You probably know that I’m Santa Ed, The Internet Marketing Coach, all year around but you may not know that in November and December I’m also Santa, yep, I’m Santa Claus spreading joy and cheer for the holiday season.

I have been Santa locally in and around Ashland, Oregon for several years appearing in many parades, lighting ceremonies and local fundraisers.

Earlier this year I was approached by Microsoft to be a part of their “Picture Perfect Holiday” promotion.  At first I was not sure if I wanted to go from being a “Community Service Santa” to a “Commercial” Santa but when I learned Microsoft was providing FREE pictures with Santa in a very non-commercial way I got excited. I really liked the idea of being able to “spread my Santa joy” in a HUGE way without being part of an overtly commercial offering.

This brings me to the topic of this post- Microsoft’s brilliant PR campaign.  Microsoft brought two “celebrities” together, invited the media and created a ton of exposure for their “Picture Perfect Holiday” promotion. The celebrities were me, Santa, and Dancing with the Stars co-host Brooke Burke.Brooke Burke and Santa 3 2011

Brooke and her family visited Santa and the media was invited to take pictures. It was amazing. Dozens of photographers took hundreds (maybe thousands, I have never seen so many flashes)  of pictures. There were several videographers and after the photos with Santa  Brooke was interviewed by several television programs including E!

All of this is being done on the Microsoft set and of course the photos and interviews all included something about her visit with Santa and Brooke talking about Microsoft’s new photo editing software (which is amazing by the way, and I’m NOT being paid to say that).

Now obviously most small businesses can’t bring in big name celebrities and attract national media outlets to their business BUT I bet you can do something that is newsworthy.

This time of the year of course charitable events are very common and they are easy to sponsor and be a part of.

Here’s another idea, one of my clients hosts a “Customer Appreciation Breakfast”. They invite their customers in for a pancake breakfast cooked by the employees and all who attend also get special “customer appreciation discounts” that are only available for those 6 hours- this is newsworthy.

Get creative, the media is a VERY powerful communication tool and they are always looking for stories that will be of interest to their readers or watchers and, with a little thought, you can find a way to attract their attention.

By the way, I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

I’ll share more about my Santa experiences over the coming weeks, along with my more typical Internet Marketing Tips.