7 Public Relations Experts Share Their Holiday PR Secrets

The Holidays are the most important time of the year for brick and mortar retailers and e-commerce businesses alike. Some companies rely on the last two months of the year to make almost all of their annual sales! 

With so much noise in the world today, it can feel hard--if not impossible--to break through and reach people who could be interested in buying your product or service. That's why now, more than ever, it's important to have a well-thought-out marketing and public relations plan for being seen and standing out during the Holiday sales rush.

The Best PR Strategies for Increasing Holiday Sales

April Neill

CEO/Principal Consultant
April Neill Public Relations

"If you’re looking for a great way to boost your client's brand exposure during the holidays, try mixing up your marketing strategy with feel good public relations’ initiatives.

Here are some quick tips for boosting business and spreading holiday cheer that have worked for my clients:

Campaign for a Cause

Increasing numbers of brands are mixing social good into marketing programs.

Not only is it smart; it can reap big rewards! Studies show that consumers are prone to make purchases and seek out services from brands that give back and do good work. I've personally had great success in garnering media attention for clients with charitable efforts that combine giving with a special timely offer. Not only will it drive sales or bookings, your client will be perceived as a brand that cares!

In my experience, the media loves stories about brands that are doing good so it's the perfect time to spread a little holiday cheer with a feel-good campaign. So host a toy drive, a holiday coat drive, or collect food for a local food bank. You can add up all the donations and send out a press release or newsletter to recap your results to keep the good will going.

Share Holiday Tips

Another way to give back is providing helpful tips that help potential customers solve problems they’re facing during the holidays. You can write a blog post, send a tips-related press release or contributed article to your local media. Not only will you establish your client's industry expertise, you’ll provide a valuable service to the community while driving traffic to store,website or blog. And it really works! I've personally sent out dozens of tips-related press releases and contributed articles and have garnered both local and national coverage.

Measuring Results

Tracking data and trends is important in measuring a campaign's success. Be sure to track media hits, including reach and impressions, increased traffic to website, increased social media engagement, as well as increased sales. I love using Excel to create charts and track trends and have learned to pivot tactics based on insights.

So whether you host a holiday outreacheffort or craft seasonal tips to share, don’t miss out on a great opportunityto build your brand awareness while also celebrating the season of giving. Chances are, you’ll boost your saleswhile also generating positivity and goodwill in the world. Cheers and Happy Holidays!"

Karin Tobiason


My publicity strategy for the holidays as a consumer products publicist is to start pitching products approximately six to seven months prior to the holiday for all gift guides for long lead, monthly glossy magazines.

The next tier I’ll hit is the gift guide(s) for the weekly magazines, often providing product placement with celebrities. Next will be the national consumer TV and radio shows, and winnowing down to the very short lead, I’ll pitch the blogs, online, etc

Obviously, the mix of media we pitch depends on the demographic of the customer; a mom consumes different media than a tween. We find that when our client’s products “hit” in all the media outlets around a similar time frame, the public perceives the company’s products as “trending” and more important to check out.

Publicity can help increase company sales. The more people who are aware of your product, the more opportunity the company has to sell.

However, in my experience sales increases of any size only happens when every other department in the company is solidly working together. If we’re able to get a product featured on the highest circulation outlet and the company’s website crashes, our work and your dollars paying us, is wasted. If your product falls apart, cannot be shipped or fails to live up to its marketing, no amount of significant press can increase your sales numbers. As much as I’d like to take the credit for increasing a company’s numbers, publicity is just one of a well-oiled cogs that help make it happen.

Once your product begins “trending” we have a lot more options to get creative to produce much larger, far-reaching, multi partner campaigns. That’s when it gets really fun.

GG Benitez

GG Benitez PR

In addition to strategically pitching our clients through the traditional means for consideration in holiday gift guides for print, tv, and online through the carefully crafted pitches and sampling, GG Benitez PR also works with various on-air talent to ensure our products are on their radars for when they are called to be experts curating these lists, themselves.

Additionally, we utilize more of the non-traditional means of PR by seeding celebrities and other social media influencers with our products, incentivizing them to share the clients’ offerings as giveaways to their followers, and/or offering to collaborate with the celebrities on their favorite charities to donate a portion of sales resulting from social media posts.

We also have worked with celebrities on curating their favorite holiday gift guide suggestions, including our clients, and helping placing those in the media. Although PR cannot be solely responsible for nor guarantee sales, these all work to help increase brand awareness and visibility, which can be easily measured through traffic, sales, and increase in social media followers.

Tracy Bagatelle-Black

Bagatelle Black Public Relations

There are lots of things PR pros can do to promote their clients over the holidays.  When I worked with PetSmart, we used to do a survey each year regarding how much people spend on presents for their pets.

This campaign was used in print, online and in video, as we created a short video clip showing the results and people at PetSmart getting their pets’ pictures taken with Santa.  This way we were promoting both getting holiday gifts for your pets and their in-store Santa photos.  It was always a bit hit with the media and the client.

Rhonda Rees

Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company

The very best way to promote clients during the holidays (or at any other time) is to come up with a good PR angle or hook.

One year I had represented a smoke detector tester company, and my client and I felt that it was important to highlight the importance of family safety in the home. We decided to inform the media of the potential danger from dried-out Christmas trees.

Many people were not aware that in a very short period of time, and given certain conditions, a tree could ignite and cause a serious fire.

To demonstrate the point, I pitched the idea to the media and secured a spot on the Home & Family show. I also purchased a Christmas tree, and had it delivered to the studio. I then made arrangements for a firefighter to set the tree on fire in a controlled setting. (This was done indoors of course.) The results were quite dramatic to say the least.

To continue to position my client's product and tie it into the message, the hosts and other experts mentioned how the tester could be used to make sure that smoke detectors were working properly. This was a good example of a successful tie-in with an important holiday lesson in safety that the media were interested in covering.
Needless-to-say, attention on the product and sales were given a big boost.

Christian Reed-Ogba 

BethanyEast PR & Mgmt. Consulting

Outside of the normal "top gift list" submissions I snatch up meaningful brand interaction directly with consumers by matching client brands with local event sponsorship opportunities.

With an increase in holiday soirees, sponsorships with the right events or campaigns make it's easy to build experiences shared long past the end of the holiday season.

Samantha Martin 

CEO, Media Maison

As a consumer products firm specializing in the toy and game industry, the holidays are their busiest time of year.
It is imperative that we get their products seen on national broadcast segments, lifestyle and parenting print publications and online where the reader is a click away from a purchase.

We start by creating a buzz about the product with toy and youtube influencers with the goal of kids asking their parents for that specific toy.
Then we utilize our personal relationships with celebrities and their children, starting early in the year by sending samples directly to the celebrity so we can receive feedback and use that we can use as media fodder when pitching. We partner our clients with large events for charity and giving back as a sponsor.

We encourage our clients and work with them to design fun Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday events/deals and we release our best social media content to tie into those promotions. Whether it is to their own site or to their retailer's site we work with them to make sure each placement gets the most views.

Our clients all see a massive upswing in their holiday traffic and the ones who are in retail bank on those sales for the next years orders.

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Dan Sevigny

Dan Sevigny is an entrepreneur, digital marketing expert, and the CEO of Spooky Digital. Dan's work has been featured in: Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, FOX 5, PIX 11, News 12, among others! Dan is most interested in using entrepreneurship as a way to promote health, happiness and positivity in the world.

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