed to write for a magazine and it’s important that the copy is the right fit on all levels. Here’s an example.

Be strategic

If you have some upcoming big announcements like product releases, new channel partners or customer wins, hold off issuing them until the New Year. With some colleagues on holiday, parties, and two weeks to do four weeks’ worth of work in, few journalists will have the resources to do justice to your news in the fortnight preceding Christmas and even if they do how many readers will actually be around to check out the story?

Instead use this time to review the past year (what announcements yielded the most interest, what angles resonated best, what spokespeople struck a chord with your targets, etc.) and build a pipeline of announcements for the next six months or so.

You can also have a look at the editorial calendars of your key publications (those available) and pick out relevant opportunities that you could contribute to. Or you can come up with fresh ideas and run them past some editors you know well and see whether they are of interest and, if so, whether you could help them by providing technology info, market stats, customer references, etc.

And don’t forget to look at the events and awards coming up in the New Year and decide which ones would best work for you in terms of focus, audience and entry requirements.

It’s Christmas time… well, not for everyone
Although few people nowadays stop checking emails when they are on holiday, elect someone in your comms team (or take it in turns) who will keep an eye on and respond to any enquiries that might come in: remember it’s not Christmas everywhere (this means that you can in fact still issue regional announcements in parts of the world where Christmas is not celebrated).

And at the end of the day: relax! Provided you’ve drawn up an effective plan of action it’s time to wind down your comms activities and try to keep off emails. And enjoy the time with friends and family: you’ll need the rest from work because it will all start again in the New Year! 

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