We know the holidays can be a stressful time: the planning, shopping, cooking and, of course, the relatives. As Public Relations pros we help our clients prepare for every situation – even the difficult ones – and some of that same expertise can be used by everyone to successfully make it to Jan 2nd:
- An important first step is to develop your Messaging. Let’s say you have a cousin or mother-in-law who you just know will pester you with the questions everyone loves, like “when are you getting married?” or “still no promotion at work?” You’ll want to be ready with answers that turn the conversation your way. For example, “this has been the best year for me, can’t wait for 2014!” Make up your own and keep them ready for when Aunt Edna has too much egg nog.
- Maybe you’re hosting the big dinner this year or determined to have the best decorations on the block, whatever you’re working on, don’t forget to create a Campaign. This is the word we PR folk use to plan how we’re going to sell something (and convince everyone ours in the best). It could be something as simple as keeping up a family tradition or as creative as turning your home into a woodland wonderland, just make sure your big idea shines through.
- Sometimes things go wrong. That’s why we’re always ready with a Crisis Plan and you should be too. Maybe an extra person (or four) shows up for dinner, your kids unwrap broken toys, or the turkey catches fire in the oven… don’t worry, these can all be handled. Just go back to those messages you crafted in the first bullet (you have those ready, right?). Then strategically point their attention to the artfully sprayed fake snow in your woodland wonderland.
- Finally, don’t forget to use your marketing toolsto make sure the holidays are just how you want them. Pick your favorite social media to share pictures of the gifts you want, plan for New Year’s Eve, and of course, to remind everyone of your Campaign (“I’m making all of Grandma’s recipes” or “we really outdid ourselves with the lights this year” – you get the idea). Making local headlines for your mechanical lawn Santa never hurts either.
And if all goes wrong, just remember what we tell our clients: the news cycle will move on. Sure, today everyone is talking about how the cat ate the cheesecake, but by next week your parents will go back to complaining about the neighbors, your cousin will be taking down his (less than spectacular) tree and your kids will have homework to keep them busy. Just hang in there and remember it’s only 11 months until you get to do it all over again!