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It’s that time of year again when consumers scour digital ads and in-store promotions and retailers look forward to customers opening up their wallets. But with everything that’s happened in 2020, this holiday season will look a little different.

The good news is, not all is lost. Retailers and stores have adjusted their strategies for this year’s Black Friday, and PR Pros should take note.

Here’s part one of what Black Friday can teach PR Pros:

1. How to listen and adapt to your audience’s needs swiftly

Consumers are leery about in-store shopping, so many have turned to online shopping for their purchases. According to Digital Commerce 360, “consumers are poised to spend $198.73 billion with online retailers this holiday season; a 43.3% year-over-year jump from $138.65 billion for the same November-December period in 2019.” To accommodate this change, many retailers have opted to modify their Black Friday deals to be purchased online and shipped or picked up curbside. And, Black Friday is no longer a single day; for some stores a weekend or much longer.

For the PR Pro: Think of your audience and how things have shifted in the past year, five years even. Are you listening to what the media wants and how they want to be “talked” to? Reporters need info and fast, so PR Pros can pitch short and sweet messages on social media (think Twitter) or even text. The day-of the PR pitch by email isn’t dead, but when the audience needs info—and quick—consider adapting your own style to fit their needs and preferences.

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2. The value and importance of hyping early and often 

For 2020, retailers recognize that in order to secure interest and ultimately dollars, they will need to advertise earlier than usual in the season and repeatedly hit customers with their promotions. According to a US News article, holiday shopping has creeped back to start not even in November, but October. A Best Buy spokesperson has even remarked about Black Friday lasting longer than traditionally, saying, “Black Friday isn’t just one day this year — it’s months long.”

For the PR Pro: Depending upon the type of news, giving the media a heads up early on, not only serves as a courtesy, but gives them ample time to hold interviews, do their own research, pitch to their editor, and write an article. By hyping early and often, like retailers are doing in anticipation of making big Black Friday sales numbers, you’re affording the opportunity for reporters to be prepared versus scrambling last minute. Plus, by securing interest early and before other potential pitches and news stories are pitched, you get a leg up against the competition and continue developing solid relationships with reporters.

These two tips only skim the surface of what Black Friday can teach PR Pros. Be sure to catch up with us tomorrow for the last three tips.

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