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PR holiday pitches head into 2014

Although some PR pros are still busy gearing up for Christmas, others are also refining their pitches for 2014 and getting ready for Valentine’s Day and other topics for the New Year. As the holiday season gets fully underway, PR pros weighed in with some holiday pitching tips, as well as what they’re pitching, who they’re targeting and what’s around the corner.

Darice Fisher, founder and CEO, DFI Public Relations

The Holiday Season is here… But in my world, ’tis the season to pitch Valentine’s Day and spring fashion topics. Sure, I may send out a few last-minute Christmas related pitches in December to local news or online media outlets. But for national TV and magazines, it’s time to start thinking ahead and into the New Year. It takes time to produce a TV show segment or to publish an issue of a magazine. The first two weeks of December is the best time to pitch Valentine’s Day topics for television. Producers are busy taping the last couple of weeks before they go on break—which usually starts a few days before Christmas and ends sometime during the first week of January. They know that they will be under the gun to produce content for February as soon as they return to their office. And for pitching magazines, my rule of thumb is to allow a four month lead time. So, this is the time of year I’m prepping topics about spring fashion, beauty, make-up, spring break travel, spring gardening and anything appropriate for an April/May publication.

Jamie Anderson, media relations coordinator, Software Advice

The holiday season, in my opinion, presents the best opportunity for proactive pitching. There are three types of pieces most industry and business publications will run every December—holiday gift guides, predictions and “best of the year” stories—allowing you as much time as you give yourself to plan your pitching.

Before drafting up a crystal ball pitch or asking clients for their shiniest suggestions for a holiday gift guide, you’ll want to see which media outlets make this a focus of their coverage every year. There are plenty of them (in any industry), but some of my favorite holiday outreach “old faithfuls” in the tech industry are CNET, ZDNet and Engadget. You can count on these outlets to always run a built out gift guide— CNET’s is actually made up of 12 different product categories from wearable tech to appliances to automotive. Meanwhile, Engadget has plans to run a gift guide in an “etc.” category giving PR pros some wiggle room to pitch unique gadget ideas outside of the usual smartphone and tablet.

The same goes for crystal ball and/or “best of the year” outreach—find out which publications focus on predictions or year-end highlights coverage. Simple Google searching will show you that Forbes and ZDNet, as well as top IT outlets such as InformationWeek and IDG sites, provide their readers with forecasts for the New Year, especially if you tie them to research. IDC and Gartner always provide good fodder that is trusted by top tech publications, which you can use to back up your client’s or organization’s claims in these types of pitches.

Robert Barrows, R.M. Barrows Advertising & Public Relations

I’ve been pitching two things for the holidays: Some advertising math I developed that can help businesses plan their holiday advertising—and their advertising all throughout the year—much more effectively; I have also been pitching a Valentine’s Day promotion that could start right after the first of the year…and media companies should start selling it now.

As to which media I’ve been pitching… I’ve been pitching major mass media, through emails, press releases and telephone calls.

Ron Wood, Ron Wood Public Relations, Ltd.

This is the season to help journalists/producers/bloggers. Just like all of us, they are looking to get time off for the holidays. Businesses giving back to the community or a group in need are the best pitches. It also is a good time to pitch something special that is being done to help their employees, from little things like giving away turkeys to employees to getting extra holiday time off. Long-range planning like what companies will be doing different for the New Year, or lists of what 2013 was to them and what they see in the future for 2014 also work.

Vanessa Wade, founder/CEO, Connect the Dots PR

Tis the season to pitch! While there are tons of blogs, magazines and papers to pitch, I narrow it down to the audience that would “share,” “like” and “comment” the most. Being in the age of video (Vine, Instagram, Mixbit), pitching to real time users works.

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