Part Two: 5 Black Friday Lessons for PR Pros

public relations

We previously wrote about two of the five lessons Black Friday can teach PR Pros in this blog post. Tips included listening and adapting to your audience’s needs, as well as why it’s important to start promoting early and often. 

Here, we round up the last three tips PR Pros can glean from the most hyped shopping day of the year:

3. How to zoom out, see the big picture, and find empathy

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for a brand and its leadership to exercise empathy in their words and sentiments. During a year that has shattered so many families, it’s more important than ever to give retail employees time home. Many stores have decided to move their in-store Black Friday deals to purely or mostly online. By recognizing the magnitude of the situation at-hand and sacrificing potential sales all in the name of employee care and support, brands are exercising their empathy muscle and winning the hearts—and dollars—of consumers that applaud these changes.

For the PR Pro:

Like retailers, PR Pros should be aware of the bigger picture—reporters, like consumers, are potentially dealing with the illness or loss of a family member, layoffs or furloughs, mental or emotional challenges from being isolated, and many other factors. With this in mind, it might not be the best idea to be overly jovial or optimistic in your pitches, or to pitch a product that is out of scope right now—think travel, sporting events, concerts, etc. unless they are applicable during this time. Take consideration to how reporters and their audience might receive a feature about your product or service and be mindful of the words you choose when pitching. 

 4. Communicate and be transparent

Retailers need to not only be transparent with their store’s practices, like extra cleaning, social distancing measures, etc., but they need to communicate—and often. As store shopping and return policies change, as well as hours and customer support, it’s important to be up front and notify customers, in real-time, about these changes.

For the PR Pro:

Think of this like PR too. Are you communicating regularly with your target media list or just when you want them to pay attention and cover your pitch? Are you being open and honest in your pitch and avoiding a lot of spin? Media, like consumers, can see right through disingenuous statements and promises. As a product or launch changes, update your media list. They’ll appreciate being the first to know. 

 5. Thinking beyond Black Friday

Black Friday is simply one part of an overall year and one piece of overall consumer spending. Once it comes and goes, what else can retailers rely on? To stay at the top of consumers’ minds, retailers must be creative and digital-first to snag additional holiday shopping dollars, especially in a year when holiday shopping is projected to be lower than normal.

For the PR Pro: 

Just like your pitch or launch is only one part of an overall strategy. Don’t bank on one launch or pitch to take you through the year. Consider other activities outside of that to keep the momentum flowing. Like retailers can’t just rely on Black Friday for their year’s worth of revenue, neither can PR Pros rely on one pitch or launch. Connect often with internal stakeholders, like a CEO, to keep your finger on the pulse of what he/she is thinking and so they can offer up ideas for potential pitches throughout the year.

Consumers are hungry to score holiday deals just like the media is antsy to be the first with a breaking story or unique angle to cover. Feed your audience the way they demand and be sure to adapt and adjust your strategy to accommodate ever-changing media and coverage needs.

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