Christmas is coming and for many of us that means a long summer break is on the horizon.
But before you turn out the lights and head off, take a few moments to ensure you’ve got your communications sorted.
Here’s a list of five communications actions to tick off your list before your break.
Distribute good news
With a dearth of business news coming out over the Christmas and New Year break, journalists are often looking for good news stories to fill space. This creates an opportunity to provide media with stories which are not time-bound.
Providing these proactively allows publications to drop your story in when space opens up. And remember, more people pick up a paper or troll their news feeds over the holidays, so the opportunity is amplified.
Remember that a lot of regional publications or magazines will be placing stories well before Christmas as time will be short in January – so get in early.
And make sure you add a great photo or two – great images increase your chance of publication by nearly 50 percent.
Actions: brainstorm list of current news, write your stories in a news format, provide to journalists with a personalised message in plenty of time.
Remember, despite the Silly Season, the media doesn’t take a break from chasing issues. And if your business is still operational over this time, issues and incidents that pique the media’s attention can still arise. So, if your CEO is on an island cruise with her phone off, who is your spokesperson during the break? Who is the alternative if your normal spokesperson is out of action? Are they easily accessible for staff or media if something arises?
Actions: determine your spokesperson for the holiday period, nominate a deputy or two, create an on-call spokesperson roster, ensure your communications manager knows everyone’s schedules and contact details.
Sort your social calendar
Your audience will be on social in a big way over the holiday period because people have more time to engage online. So, that means your social channels can’t afford to take time off. Keep your social wheels spinning by loading up and scheduling future posts for the whole holiday period.
Remember to make sure someone is checking your channels daily in case you need to answer any questions or respond to any issues posted.
Actions: create a calendar and weekly posts, be creative to relate posts to your audience’s holiday mindset, consider promoted posts to keep your brand in front of customers and prospects and roster staff to check the channels daily.
Book planning session
December is the ideal time to book in your annual planning to review what you achieved last year and plan for the next. Book a planning session in your diary now to give yourself a great sense of direction when you return in January.
And once you’ve got your business plan finalised, set aside time to determine the communications actions you’ll take to help you achieve those business goals. Do you need to raise awareness of your company, launch a new product, educate audiences, build relationships, get in front of your audiences in a creative way? If yes, then plan to make sure it happens in 2018. If you don’t plan, it either won’t happen or you’ll risk implementing communications in a haphazard way.
Actions: book your leadership team a meeting to discuss your communications strategy for 2018.
Take time to give time
For most of us, December is crazy busy. And when things get manic, we often drop the ball on doing the ‘little things’ that mean a lot. Don’t forget Christmas is the time to thank your staff, customers, partners, suppliers and community for their support during the year.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your thanks is with your time. Put on a barbeque for staff, phone up key customers and wish them a great holiday, hand-write Christmas cards or deliver gifts to clients yourself. Taking a bit of time to do something extra special for those people who are important to your business will return dividends many times over.
And if you’re a business that sends corporate gifts, give some thoughts to how you can support local charities or businesses. Consider donating to a local charity in lieu of corporate gifts and let your clients know what you’re doing on their behalf. Or, consider buying meaningful gifts through local businesses.
Actions: determine who deserves a personal thank you or special holiday message, decide how you’ll recognise their contribution, deliver your thanks with a personal approach, and think local!