The Fundamentals of Holiday Gift Guides
Written By: Christie Zielinski
Holiday gift guides seem like a no-brainer. Have a product or service that makes the perfect gift for fill-in-the-blank holiday? Send the editor a description, image and maybe a sample and it’s done. Right?
Holiday gift guide pitching requires strategy and planning — just like any other campaign. To beat the competition and secure prime placement, you need to keep four things in mind:
- Know the deadlines. While there are certainly some short lead opportunities, the big guides for major holidays require pitching several months in advance. So you’ll be thinking Christmas in July…or even June. Pro Tip: Take a look at the publication’s editorial calendars. For many publications, holiday gift guides run in the same issues year-over-year.
- Understand your media. Some outlets are traditional and will run a basic photo and product description. Others want to be creative (I once had a publication ask to photograph a product with bikini-clad models- true story). Do your research so you understand that direction before you pitch.
- Be smart about the products/services you’re positioning. View your brand’s product or service portfolio through the lens of what’s happening in the world. Is it relevant to an emerging or current trend? Representative of an anti-trend? An unforgettable classic? No matter what, have a reason for putting a product or service out there beyond driving sales.
- Serve it up on a silver platter. A good gift guide pitch makes it easy for the journalist to run with your content. Be sure you deliver a punchy header, solid description, product specs and video – if applicable. Media are stretched thin; if they have to go hunting for more details, you might lose them.
To an outsider, holiday gift guides can be seen as an easy get for PR professionals but this doesn’t mean all guides are a good fit for our clients. It’s important to keep the brand’s core values and goals top of mind as you pitch.