Christmas 2020 is almost here. Present shopping is almost done, the food order has been placed and you’ve tried not to eat all the advent chocolate in one go. But have you given a thought to next Christmas? 

It sounds ludicrous, but many companies are already planning what they will be producing, promoting and selling for the festive period 2021. And communications and marketing activity should also go hand in hand with that – the earlier you can consider your Christmas comms the better. After all, communications and marketing with any product launch, campaign or project, should not be an afterthought and should be considered at every stage of the planning and development process.

Christmas 2021 seems a lifetime away but starting early will allow you to reach your audiences in a planned and strategic way, building long-term trust and resulting in sales and positive brand awareness. 

But how do you go about it? Here are a few ideas and helpful tips: 

Christmas in the summer

July is usually the time when magazines and national media gift list guides start to plan their Christmas content. Make sure you are ready with product descriptions, quality images, price points and stockist information. You could consider holding your own Christmas in the summer event for journalists to attend or you could exhibit at a national event. I had the pleasure to attend Christmas in July event in 2019 and it was a great experience with lots of journalists and key influences attending. It was a great way to get a brand in front of the right people and gather their contact details. 

I attended the Christmas in July event in 2019

Events

Who doesn’t love a festive event? Mulled wine, reindeer, a Santa’s grotto? These types of events are great for all ages but if you want people to attend you need to tell them early enough for them to buy tickets and plan it into their Christmas calendars. Perhaps run an early (turkey) bird ticket in the summer months to get the word out and implement a strong social media campaign in the late summer and early autumn to get the buzz going. 

Gift guides

Supermarkets have Christmas chocolate boxes in the aisles earlier and earlier nowadays and PR is going the same way. Journalists are starting to put gift guides together much earlier now, so you need to be ready. Don’t wait until December for Christmas coverage. Be ready in September and October and get ahead of the crowd. Find out who is writing the gift guide for the outlet you want to appear in. The contact is likely to change every year so make those enquiries early. 

Magazine lead in times

Magazines have varying lead in times so do your research early and find out when their deadlines are. This is especially important if you are running any early festive campaigns or ticket sales. Some magazines will have their 2021 feature list already set and available for you to have, so get this now, and start planning how you can utilise it.  

Competitions

We all want our products to appear in the gift guides, with a lovely write up. But truthfully, there is a lot of competition and you may not make the cut. Providing prizes for an outlet’s festive competition, whether it’s on social media, online or in print, is another great way of getting exposure. 

Website updates

We live in a digital world where content is king, and backlinks are gold dust. Make sure your website is up to date with images, correct information and working links to ensure when you are mentioned, people can find you easily and you see that return on investment. 

Christmas is a fantastic opportunity to raise your profile and stand out from the crowd. But the competition is fierce – get creative and think outside the box. Don’t just put PR on your Christmas list in December 2021, start now and reap the rewards.