For some brands, holiday gift guides are the be-all and end-all of press placements; the right product in the right magazine can lead to an influx of sales for as well incredible exposure and brand awareness. The key to a successful holiday placement lies in timing – you need to ensure your client’s products are first in line for editor review – and that means pitching early and pitching smart. Here’s what you need to know:
Step 1: Define the Most Giftable Items from a Collection
First up you need to hone in on a few key products that work well as gifts. Not everything fits the criteria of “gift-y” – i.e. most skincare (so hard to know what a person’s skincare needs are and buying mom wrinkle serum can give off the wrong message). Evaluate your client’s entire line and choose a few items to pitch heavily for gift guides. You’re looking for affordable price points, items that come in great packaging, holiday-themed colors, product sets, accessories and luxe home décor items. Items with a “feel-good” story always do remarkably well, so if you have a red cashmere scarf for under $75 that includes a charitable give-back component – you’re golden.
Steer away from items that are more “necessities” than indulgences, super expensive items (unless you’re pitching a luxury pub), anything too complicated to explain, or pieces that just don’t photograph very well on a page, like products with more muted colors.
Step 2: Pitch According to Gifting Group
As you are researching publications for the ghosts of gift-guides past, you’ll notice that often, editors group together collections based on their intended recipient. So, you’ll find gift guides based on a person’s style, their age, and their relationship to the gift-giver. As you write up your pitch, consider which category is a fit for the giftable items you have identified. A fashion tech accessory might be the perfect fit for a “Work BFF” themed-guide, whereas a set of gorgeous rose gold stackable rings is the perfect stocking stuffer for a “Trendsetting Teen.”
Thinking like an editor, and pitching against common gift-guide groupings can go a long way toward making it easy for editors to easily see how your products fit their needs.
Step 3. Pitch multiple items at once
Editors are sifting through hundreds of gift guide pitches from publicists and brands looking a handful of coveted spots. Make it easier for editors by pitching them a lot of items at once in an extremely organized list, boosted by clear, quality images.
In addition to your email content, embed or link to a gift guide “one-sheet” or visual collage with all of your clients’ gift offerings. Include the necessary information an editor needs, including brand, price, purchase information and a quick description about what makes it especially gift-y.
Step 4: Pitch Editors in Person
Another smart strategy is to press pause on your normal email pitching and bring the giftables directly to key editors by hosting a “Holiday in July” style editor preview, or a”Holiday Gift Guide Deskside Quickies.” Each summer I partner with a few fellow publicists and we promise editors 8-10 great gift options in 15 minutes – and we bring candy! Getting some face time with editors is great for us, and the ability to quickly choose from a bevy of great gift options is a real time-saver for harried editors.
Step 5: Pitch on time
If you’re planning to send out holiday pitches in September because that’s when editors are still working on their regular fashion/beauty stories for December issues, you need to rethink your strategy. Editors start sourcing gift guide items way in advance – usually right after 4th of July! Even if you find a magazine who closes their gift guide later, it can’t hurt to get on their radar well in advance, so pitch early.
With prior planning, insight on how each outlet structures their gift guide, and great products, you can greatly increase your chances at securing these prime gift guide placements. Pitch away – and happy holidays (in July)!