01 Dec Christmas is fast approaching, are you prepared?
The silly season is finally here. The trees are up, the courier vans are delivering presents before Santa’s visit, and you can almost smell the terrible Christmas cracker jokes in the air.
But before you enjoy a restful summer break, it might be time you look at how you can sleigh your communications through the Christmas period and set yourself up for a great 2022.
Getting a head start means you are prepared for anything the year throws at you. As much as communications is about being reactive, it’s critical that you are proactive too. Proactivity signals to your stakeholders that you are thinking about them because you want to, not just because you’re in a position where you must.
It also gives you the jump on your industry colleagues. While it’s tempting to dust off the jandals immediately, you risk being on the backfoot to start up when you’re back to business. However, some planning now means you can wind down, and the ball keeps rolling too.
Here’s a few things that should be on your communications wishlist this Christmas:
A perfectly curated list of stories to pitch.
Let’s face it: working over the silly season sucks. You can make a reporter’s life as easy as possible by giving them a bank of stories to lean on.
It’s simple for you too, and it does not require constant hands-on-deck. Newsrooms operate with skeleton staff, like many industries still running. Their deadlines do not disappear.
If you’ve got some good news stories from your organisation, or your experts can offer some commentary to issues – get in front of journalists now.
You could also pitch a pre-written editorial piece, gifting editors some time back to look at other stories this festive season.
Remember to avoid clickbait, and do not pitch something that isn’t newsworthy. A good rule of thumb is to think of how you would tell the story to your neighbour. If you can’t see them sharing your enthusiasm, it may be time to re-think your angle.
A content schedule.
Out of habit, eyes will gaze over social media during down time. People are also online, trying to beat the New Zealand Post rush to snap up great gifts. With more eyes on screens, it’s a great time to get in front of people.
Scheduled sending of emails, or scheduled posting sites, can do the hard mahi for you.
Websites like Hootsuite allow you schedule a quick snap and a witty caption well in advance, so you can wish people a timely Christmas without cutting into your own Christmas time.
Scheduling an email send to pitch a story means the information gets to people at the right time. Sure, it may require you to respond to a call as soon as it sends, but it’s much less work than preparing content, writing an email, sending it, and then answering the call anyway.
Consistency keeps stakeholders engaged – a key reason scheduling content can foster long and strong bonds.
A plan for the New Year.
While the ‘out of office’ emails run into the New Year, there is no time like the present to think about how you will hit the ground running on your return. Having a plan allows you to do that.
If you’re not sure where to start, think about looking at the year that was.
Maybe your social media platforms didn’t grow their following bases as much as you might have hoped. In reviewing 2021, you notice you did not post as consistently as you might have liked.
For 2022, you might consider scheduling your content, to change that. By having a plan, and setting it in motion early, the year is already shaping up to be a success.
A gift for your greatest gift – your staff.
It’s easy to think communications is solely for external purposes, but your internal communications are crucial. Staff are a key stakeholder, no matter where you are.
It’s been a tough year, characterised by COVID-19 once again, and your staff have weathered the storm with you. Using your communications to say ‘thank you’ goes a long way.
A little note, a small token of your appreciation, whatever it is, make sure you’ve got a holiday message for them too. You know your staff best – think about what you know they would appreciate.
Meri Kirihimete from the C2 whānau. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and successful holiday, and a great start to 2022.