The holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is the most exciting and busy time of the year for consumers and retailers. From the outside, companies looking to meet holiday sales numbers may seem kinetic in wrapping up unfinished business and trying to close last-minute deals. But for marketing, advertising, and public relations teams, the last two months of the year pose an unexpected opportunity to take a step back and set plans for the coming year amid holiday chaos.
Specifically for PR teams working with Enterprise Tech, most large-scale company announcements, events, and campaigns come to a slow roll as December approaches. PR teams receive the invaluable gift of dedicated planning time during which deep work can be accomplished. With corporate news mostly quieting down until the start of the new year, PR teams take advantage of this lull period to engage in more exploratory relationship-building media briefings, and hone thought leadership insights to share anticipated 2023 predictions with the media. Additionally, they use this time to work with their marketing liaisons to plan for the year ahead, set the course for research plans and other innovative campaigns, and more.
Although this deep planning work may not be as audaciously visible as your neighbor’s extravagant holiday decorations, the work put in the last two months of the year is precious and will set the trajectory for ensuring a solid start to 2023. This planning period sets the foundation of the year ahead so that bandwidth is deployed on the execution of strategic plans, resulting in wins for clients and key stakeholders.
Aligning Your 2023 Plan With Business Objectives
Company reports, earnings and goals are typically set in stone at this time of the year, so it’s up to PR teams to leverage this information for planning and research while they have a break from more urgent media requests and announcement plans.
Work with your PR team to develop a plan surrounding desired accomplishments and business goals that correlate with upcoming initiatives. Planning with your PR team will prepare your team internally to connect with key decision-makers on feedback surrounding future campaigns. The PR and marketing strategy should always be aligned with current business objectives.
PR teams apply competitor report learnings to see where challenger brands can overtake growth in media coverage and share of voice. A competitive analysis allows PR teams to best position their clients within the ever-changing media landscape and spot unserved or underserved gaps in the media. This includes the frequency of media mentions, the quality of media mentions and the strength of owned media. Strong PR teams will know how to leverage competitive insights and data to make recommendations on top-performing storylines and key media connections.
Trend research also takes precedence during this period. By tapping into media friendlies and industry thought leaders, prepared PR teams can predict trends and develop timely proactive angles.
Setting the Stage for 2023 Success: Building Energy and a PR Roadmap
Beginning the new year with a positive sentiment sets the stage for successful business endeavors. Your PR team should use this quiet period to align on the momentum your company has built and what it plans to bring into the new year.
After discussions with key stakeholders, work with your PR team to outline a planning roadmap for the first half of the new year. If applicable, your company’s chief product officer, chief technology officer, or product marketing lead can share key product milestones in the works and partnership or customer deal flow plans to help inform this PR roadmap and ensure top priority items are in the queue. It’s also helpful to share an events calendar of planned upcoming industry events and any other key marketing initiatives planned so teams can prepare to amplify and dovetail efforts for maximum success. These insights can also help PR teams determine which awards to pursue for the coming year.
In addition to the meat-and-potatoes news announcements and event plans, PR teams can work with marketing leads to ideate any unique campaign initiatives to help drive the lead gen, expert positioning or brand awareness efforts. These can include surveys or industry reports. PR teams can also build out potential proactive storylines that complement planned company narratives and initiatives. This is also a great time to share customer case studies and any owned statistics that PR teams can leverage for proactive pitch planning. It’s also an excellent time to have planning conversations with your organization's thought leaders to determine key insights they have to share on unique approaches to addressing customer challenges and more.
Your company’s thought leaders can provide unique expertise in specific verticals or various business or technology sectors that can be positioned as timely storylines. PR teams will also use this time to identify topical trends and run them by thought leaders for consideration to weigh in on – these may include the state of the economy, recent technology innovations, or challenges and opportunities in the industry.
Refining and Updating Your Strategy With an Informed Analysis
Good PR teams will look to optimize the last few months of the year for doubling down on media relations activities and planning.
Momentum press releases can help your company put a bow on any final numbers which can be appealing to investors, help bolster brand awareness, and help drive traffic to your site. Whether your company is expanding its team, celebrating a milestone or simply sharing positive growth year-over-year, growth announcements spark a buzz among your internal team, journalists and competitors. Momentum announcements also attract new strategic partners and indicate to investors that your company is primed for mergers and acquisitions, an investment, or an exit.
Spend time analyzing which key feature stories resonated most with media. Content incorporating evergreen themes can be repurposed in the new year and used to foster new and ongoing connections with key partners in the media landscape. Your PR team can work directly with you to assess how the company is currently positioned and how to evolve that positioning in the coming year.
Messaging workshops are a great way to reassess what tone, phrasing and approach have been successful for outreach and what can be done to improve messaging for new funding rounds, new service offerings or product growth.
This messaging typically bleeds into industry-relevant predictions for the upcoming year that PR teams leverage in strategic media conversations. These predictions can serve as expert commentary opportunities or think pieces for your thought leaders when gathered well enough in advance. These predictions can land your company great coverage during a down period in otherwise timely announcements.
Preparation is the word of the season, and this time should be spent working closely with your PR team to focus on recapping the current year and planning best for the one ahead. An offensive strategy positions teams to win at the onset of the new year without any unexpected challenges or surprises.
Great PR teams are prepared yet nimble. Your PR team should have a focused eye on the market to have the capacity to shift initiatives at the speed of business. Getting ahead of research, trends, momentum, and messaging can set your company and PR team up to avoid unanticipated pressures of the new year and its business landscape before the New Year's Eve ball drops.