Deck the halls…in July? It must be Christmas in PR land!

Deck the halls…in July? It must be Christmas in PR land!

Yani Giazizoglou

Yani Giazizoglou

The sun is shining, the Pimms is on ice and the baubles are on the tree. Hang on, what? No, you haven’t had a fall and hit your head – it’s Christmas in PR land!

For consumer clients, if you haven’t started thinking Santa by sunny season – why not? In July and again in October, Firefly’s consumer team organised a series of publishing house tours for the UK’s premier lifestyle press, in order to secure that all-important Christmas coverage for our client Give as you Live. Here, I’ll talk you through how we did it – using the not remotely tenuous analogy of decorating your Christmas tree.
Christmas treePart 1 – Where’s your tree going?

You can’t put up your tree without first getting the OK from your mum/dad/spouse/housemates as to where it’s going. The same is true of a great Christmas event – so first you need to find a date when you, your clients and the journalists are all free. Once you’ve done that – find and book your perfect venue and pay the deposit.

Part 2 – Pick your decorations

All good Christmas trees have an appropriate theme. Some decorations work together, others don’t. The point is that you need to put thought into which decorations you want this year – and what benefit they bring to the overall tree. The same is true of your Christmas event – you need to pick the right journalists to invite, those who match up with your client’s business objectives. For Give as you Live, it’s all about the shopping and lifestyle editors – and Firefly spent weeks in advance tracking them down and getting in touch via phone, email and post, relentlessly pursuing attendees.

Part 3 – …don’t forget the lights!

No Christmas tree would be complete without lights. No matter how many baubles you’ve got on there, lights give it that little bit extra and will keep everyone happy. In the context of a Christmas press briefing, our lights were the press materials, collateral and refreshments. Give as you Live provided roll-up banners, whilst Firefly sourced refreshments and festive treats to keep the journalists happy on the day and example Christmas presents that can be purchased via the platform. In addition, we produced a special Christmas press release and a number of example gift guides to aid our sell-in.

Part 4 – the star on top

So, the tree is perfectly placed, perfectly adorned and the lights are on. What’s missing? Oh yes, the star. (Or the fairy, if you must, though personally they’re not my cup of egg nog). Without the star, nothing else matters. The stars of our Give as you Live show were Polly Gowers, OBE, (CEO and Founder) and Steff Lewis (Head of Communications). Making sure the client is where they need to be, when they need to be there is one of the most important things a PR can do for a press briefing. Without the client, who will journalists talk to?  With items and people required at IPC publishing house in Southwark, Hearst in Soho and at Firefly HQ in Fitzrovia, all within very short time span, Firefly arranged no fewer than five separate couriers and four taxis.

Part 5 – Show off your tree

What better way to celebrate your fully decorated, floodlit and bejewelled Christmas tree than to get everyone round and show it off? Or, in the case of a press briefing, get the journos in! The key to success on the day is persistence. Firefly had team members in back rooms calling journalists and publications from our target list, reminding and coaxing them down to the press briefing room. Once this happens – and with professionals like Polly and Steff – you just need to make the introduction, then let them work their magic.

Part 6 – open your presents!

The apex of the festive season is opening your presents on Christmas day. They’ve been under the tree for weeks – and if yours is particularly well decorated – and you’ve been good all year - then you deserve them! The end of a press briefing is not job done. A lot of follow-up is required, with journalists requiring anything from high res images to case studies, interviews and even the odd reminder. If you’re tenacious, you get there in the end, securing great coverage for your client –the best Christmas present you could give them.

Christmas presents

Here are just some of the examples of Christmas coverage secured for Give as you Live at the July and October press briefings:

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