The holiday season that just flew by was a great time to get free publicity in your local media (hometown newspaper, magazine, radio, or local TV station).

I work with a center here in my hometown (TLC Child Development Center) and this is what we did to get 3 unique mentions in our local paper.  First, we partnered with the Rotary Club’s annual Santa on the Green event by offering to host a raffle fundraiser at the event.  We contacted Little Tikes (who is based in our town) and they offered to donate the raffle prize—a $700 deluxe children’s playhouse.  We dressed up as Elves and sold raffle tickets at the Santa event, and handed out fruit snacks (with our logo & name on them, of course!) to all the children waiting in line to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.  We raised $1,300 to benefit the Rotary  Club Foundation!

With this holiday event, we were able to get 2 mentions in our local paper, reach hundreds of families with our logo, and spread goodwill in the community.

But we didn’t stop there.  We also hosted a food drive, and tied our food drive into our annual Holiday Program, to increase the awareness of the program among prospective parents in our town (see Exhibit B).  Again, our press release was picked up by the local paper.

Did you tie into any 2009 holidays to build community awareness of your center or school?  Holiday-based promotions are a great way to get lots of free publicity, and it’s a natural fit for child care facilities.

Moreover, the upcoming holiday, whether it’s Christmas, Valentines Day, or St. Patrick’s Day, is something that people are already thinking about, so you can easily “enter the conversation going on in your prospect’s head” by using the holiday to promote your center.  This is a famous copy-righting principle espoused by world-class marketers like Dan Kennedy and Robert Collier.

You’re probably using the calendar to plan your school’s curriculum, but you should ALSO be using it all year long to plan holiday-related promotions and campaigns for your child care business.  January is the BEST time to plan your year-long promotional calendar.  Here are some ideas for you: