It's time to talk about Christmas PR and marketing!

You may be wondering why we’re even approaching the subject of Christmas in early August, especially when the sun is shining and the news is reporting yet another heatwave on the way.  For food and drink manufacturers however, Christmas is the most competitive time of year and it’s creeping up fast.

When it comes to marketing for Christmas goods, planning needs to start early. That’s because creating seasonal campaigns takes time and when many publications work months in advance, it’s likely that they will already be putting the finishing touches to their Christmas previews in July.

Take The Grocer for example; the leading FMCG trade publication went to print its highly anticipated ‘Guide to Christmas’ supplement this week. The article is read by buyers and managers of some of the UK’s leading retailers as well as a myriad of independent store owners and e-commerce businesses and the chances are that if your product is in the round-up, they’re going to take notice.

Another reason we kick-start planning five months early is because each year almost half of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October and as they spend an extra £1bn on groceries during the festive period, retailers will be starting to think about introducing seasonal products to their shelves from September. So, with just a matter of weeks to go before supermarkets start stocking up, manufacturers should already be spreading the word about what they have to offer for Christmas this year.

If you haven’t got your campaign plans in place yet though don’t worry, there’s still time. Here’s what you need to do:

Identify which products you want to showcase and where

At this time of year journalists are bombarded with press releases so it’s important that manufacturers plan their distribution lists carefully and only include details of products that the publication would be interested in covering. Convenience Store for example is great for targeting smaller business owners whose customers are likely to purchase affordable items and token gifts such as selection boxes, candles and other stocking fillers.

Titles such as Gift Focus and Independent Retail News however are read by business owners that are more likely to stock a mid-priced selection of products. Whereas journalists at The Grocer will prefer to receive details about your full range of Christmas food and drink gifts and decide which they would prefer to cover for themselves.

So before you start ringing around telling the magazines about your great products, do your research – find out what the titles are looking for, if they’re running any relevant features and if your products are suitable for their audience. The journalists will appreciate it and it will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Samples are key

If you’re looking to put your products in front of both buyers and consumers, then you need to be thinking about how to make them stand out to editors and one way to do that is to send samples.

A journalist is more likely to cover your products if they have had the chance to try them. Organising a ‘journalist drop’ isn’t easy though, it takes a lot of planning, especially if you want your products to arrive in style.

Once you have a list of the titles you want to target, you will need to identify the right person to send the products to and the right address for their office. You also have to arrange buying the packaging and sorting the delivery, so be sure take into account that you will need to allocate a budget to this.

Spreading the word and making sure it’s heard

Once you’ve identified which titles you want to target and who you need to send your products to, it’s time to get the press release drafted and out.

As the season gets closer, journalists become increasingly busy and so they don’t have time to chase you for simple details. The release needs to be catchy, not too long and include all of the important product specs and pricing. High res images are also a must. Then it’s a case of following up with each contact to ensure they have received the details and samples and try to gain feedback on whether your products are of interest.

So with opportunities already starting to pass for food and drink manufacturers looking to put their Christmas products in front of both a trade and consumer audience, it’s time to get to work.

We understand that planning has to be begin early and we usually start preparing our PR and digital marketing schedule for Christmas campaigns in June. However, it’s still not too late. If you’re looking to maximise coverage of your products this Christmas but don’t have the time or resources to manage this task in house, you don’t have to miss out. Appointing a reputable PR agency that has experience in running seasonal campaigns and journalist drops is a sure fire way of increasing awareness of your products in the run up to Christmas.

Here at Dragonfly PR we have years of experience in planning and managing bespoke seasonal campaigns to suit your product, brand and budget that have been proven to increase awareness and sales for our clients. For more information or to speak to a member of our team about how we can help you get your Christmas campaign up and running, call 01143 495345 or email

Dragonfly PR is a Sheffield-based PR and digital marketing agency that specialises in media relations, content marketing and organic SEO for constructionmanufacturing and food companies.

Call us on: 0114 349 5341