By Kristina Keeling
Halloween is over and the Christmas commercials have begun airing, but does anyone remember the holiday between Halloween and Christmas? Students refer to it as a break, and parents think of it as a family reunion, but the correct term is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, but hate how it often gets overshadowed and forgotten between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and, of course, eating what is hopefully delicious food.
There are many things that we can learn from the holiday season, including the sometimes forgotten holiday Thanksgiving. With that being said let’s shine a light on this important holiday and see what we, as future and current PR professionals, can learn from Thanksgiving.
Plan your meal
It is always a good idea to have a plan in mind with any task you might come across. One task that comes along with Thanksgiving is grocery shopping. It is always a good idea to make sure you have a list so you don’t forget anything important. Communication is key when planning. Find out who is coming and what they are bringing, because you don’t want to end up having three bowls of sweet potatoes.
Similarly, PR professionals need to have a plan for everything. You do not want to be caught off guard when a crisis occurs. Always have a plan, and always plan for the worst case scenario.
Avoid going it alone
Taking on a big family dinner like Thanksgiving is not easy, and it is nearly impossible to do it alone. Whether you have helpers in the kitchen, or you ask people to bring a dish with them, you’re going to need extra help. And, like the first lesson states, make sure everyone knows what they are doing.
In PR, you can’t implement a big project by yourself. Whether you are planning a launch party or dealing with a crisis situation, you are going to need help executing your plan.
Don’t screw up the “bread and butter”
Sometimes we get wrapped up in wanting our dinner to be like those we see on cooking shows. It is okay to be adventurous, but we also expect the staples, such as turkey, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls to be done right every year.
Planning and working on campaigns can be fun, but we need to remember the basic day-to-day tasks. We don’t want to mess up the simple things, such as news releases, social media posts and the other “low-investment” tasks.
It is easy to gorge yourself with delicious food during Thanksgiving, but we need to know our limits. The average person consumes 4,500 calories during a Thanksgiving meal, which is over twice as much as a person should consume in one day.
We need to know our limits and pace ourselves in PR. The easy way to get someone to un-follow you on social media is by bombarding them with posts and tweets. Determine a strategy with the right number of messages, and stick with it. Of course this will change depending on what is happening within your company. The same goes for media coverage. Do not send out multiple story pitches and press releases. You will exhaust your audience and your emails will begin to look like spam.
Don’t be afraid to have fun
The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy time with family. I know my family likes to play board and card games during the holidays while watching holiday movies.
This time of year allows businesses to have a little fun with their initiatives. Get in the holiday spirit and have some fun with your social media posts, news releases and story pitches.
Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for what we have, but it is also about spending quality time with friends and family.
In the PR world, relationships are everything. It is how you gain business, acquire jobs, spread news and more. We all get a little busy during this time of year and it is easy to forget how important relationships are, so relax and spend some time with family this holiday season.
By Jenna Chwascinski
As I was growing up, Halloween was one of the most exciting times of the year. Countless hours were spent planning the perfect costume and deciding which neighborhoods would yield the best haul. You had to talk it all over with your closest friends, and costume approval was a necessity. Then convincing your parents that you had a fool-proof plan all worked out was a task in itself.
Little did we know that through all of these trials and tribulations, Halloween was teaching us some valuable lessons that would be helpful down the road. Who would have thought that Halloween could teach us about PR? As it turns out, it can, and it did.
You need to have a plan.
As I said before, it’s pivotal to devise a fool-proof plan. In the PR world, that’s nearly impossible, so we just try to do the best we can. In trick or treating, knowing the ins and outs of the plan will serve you well. Walking in circles isn’t something you want to do while trick or treating, and the same goes for a PR campaign.
Delegating tasks is very important. No campaign can be successful if everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time. The work load needs to be shared. Your team can then come together and discuss the results. Similar to trick or treating, you split up the forces to scout out who has the best candy, which often leads to impressive results.
Referencing past experience is the key to ensuring the maximum amount of candy. Which houses give the most candy? Which ones give out the best candy? It all factors into your decision making process. The same holds true in PR. Any PR professional knows that a big part of any public relations campaign is research. You have to look and see what others have done in the past. This will show you some success stories, and more importantly, show you failures. Seeing what others did wrong will help your campaign from heading down the same unsuccessful, candy-free path.
Efficiency is key.
The reasons to create a plan are clear. You want to ensure the most success in the shortest amount of time. You knew you did it right when you and all of your friends ended up with buckets full of candy within just a few hours.
In PR, the goal isn’t always to go big or go home. It’s not always about getting as much done at one time as possible. Efficiency in PR is bringing as much of your audience around to your way of thinking as possible. That might happen in little chunks, or it could happen all at once. It all depends on how you go about it.
Of all the tricks you learned back in the day, the biggest one was the ability to play to your audience. The more they like your costume, the more candy you get. It’s that simple. When it comes to PR, this should almost go without explanation: know your audience. Know what they want, and make sure to give it to them. This might take some outside-the-box thinking, but the ability to surprise your audience, even with something small, could go a long way.
What do you think? Have your Halloween traditions taught you anything about the PR world? Comment below with any of your favorite Halloween traditions that dip into the PR business. And don’t forget to follow IPR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.