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A few weeks ago we hosted our annual Christmas PR planning webinar, where we discussed everything from coverage timelines, product styling, press releases, key trends for the season and so much more. If you missed out on the live webinar don’t stress! Here’s a quick rundown of everything we covered to help you optimise your coverage potential this Christmas.
Timing is key when it comes to planning successful Christmas PR campaigns. Data from previous years on the platform revealed the optimal timeline to ensure maximum exposure for your festive products (as well as a few surprising changes).
One key takeaway is the shift in starting point for Christmas PR. While June used to be the kick-off point for Christmas product downloads, July has emerged as the new critical month. Last year witnessed record-breaking image downloads on the platform during July, making it the ideal time to start planning your PR efforts. Additionally, September stands out as the peak period for PR activities, as this is the point where long-lead and short-lead interest in Christmas overlaps.
In terms of collaborations, October and November present an excellent opportunity to partner with influencers and magazines. By tapping into their audiences, you can amplify your brand’s reach during the holiday season. As the year comes to a close, late November and December still offer coverage opportunities. Black Friday deals, stocking fillers, and expedited delivery options will be in-demand for online publications trying to churn out last-minute features.
The importance of high-quality images
Gift guides play a huge role in generating sales for brands in the lead up to the big day. These offer roundups of products that revolve around a specific themes like gifts for her, stocking fillers, or gifts by price-point (which will be particularly popular this year as we continue to deal with the cost of living crisis). Gift guides appear in print and online articles, but may also manifest as influencer posts, videos, and shoppable pages – all of which have the power to influence a new audience of potential customers.
If you want to increase your chances of being selected for a coveted spot in one of these guides, you need to have strong product images. Most publications have limited budgets for photoshoots and therefore rely on striking images that they can access quickly via platforms like Press Loft.
Cutout images in particular are essential for gift guides, making up around 60% of our overall downloads. Defined by their pure white background, these images provide journalists with more flexibility when it comes to the layout of their features. The remaining 40% of images downloaded are lifestyle shots, showcasing products in a specific setting. You can achieve these shots with the help of professional photography and styling or using stock imagery. Investing in professional photography and styling can have a positive impact on your PR efforts and brand identity, but it may not be feasible for everyone. If you opt for DIY styling, we have a few tips and tricks to help your product shoots feel a little more festive.
Festive product styling
Our main tip – don’t underestimate the power of props! Props play a significant role in creating a seasonal atmosphere in your images. Plus, if your products don’t exactly fall into the gift or decoration categories (E.g. furniture), props that offer a subtle nod to Christmas can be a great way to tap into the festive spirit and increase your chances of coverage.
If you’re working on a tighter budget, consider simple props that can be utilised across different seasons. For example, seasonal foliage and blooms, or wrapped presents that you can customise to suit various trends. Additionally, lighting plays a vital role in creating a festive ambiance. Experiment with different styles of lighting, such as using gold fairy lights or multicoloured lighting, to really set the mood.
It’s important to ensure that your product remains the hero of the shot, even when incorporating props. A simple squint test can help determine if your product stands out amidst the styling. For more tips on how to style your product images for the festive season, be sure to check out our workshop with the lovely Emma Morton-Turner!
In the press release section, we revisited some of the valuable expert insights offered by the likes of Lara Sargent, Victoria Gray and Livingetc’s Pip Rich in our Meet The Media series, where they laid down the main “Dos and Don’ts” when it comes to sending releases.
When writing press releases, prioritise your most recent product launches for maximum coverage. However, older products can still be promoted by relating them to popular gift guide topics and trends. For example, consider press releases on “Gifts for Her” or “Stocking Filler Ideas”. By aligning with journalists’ interests, you increase the likelihood of getting noticed.
In a competitive landscape where editors are receiving hundreds of press releases daily, clarity and focus are crucial. Craft titles that highlight the newness, Christmas relevance, product type, and gift guide segments. For instance, “New Mindful Candles for Christmas Gifts” or “Five Christmas Gifts for Gardeners”. Avoid ambiguous titles like “All That Glitters This Christmas” that may be too vague to catch their eye.
Journalists save emails and conduct keyword searches when going back to source for their features. With a clear title, they will be more likely to remember and consider your products for inclusion. Remember, effective press releases are essential to stand out in this competitive field. Be sure to check out our full masterclass on how to construct winning press releases that secure coverage here for more expert advice!
How affiliate marketing comes into play…
Affiliate marketing sits at the intersection of PR and advertising, creating a grey area where brands incentivise publishers or influencers to feature their products by offering them a commission for generating sales among their readers or followers.
Understanding the significance of affiliate marketing in generating Christmas coverage is crucial. Research reveals that between 50% and 95% of products featured in prominent online publications’ gift guides offer affiliate commission. These publications include renowned names like the Telegraph, The Times, Ideal Home, and more —massive platforms with extensive readerships that can truly drive sales.
Clearly, affiliate marketing represents the future of online PR. It incentivises publishers to create content that sells your products, resulting in a win-win scenario. The publisher earns a commission when they sell your brand’s products, while your brand only pays when a sale is made—a performance-based approach to marketing.
Recognising the immense potential of affiliate marketing, we developed our own affiliate technology. After considerable time and effort, we have successfully launched, with over 140 brands already participating and 500 media partners generating a multitude of links daily – Click here for a full walk-though of the platform.
To see these tips in action, as well as catch a snippet of our exclusive trend report for Christmas 2023, be sure to watch the full webinar below!
What is Press Loft?
Press Loft is a PR platform specialising in the home, gift and lifestyle sectors. We help thousands of brands to get their products into the press. Our PR tools allow companies to easily secure press coverage and quality backlinks for SEO by connecting with them with our network of 25,000+ journalists, bloggers and influencers.
Did you know that we offer a FREE trial of our PR tools (including influencer outreach) for new brands? Click here to start your free trial and join over 1,000 brands already using Press Loft for their business!