Is your microphone on? Is your background acceptable? Are you camera-ready?
Sound familiar? After a year that for many of us has consisted of a steady stream of Zoom calls, virtual events, and very little face-to-face interaction, you may be wondering how and when to communicate with stakeholders during this unprecedented holiday season. The Hatcher Group is here to help with a few tips to make your end-of-year communications personal, merry, and bright!
Get personal. This year, connection is critical. If you are planning to send a holiday message to clients, partners, or funders, consider sending a handwritten holiday card, even if it’s only to a smaller group of VIPs. Taking the time to write a thoughtful note will help your organization stand out amidst a sea of virtual-only contact.
Be memorable. If you are planning to send out a holiday message electronically, get employees involved. Showcase pictures or videos of employees in holiday gear or celebrating a unique holiday tradition in an email or on social media for a win-win: it builds morale internally and is a fun and memorable way to wish stakeholders a happy holiday season and, hopefully, a brighter new year. If you have national or international locations — even better! Include images of employees in different geographies (bundled up in the snow in Maine, on the beach in California, in the mountains of Tennessee) or short videos of staff saying holiday greetings in their native languages.
Got heart? The holidays may not be the best time of year to make a big announcement, but it can be a good time to pitch feature article ideas about how your organization has given back to the community or efforts to spread cheer. These articles should be attuned to what is already playing out in the news. How have you helped make the community better during COVID or enhanced racial equity? Brainstorm ideas, draft a few paragraphs and pitch local reporters early this month.
Don’t stop the content. Social media usage goes up during the holidays in a typical year. This year, with so many people homebound, it will likely be even higher. While you might be taking time off, you can still prepare and schedule exciting and lighthearted content for social media over the holiday period. This is the perfect time for your organization to increase engagement.
Reflect. Look back at the year to see what went well and what needs work. Review your 2020 media coverage, digital campaigns, social media, website analytics, and other available marketing metrics. Interview a few key stakeholders to get their input and feedback on how your communications efforts fared. Using this research, and, with an eye on identifying your upcoming goals, update your communications and PR strategies to make 2021 more impactful than ever.
Finally, on a personal note, take time to put the “me” back in merry. Not surprisingly, many of our clients’ highest performing social media content this year has revolved around self-care. After nine months of the pandemic, everyone needs extra support as we enter the always stressful holiday season. Being mindful of your mental, emotional, and physical health will help you be less stressed, more present, and better able to communicate with both stakeholders and loved ones alike this holiday season.
By Kristen Peterson, Senior Director