How to capitalise on Christmas in July (yes, really!)


Though it might seem absurd to talk about Christmas in the context of July, at the risk of sounding like my grandma, it will come around faster than we know.

But there’s more to this week’s instalment than that.

Okay... so why are we talking about Christmas in July? 

Christmas in July is a ‘thing’ in the journalism and PR world. It’s the month in which brands (or their respective PRs) pitch their Christmas related products or offerings out to the media. It’s also when the media - particularly magazines and online Shopping sections - start to prepare their Christmas sections, features and pages. They work so far ahead because, for both brands and the media, Christmas is one of the most lucrative times of year (holiday shopping can account for up to 30% of ALL yearly retail sales) and they want to capitalise on that.

You should too. A well-timed pitch to a media title can offer a major opportunity for sales as well as coverage and journalists and editors are always desperate for more gifting and Christmas ideas that break the typical mold.

Remember - it's all about timing! 

If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s newsletter yet (check the archive!), you might not be aware that the best time to pitch will depend on the kind of media title it is - and this matters even more so with Christmas. This is a reminder that timing is everything when it comes to getting featured ahead of Christmas. Generally, long-lead titles (monthlies) will start prepping these pages in the summer (from July onwards - hence today’s theme), whilst short-lead (weeklies) will start in September and online in October onwards.

How to make the most of it if you're a product based brand 

If your brand sells products, you could be pitching yours out to be featured in:

  • Gift guides

  • ‘Best’ lists

  • Tried and tested features

  • Gift photo galleries

  • Industry expertise - get creative. Target business titles with advice led pitches such as ‘how to make your products stand out from the crowd.’

All of which people look to when they are stuck for what to buy a loved one. The best way to get on these lists is usually to start contacting the editors of the shopping or lifestyle sections and to build a relationship in the same way we discussed in a previous newsletter (look for ‘How to build a relationship with a journalist’ in the archive).

Tip: if you’re pitching a glossy magazine, make sure your product imagery is visually appealing - their pages are as much about the visuals as they are about the words, so have a flick through a few before you send to see where yours would fit best aesthetically.

And how to make the most of it if you're a service based brand 

It can be reeealllly tempting to pitch a generic Christmas idea, but most of those are typically covered in house. If you offer a service, it can be hard to think of what to pitch, particularly if you don’t think what you offer is the kind of thing someone would buy as a present. But there are ways around this. Ideas for pitching could include:

  • Experience gifting guides

  • Advice style guides - for example, if your business falls under the ‘coaching’ category, you could pitch a ‘how to support an entrepreneur friend at Christmas’ story, where your service is offered as an alternative gift idea.

Don't forget about price points 

Whether your business works to a luxury or budget price point, make sure your pitching to titles that have a readership that matches this. For example, if you run a luxury product company, pitching to a magazine for new mums might not be the most fruitful avenue.

And lastly, be persistent 

Editors and journalists are pitched an overwhelming amount of Christmas related ideas, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from them right away. Follow up in a few days and don’t be afraid to pitch them a different product or idea if the initial one isn’t successful.