Merry pitchmas: How to get your seasonal story across the line

3 minutes read

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the newsroom, not a creature was stirring, not even on police desk.

Sure, the 24-hour news cycle is a relentless beast that needs constant feeding but even media giants and journalists need a little rest.

Along with Christmas closures, public holidays and a general checking-out and powering-down, the festive period is generally a quiet time for news media.

There is still an opportunity to land media coverage in the lead-up to Christmas and across the holiday period if you follow the sage advice of Aruga’s canny public relations team.

Get in early

Most mainstream media winds down from early-to mid-December and works on skeleton staff until mid-January with some magazines, programs and sections rested until February. Speak to short-lead media in November to place your pitch on their radar and for longer leads, start in October.

Christmas postage cut-off dates are generally a week before, so time any product pitches to give customers ample time to buy, receive, wrap, post and pop under the tree.

Check who is working over the Christmas break. Journalists are people too and like to check out over Christmas so your pitches and products may languish in inboxes and in-trays until the New Year.

Go big or go home

So many brands try to capitalise on Christmas and add festive spins like sprigs of holly to almost any product. Come up with an innovative strategy and alternative angle to make your brand’s Christmas pitch sit above others.

There are only so many Santa vision opportunities that newspapers and TV news bulletins can run. Pitch a completely outrageous opportunity – and then pull it off when the snapper and camera crews arrive.

Be a Christmas elf

If you have no choice but to pitch mid-December, organise every possible element of the story to bring Christmas cheer to journalists. Like a stocking on Christmas Day, fill their Dropbox with treats like quotes and contact details for spokespeople, hi-res imagery, b-roll vision, vox pops and fact sheets.

Show journalists you care and put some effort into tailoring your pitch to provide unique Christmas content that aligns with their audience.

Keep it merry and bright

People crave positive news around Christmas time and that is exactly what editors want so, save the heavy stuff until New Year.

Stand out from the crowd

Leverage the news cycle and search out timely themes and topics that align with your product or pitch. For example, a shortage of prawns in December could be the perfect opportunity to promote your premium Aussie sausages for Christmas lunch.

Don’t limit your product pitches to Gift Guides; think of other news angles to grab a second chance at coverage. Has a celebrity or influencer worn or used it? Is there a heart-warming story of how it came about? Can you tie it to nostalgia or a current media trend?

Pay to play

The media landscape has changed enormously in 2020. There are fewer journalists and media outlets, spots are limited and organic editorial opportunities are drying up. Coughing up cash to boost a blog post, sponsor content or appear in an advertorial assures coverage.

Like a posh Christmas cracker, Aruga is a treasure trove of treats. For targeted media pitch plans, festive angles that stand out and sure-fire strategies to “sleigh” Christmas Gift Guides, send us a Ho! Ho! Ho! at

Belinda Seeney

Content Director

Belinda Seeney is Aruga’s Director of Content and a Walkley Award-winning print and digital journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in community, regional and metropolitan newspapers, magazines and websites.