5 Tips for Getting into Last-Minute Gift Guides
Gift guides are known as the holy grail of product PR. Get placed in the right ones, and your product is sure to find success. Many high circulation outlets have long lead times for printing, so they have already closed their gift guides for the 2021 holiday season (and so has Oprah, who has already announced her Favorite Things for the 2021 holidays). There are, however, hundreds of online gift guides for national publications, popular blogs and social media that can provide tremendous exposure for your products. It’s just a matter of locating them, determining who to pitch, and of course, what to pitch.
One thing to keep in mind is that gift guides are highly competitive. When you are pitching for “regular” opportunities, each pitch likely tells a different story. When it comes to gift guides, every company is pitching for the same or similar products. The more you can differentiate your product and tell a story about it, the more likely you are to be included.
Landing Opportunities for Gift Guides
So, how can PR professionals land these coveted spots in gift guides this holiday season? Here are five tips to get you started:
- Capitalize on your niche. Gift guides have become incredibly specific (think “Top 5 gifts for cheese lovers,” not “Top 5 holiday gifts for women”). You’re much more likely to find a home for your product in a more niche gift guide category than in one that is general. For example, queries from gift guide organizers that posted opportunities in HARO this week were for “Top beanie hats for women,” “Best air fryers,” and “Gift ideas for foodies.” Don’t be afraid to suggest gifts guides to editors that fit with the theme of your product—editors are always looking for how they can mix it up and avoid covering the same categories year after year. Just make it fun and make sure it fits into their publication’s coverage area.
- Utilize HARO and ProfNet to find appropriate gift guides…but don’t rely on them as your only source. In a recent blog, we discussed how journalists can use ProfNet and HARO to find opportunities. Gift guides are no different, and each of these companies offers new listings in the daily emails they distribute. They are a great source, but you should also develop a list of reasonable targets that might still be accepting ideas for gifts to include in their guides. Start by looking for websites where your product is a great match and find the appropriate editor to pitch. It’s much like building a media list, except specifically for gift guides.
- Put some effort into your pitch and subject line. Creating a “just the facts” pitch likely won’t help deliver results. Reporters want a quick story about how your product connects with them and their audience. After all, they are going out on a limb and naming products as “top gifts” so they need to have a high level of confidence that your product indeed is worthy. Make your subject line funny or otherwise compelling to catch reporters’ attention from the sea of other emails they receive. Learn a little about the reporter you are pitching and it can go a long way.
- Have kick-ass visuals available. Every--and we mean every--product should include photos. How will a journalist know if you have the best beanie or air fryer if they can’t physically see it? If a short video clip better tells your product’s story, send that as well, but remember that many gift guides will only use high-resolution photos. Find a cool way to display your products that show ingenuity. Make sure to show the product at different angles and let the journalist choose which works best with their list.
- Look for exposure in local media. Local media means the daily newspaper and broadcast stations in your area who might be interested in a story from a local company with big ideas. Reporters who work in local media outlets generally have much shorter lead times than national publications and submitting entries for consideration can be fruitful if you have products with a local twist. As a bonus, if the media outlet likes your product pitch, you might be able to follow up in a few weeks with an offer to do an interview with your company’s executives.
Bonus Tip: Start thinking NOW about alternative holidays that your products Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. While there are still plenty of gift guides looking for products, a lot of the big publications closed their guides in late summer. Plan ahead for these next rounds of holidays now. In the meantime, pitch as many relevant opportunities as you can between now and December 25!
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