*Unless you’re strategic!

Let’s cut to the chase – the holidays are busy. They’re high on cheer and low on time. For you. For me. For everyone. That includes the media.

While many companies’ marketing and communications activities slow down during the holiday season, that’s not the case for all. So, how do you implement a successful media strategy?

(Quick disclaimer: the below tips generally don’t apply to crisis communications. Holiday or “regular” day, a crisis can occur at any time, and immediate, strategic communications must be implemented appropriately.)

(.. another disclaimer: remember that any media activity should be integrated with your other communications efforts.)

Ask yourself: can this wait?
Let’s say you’ve got some great news (perhaps outstanding data to report or a new grant), but it will be just as relevant to announce in a week or two as it is today. You’re better off waiting, especially if there’s no tie to the holidays.

If you’re making the announcement in early-mid November or early-mid December, however, it’s safe to announce now. If it’s any later than that, hold off. Journalists are people, too, and they take breaks.

Just remember – many companies will delay making announcements until right after the New Year. Don’t get lost in the shuffle if you can help it. Give January a few days to settle in before you release your news.

And if it can’t wait?
Timing is still key. If you’re within a week of the holidays, announce as far in advance within that week as possible.

Does your Fortune 500 company have a new CEO? Do you have a major concert/ticket sales announcement? It’s possible that major news will be leaked before you’re ready. So, go forward with your media announcement, but give yourself plenty of time before journalists set up their out-of-office messages.

If your news is holiday-related (event, coat drive, etc.), there’s naturally more wiggle room (within reason). Chances are, you likely began media outreach weeks ago, though.

Sometimes, you have no choice. There’s some news that must go out when it must – whether it’s weeks before a holiday or on the special day itself – road closures, public safety announcements, closings – you get the idea. Life happens, and media will make every effort to communicate timely news.

Don’t let your story end up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Be like Rudolph and guide your client or company on a successful media strategy.