Have you planned your Christmas PR strategy?

If you’ve been to a supermarket recently you may well have huffed and puffed at the prominent displays of Christmas chocolate tins and cracker selections. “It’s only blooming October!” you may have grumpily mumbled under your breath at hearing Last Christmas piped through the speakers.

But retailers have to start planning for Christmas if they want to see a jump in their like-for-like sales in the run up to the big day.

Christmas also offers a golden opportunity for PR. As a former journalist, I know how quiet it can be for reporters in the Christmas period. Just like August, it is often a time where everyone is taking their foot off the pedal work-wise and enjoying time with their families. In other words, not a lot is happening.

Perfect timing for a PR person to come along with some lovely stories to help fill those pages!

If you’ve made your Christmas business plans and have any events to promote or cover, now is the time to plan your Christmas PR strategy.

Even if you think you’ve got nothing happening, Christmas is a great chance to write an article based around what you do. For instance, if you’re in counselling you could create an article giving advice on getting on with your relatives over Christmas. A children’s entertainer could offer tips and tricks on keeping the children amused.

Datgan is just bursting with ideas so please, let’s work together now to get your Christmas campaign ready. That way, when December comes you’ll be free to get on with what you need to do while we secure you some fantastic seasonal media coverage.

Is Your Money Saving Really a False Economy? It Can Pay to Splash Out!

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This beauty, pictured chilling in my garden yesterday, is a Comma butterfly named because of the white ‘comma’ on its underside.
Commas, along with apostrophes, are commonly used incorrectly in writing. Do you know how to use them?
Every time you write a business communication you are saying something about yourself and your brand. Rightly or wrongly, if you have bad spelling or misuse punctuation some potential customers will think less of you for it and maybe move on to the next brand.
So what can you do? You could spend hours swotting up on grammar and spelling, or you could hire someone who already knows all about it to help. Startups and small businesses often think this extravagant, but the latest thinking on entrepreneurship maintains that you should spend as much time as possible doing what you do best. This is getting new customers and maintaining your current ones. Not checking emails and voicemails, ordering stationery, tidying your desk, fixing a leaking tap, or cleaning. Neither is it spending hours learning how to do something someone else could have been paid to do in an hour, just to save money.
Let’s say you spend six hours swotting up on grammar, writing and rewriting a letter or press release when it really isn’t in your skill set to do it. Not only is the letter or press release likely to be pretty ineffective, you’ve lost six hours where you could have made hundreds or thousands of pounds’ worth of business had you focused on what you do best.
You may be surprised at what you can get for even a modest budget. Your budget may not stretch to a copywriter to write all your communications, but it may stretch to having them proofread and edit things for you before they go out. It may pay for them to tweet and post to Facebook on your behalf, write a killer marketing letter, or just share some great advice.
Sending a clear, consistent message to your current and target customers is vital. If you struggle with writing, consider bringing in some help. Please do call me for a no obligation chat if you think I could help. Datgan – let us tell your story.

 

Sieges, Tsunamis and Boiler Suits

A hundred and twenty five years ago a fine publication called the North Wales Weekly News was established. Eleven years ago a green trainee reporter called Laura Hughes was lucky enough to start work on it.

Here is my contribution piece to the anniversary celebrations, looking back at my time on the paper and the wonderful people who made my first job as a journalist such a pleasure.

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Dos and Don’ts When Sending a Press Release

DO spend time before starting to decide what your angle is and which readers you want to target.

DON’T waste your time sending to titles whose readership does not fit with your target customers.

DO research titles’ readership demographics, style, reporter contact details and deadlines.

DON’T send a press release that isn’t relevant to a title.
A local newspaper in Bournemouth will not be interested in a fantastic new product by a designer from Blackpool. A design magazine will be interested in a fantastic new product by a designer from Blackpool if it is innovative enough. A local newspaper in Blackpool will also be interested.

DON’T send out a blanket press release to everyone.

DO write different versions for different titles.

DON’T just send your release out and hope for the best.
The contact you have picked could be on holiday or sick leave or your email could get stuck in the spam filter.

DO call to let the journalist know it’s on its way and phone again to check they’ve received it. However…

DON’T bother a journalist when he or she is near their deadline, unless you have a genuine scoop for them.

DO pick a good time and be polite.

DON’T think the job is done yet…

DO keep an eye out for your piece – if you’re happy with it a quick email to say thanks will never hurt. If it doesn’t go in, ring to politely ask why. It may be there has been a busy news period and it will soon be featured. If it doesn’t make the grade, ask why, listen to feedback, improve and learn for next time.

DO remember – these are the bare bones of placing and monitoring a press release. There are other factors such as timing and exclusivity. How to write a press release and thinking about accompanying images will be the subjects of future blogs, so please check back. If this all sounds too difficult or you need further advice:

DO please get in touch with me at laura@datgan.co.uk – I’m here to help.