With US Thanksgiving and Christmas rapidly approaching, ’tis the season to start seeing holiday-related stories pop up in magazines, newspapers, TV and through social media. With the exception of perhaps social media, which is more immediate, these stories have been in the works for months. (Although it could be argued that the stories being published via social media have also been in the works for awhile.)
Unfortunately, it’s probably too late for you this year to get that great holiday story out in major media, so keep these tips handy for 2014.
Magazines require at least four months of lead time for a story. Remember that magazines are a highly visual medium, and photo shoots take time to set up and execute. If you are contacting a magazine, be prepared to have everything ready at the word “go.”
If you are concentrating on some of the bigger national magazines, you should consider contacting them even six months out. Yes, that means talking Christmas in July.
More and more newspaper content is being published online vs. in print. Consider this when contacting a paper. Is your story better suited for one or the other?
If your story lacks the needed visual content that a magazine or TV requires, then a newspaper is a great place to pitch it.
Who doesn’t love a feel-good holiday story during the 6 o’clock news? Unless it’s breaking news, that story was pitched to the TV station several weeks in advance. Like magazines, TV thrives on good visuals. Make sure you story contains more than a “talking head.”
We need to relate to your story. What local angle do you have? This is especially important when pitching your story to regional newspapers and especially to radio stations.
Think of the space the media has available like an airline or a hotel. Around the holidays, the space fills up – quickly! Your competitors and countless other similar brands are all vying for space too.
How will your story stand out? The key here is story. Tell one. Grab attention! (But remember to be truthful!) Find a way to stand out from the others with a creative angle or take – especially if it’s a “common” holiday story, like “Hot Toys of The Year!”
Now that it’s the end of November, get going on those 2014 holiday stories. Time’s a-tickin’!