Monday, July 12, 2010

Public Speaking: Deck the Halls with Story Ideas at Christmas

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's can be painfully slow at newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio stations because newsmakers are doing things other than making news.

Talk show guests are in short supply. Reporters often find it difficult to track down the people they need to comment on a particular story. And because newspapers sell more ads in December, that means more news pages to fill.

Here are ways your publicity effort can capitalize on the holidays:

· Tie your story idea to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yom Kippur or New Year's. See Special Report #14: How to Piggyback Your Story Ideas onto Holidays and Anniversaries. (To access any special reports mentioned in this article Visit and click on "special reports".)

· Write letters to the editor and opinion columns for publication during the weeks immediately before and after Christmas, when submissions usually drop off.

· Call your local newspapers now to see what special sections they have planned during December. Your story idea might be a perfect fit. Pitch your idea immediately because these sections are sometimes done weeks in advance.

· Stay alert for breaking news stories on which you can provide expert opinion, even if the topic doesn't have anything to do with the holidays. If a story breaks, call newspapers and TV stations and offer to comment.

· Write or call magazine editors, who usually work six months ahead, with story ideas for late spring and early summer. Mark your calendar now to set aside some time before and after Christmas to pitch.

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, publishes "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week," a free ezine that shows you how to generate thousands of dollars in free online and offline publicity. Subscribe at and receive free the handy checklist "89 Reasons to Send a Press Release." Contact her at 262-284-7451 or at

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