PR Holidays: The 4th of July Can Mean Getting Most ‘Bang’ for Your Buck

It’s no secret that those of us in PR and marketing sometimes look to the holidays as ‘easy wins.’  There are obvious options available to people in any role.

Media pitchers can go after hot dog vendors, propane tank manufacturers, or the fireworks companies with the world’s shortest runway. Video producers busy themselves with preparing to film fireworks, and the content creators take the easy way out, writing blogs and media alerts that make use of just-passable puns and low-hanging firework jokes.

Happy Fourth Fireworks!

But there is a valuable truth buried somewhere in these tactics, and much like handing a lit Roman Candle to someone who has had several beers, there’s a lesson to be learned here.  So in the spirit of the holiday, here are the four ways big days can present some victories:

     1. You Really Can Get a Lot for Your Money—That Part of the Headline is Not a Joke 

The holidays truly offer opportunities to get more for your money.  Part of that has to do with what’s been mentioned so many times already: There are a million obvious stories coming out, and your job is to find a way to combat them. Here are four options from 4media that might actually help you do that:

  1. The Co-Op SMT: When one holiday presents a potential frame too good to pass up, and perfect for several brands in your contact list, what do you do? Consider a Co-Op. Getting several related brands to work together can be a huge bonus, unveiling a new media frame, and ultimately saving everyone involved some money while increasing pickup options.
  2. The Classic SMT and a PR Survey: Bundle your research and your media tactic, and you can save even more money.
  3. It’s Primo B-Roll and Bites Time: This is one of those tactics that doesn’t receive enough regular consideration, and holidays are a wonderful time to put it into practice. Is there a client on your contacts list that makes something related to a major holiday? Is there a safety bureau, an emotional awareness outlet, or a nonprofit with a story to tell? If you answered yes to any of those questions, there’s a major US holiday during which they can use your help—and if the old stories have been told too many times, find a way to become part of an organic one.
  4. Social Media: Where recycled news stories, old advertisements, and low-hanging fireworks jokes may fail in the eyes of the mainstream media, social media is a different environment entirely. Reach out to a brand that needs to up its Instagram game, and suggest an infographic, a short video, or even some really well-written snarky captions. Headway can be made with incredible ease on social platforms if you understand their unique frames.

    2. Some Stories Write Themselves, While Others Require Research

This one’s all in the title: There are a million stories every holiday that write themselves—which is to say, a brand doesn’t necessarily need you to write it.  But there is that one element that sets every story apart, and it is perhaps no more pertinent or poignant than when the airwaves are filled with generic content.

Hot Dogs, PR Holidays and Yum Research is a winner when the holidays finally arrive.  And do you know what else? It doesn’t even matter which holiday we’re talking about.   From Valentine’s Day to Christmas to Independence, an enterprising agency and a brand interested in making some true news can find a way to blow the top off the holiday story formula. Here are some tips on writing researchcrafting a strong PR survey, and then getting some pick up.

  1. Holidays are Emotional Times, and Emotion Can Be Inexpensive When Properly Conceived Of

Remember that holidays are emotional times, and emotion always wins.  Appealing to emotion may not seem like a money-saving tactic, and it may seem inappropriate to suggest anyone use emotion as a gateway to saving money, so allow me to qualify: Holidays are emotional for millions of reasons, but topping the list is likely a combination of the nature of the holiday itself (think Valentine’s Day, or American independence), or what people expect emotionally from that holiday (think Christmas or Mother’s Day).

These may not seem like money saving opportunities, but in the PR world, an opportunity to make an appeal to emotion can mean an avenue to doing less while meaning more. Maybe that’s what I should have said at the beginning.

Holidays are so unique in this field because they come with expectations: A story you’ve seen before, an ad that has ran a thousand times.  But sometimes, the most impactful options are those that strike the heart because they are genuine, not because they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and involved several Hollywood stars.

  1. Easy Wins are Still Wins, Everyone

This can be a bit of a double-edged sword, but it deserves inclusion as the last thing on this list because it’s often overlooked.  An easy win, though it may have lacked the massive creative force you were hoping for, is still a win! In any line of work, there’s pride to be had in executing some extraordinarily thoughtful, months-in-the-making activation—but to believe that devalues smaller projects is entirely incorrect.

Instead, look at those projects as fun, challenging and ultimately an opportunity to set yourself apart. Remember that the clichés floating around holidays present a massive opportunity to step outside the box, and instead exhibit how truly creatively capable you are.

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