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6 PR Tips to End The Year On A High (And Set You Up For 2020)

By Mark Linsdell

team pointing at whiteboard

The curtain is beginning to close on 2019.

It’s only natural that as the nights draw longer, your startup may think it’s time to wind down your PR efforts for the year. 

I’ve got news for you; ugly Christmas sweaters are not a signal to slow down your PR output. 

In fact, while your competitors slip-on an itchy pullover with ‘Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal’ etched into it, you can go after the earned wins they miss and get ahead for the upcoming year.

Home Alone? More like a home run!

Interested? Then, read our list of these six great pr tips that ensure your business ends the year in style:

Continue pitching to the press and publications

One of the biggest mistakes you could make at the end of the year is to wind down your pitching efforts. 

As I’m sure you’re aware, it takes a while to build and maintain relationships with the press. In fact, we believe you should spend two months naturing your connection with a specific publication or journalist before pitching.

Why put in all that groundwork and then let it fritter out just because people are hanging stockings above the fireplace?

It seems foolish, right.

We recommend that throughout December you carry on doing exactly what you should the other months of the year: pitch, pitch, pitch!

If you’re stuck on ideas to pitch, you may want to look into setting up some media monitoring tools. Here are five that we would recommend:

It may also be worth exploring some different earned media wins you haven’t tried before, such as:

  • Guest Articles
  • Podcast Appearances
  • Product Reviews

Again, whatever you do, don’t ghost the press.

Stay active on social media

Social media use goes up during the holidays. It’s not hard to recognize why. 

You know the scene. You’ve just eaten your weight in turkey and green bean casserole and you’re in a food coma. No longer feeling sociable, you seek solitude by scrolling through social media.

Right?

You’re not alone.

The end of the year festivities is a time of the year where your startup can really have some fun with your social media marketing strategy. After all, it’s the season to be jolly. 

Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your social media calendar during this period:

  • Change your logos to reflect the holiday – The one is so simple. If it’s thanksgiving, pop a turkey on your facebook profile picture. If it’s close to Christmas, add a Santa hat to your logo.
  • Stream a company gift exchange – If your team is doing something like a secret Santa, why not share that on Facebook Live, IGTV or your company’s story?
  • Act like Santa – The holidays are the perfect time for you to give back to your followers. You can do this by offering exclusive promotions or competitions during the holiday season.

Don’t stop posting content

As we mentioned, the end of the year is not the time to stop your content output. In fact, it should remain as clockwork as the rest of the yeat

For your startup to be successful, you need to continue posting a mixture of:

  • Owned media
  • Earned media
  • Paid media
  • Shared media

However, as it’s the goal of PR campaigns, we’re going to focus on earned media content here. 

As it’s the end of the year, you could get reflective and use your social media channels to share some of your earned media highlights from the year.

Furthermore, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out and targeting some more earned media wins during the holidays. Last December, our clients saw a 28% increase in external results when compared to the 2018 year average.

It seems that while everyone is roasting logs on an open fire, there are earned media opportunities out there. Keep the PR flame burning by continuing to produce read hot content. 

Avoid any major announcements till 2020 

Yes, the holiday season presents an opportunity to be creative with your owned media output. Furthermore, while others are putting their feet up, you may achieve more earned media wins.

Despite this, the holiday season is not the best time for major announcements.

A number of people aren’t at work and big projects may be winding down until the new year. Therefore, your startup’s big news may fall on deaf ears during this time. 

As a startup, it’s likely you only have one or two truly newsworthy announcements every calendar year. Furthermore, it takes time and energy to write the perfect press release. With this in mind, you want your timing to be right. The end of the year is not the right time. 

You may be ecstatic and want to shout your news from the rooftop but, trust us, sit on that golden egg until the new year.

Evaluate your end of year performance

Instead of focusing on new announcements, you can use the end of the year to reflect and evaluate your PR strategy over the past 12 months. 

If you’re reading this and thinking, “what if I don’t have anything set up to monitor my PR success?”

You’ve got to start now! 

In the dark days of traditional PR, there was no real way of measuring the success of your PR campaign besides newspaper clippings and appearances on the TV. 

However, the rise of digital PR means there a plethora of different metrics you can track to measure and evaluate your PR output. A few of these include:

  • Mentions – How many mentions did you get in an earned media win.
  • Backlinks – How backlinks you’ve gained through earned media and what’s the ratio between follow and nofollow.
  • Share of voice – How many mentions you received when compared to your competitors.

An honest assessment and appraisal of your PR performance can help you outline the area and tactics you can improve on in 2020. 

Start planning for next year

The end of the year is the perfect time to start finalizing your plans for 2020.

Although it’s difficult to predict the PR trends for 2020, you can use your analysis from 2019 to give yourself the best chance of starting the new year with a bang.

This is a good time to decide on your companies key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new year. KPIs measure whether your PR output is successful or not. These vary from company to company and may include:

  • Lead volume – how many leads you’re capturing and the earned media source 
  • Website referral traffic – how much traffic is coming onto your site from earned media referral
  • Social engagement – how many users are engaging with your content and social media channels

As Benjamin Fraklin once said, “fail to plan, plan to fail”. This is especially true in PR. Therefore, make sure your PR team gets together before the year is up and brainstorm your strategy for 2020. 

Final Thoughts…

People may think that December is a time to put your feet up and kick back with an Eggnog. However, when it comes to PR, they couldn’t be more wrong. 

The end of the year presents unique opportunities that your competitors may miss. It’s a time to go after unclaimed earned media wins, have fun with your company branding, reflect on your PR output of 2019, and set your PR strategy for 2020. 

So, don’t put those slippers on just yet! End your year with a festive flourish.

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