With summer kicking off in just a few weeks, it is hard to believe that we are already planning outreach for December holiday gift guides. However, in the PR world, Christmas is just around the corner! Consumer product gift guides are seasonal standards for many print and online publications, and are a unique opportunity for your clients to gain quality media exposure that can have a real impact on sales and awareness. These guides are so effective because they offer insight into which products would be best for each individual consumer profile, which means that most find the articles by searching for them, not having the content pushed at them. With just over five months until publication, here are four top tips for securing gift guide coverage for your clients:
1. Be concise. Your pitch should focus on the top 3-5 reasons why your product should be included in the gift guide in a succinct manner. Editors receive thousands of gift guide submissions and will appreciate receiving quick highlights in order to determine if the product is a fit for their readers. For example, we pitched Brazilian Footwear brand Melissa for a 2014 Examiner holiday gift guide by reaching out to the editor with its top value propositions bulleted out— being fashionable, comfortable and 100% sustainable. This not only led to inclusion in a top tier gift guide but also prompted the reporter to call out the main product and brand messaging. See here for more helpful examples on how to keep gift guide descriptions concise.
2. Have collateral handy. Always be prepared to provide high-resolution product images and/or samples of your product. Most editors will want to at least have high–res images of the product on file, so make sure to have them ready so you can provide them in a timely manner. When preparing product samples, always clarify details with the editor, such as if the product is returnable , if there are any delays in production and when buyers should order by to ensure certain delivery dates (such as Christmas eve) in order to correctly inform your client and set expectations.
Image by JD Hancock https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/ used under CC license
3. Include all important information about the product. What is the retail price point of the product? Where can the item be bought by readers (online and in store)? Does the brand have an ecommerce store or is the product available through third party retailers, such as Amazon and Google? How big and how heavy is the product, and does it come in multiple sizes? Does it have particular power needs such as batteries or chargers? What is the parent brand’s website? Having this information easily accessible will ensure the easiest possible process for the editor and will increase your chances of inclusion. If your client has social profiles, remember to provide the correct links to their profiles in case the publication is willing to include them. This is especially pertinent for online gift guides, where consumers will have the opportunity to click directly on a brand’s Twitter or Facebook handle.
4. Right time, right placement. Be strategic with when and where you pitch gift guides. End-of–year holiday gift guides are the most prominent and influential, but gift guide opportunities exist throughout the year. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, start of the school season and graduation season are all great opportunities for placing your client in a gift guide and could potentially be a better fit – click here for an example of a Father’s Day gift guide for ‘techy’ dads. On that note, always keep optimal timing in mind. For print outlets you’ll want to think up to 6 months ahead (hence the Christmas mention above), but online is very different. Many online publications and blogs plan gift guides only a month or even weeks before a holiday to ensure they include the very latest trends – pitch too early and you may get lost in an inbox, pitch too late and you risk the gift guide already being full. Planning out a timeline in advance is key to having the best chance of inclusion in a gift guide.