Holiday gift guides are a fantastic way to put the spotlight on your client’s products, and are a recurring feature that you know you can count on every year as part of your PR planning. In this article, you’re going to learn the best holiday gift guide pitching tips and see a couple of holiday gift guide pitch examples.
Holiday gift guides pop up everywhere starting in the fall, and for very good reason. Consumers have started to shop for holiday gifts and are looking for helpful guidance about the best products for the people in their lives. They often turn to their favorite magazine or online media outlet for this.
If you manage to get your client included in holiday gift guides, you can put them in a great position for robust holiday sales. In fact, holiday gift guides are a fantastic way to put the spotlight on your client’s products, and are a recurring feature that you know you can count on every year as part of your PR planning.
Ready when you are:
- The best holiday gift guide pitching tips
- Holiday gift guide pitch examples
Best holiday gift guide pitching tips
If you’re after a list of tips and best practices for how to pitch holiday gift guides successfully, it comes down to 4 main steps.
Make a plan before you pitch holiday gift guides
Just like in general PR strategy, quality beats quantity. You don’t need to be in every holiday gift guide. Put your focus on a few high-quality mentions that will land the product or service directly in front of your target audience.
1. Mark your calendar with lead time
Lead times for holiday gift guides vary by media type, anywhere from 3 to 6 months before the holiday season kicks off.
Print magazines are going to lock down their holiday guide products earlier than online media, so reach out them in late June/early July and get the conversation started. Online media outlets don’t need to prepare early for printing, so you can reach out to them in late August or early September.
2. Determine which products are giftable
Consider each of your client’s products with a gifting eye, and once you determine a product is giftable, consider who would love to receive it.
Would it appeal most to a busy parent, tech-savvy friend, or beauty product lover? Does it have any benefits that would be exciting and important to the recipient, like vegan ingredients, organically produced, or locally made? List all of these items for your future pitch writing.
Keep seasonality in mind, too. Since holiday gifting takes place in the winter, focus on products and benefits that meet the season. For example, if you promote essential oil-infused moisturizers, focus on the peppermint version instead of the lavender one for the holiday season.
3. Review the product website with an editorial eye
As a PR professional, you often advise your client on how to position their product or service in the best light on their website. Check the page that you’ll be sending editors to and determine if any updates are necessary.
If it’s already fall, maybe include a seasonal product photo, like the product shot with a stocking or mistletoe, and update the description to include how the product would make a perfect holiday gift.
Not only will this help convince an editor of the appropriateness of your product, it will also enhance your website SEO for the general public searching for great holiday gifts! In fact, you may even want to consider publishing your own holiday gift guide on the client website for this very reason.
4. Discuss product samples with your client
Decide with your client how many samples they can deliver for this campaign, and who will fulfill the requests from editors. Will they deliver the product to your agency for direct shipment to editors, or will they designate an in-house contact for you to send shipping requests to?
Explain to the client that low-price items are almost never returned, so higher-priced items that need to be returned should include easy return instructions and a prepared shipping label.
Agree on this plan before that first successful product request, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Create a holiday gift guide media list and write your pitch
5. Consider regional and national availability
If your client’s product is only available for local delivery or shipping, then you should only reach out to local media.
National media outlets will only cover items available to all of their readers, so don’t invest time there if your product or service is not available nationwide.
6. Do your research
Start with the list of media outlets that are generally most important to your PR outreach and begin to research their holiday gift guide editors.
You can do this by searching for past year holiday gift guides or running a quick Google search with the outlet name and “gift guide editor.”
Representing a new client this year? A great place to start your research is to find out where their competitors were placed in last year’s holiday guides. This will give you an excellent starting point of publications that are interested in your type of product or service. Additionally, make note of the editor if it’s available.
7. Use PR software to create your holiday gift guide media list
You’ll want to get in front of editors who cover your client’s specific industry, so if you have access to PR tools like Prowly, you will save yourself countless hours when searching for editors based on their covered topics and crafting the perfect pitch list.
With PR automation, you can also make your pitch more personal by adding their name, referring to a recent post they wrote for the industry, and providing different holiday gift guide ideas when you see that they cover multiple topics, like an editor who covers both food products and entertaining.
8. Be strategic with your subject line
Imagine how many email pitches editors must receive each week! Sometimes, a glance at the subject lines is the quickest way for them to find what they’re looking for.
That’s why you might want to include “Holiday Gift Guide” in the subject heading. If they aren’t working on a holiday guide just yet, you’ve also made it easier for them to save the email to a folder for later consideration (in fact, it’s always good practice to make your subject heading very clear for editors).
9. Present the product or service details in an easy format
As you write your pitch, imagine you’re an assistant writing the first draft for the editor. You want to make it very easy for the editor to accept your product pitch and share your product’s benefits. Start by looking at the media outlet’s holiday guide from last year to get a feel for the style and format.
Then, clearly list the product details. Bullet points work great here: list the price, the product benefits, where it’s available, and what makes it so special. Provide a link to the product purchase website and a link to where they can download both high-resolution and web-ready photos (no attachments!).
You can get even more creative and offer them a list of gift guides topics that your product could fall under. Maybe they haven’t started their holiday guide yet and will like your idea for “Best Gifts for Friends with Pets,” or “What to Buy Your Hard-to-Please Mother-in-Law This Season.”
Drop all of this front of relevant media contacts in an easily digestible format, and you have already increased your likelihood of being included in their holiday gift guide!
10. Point out affiliate networks
It’s just a fact: most online sites, including media ones, count on affiliate marketing for revenue. This means that products available via Amazon or other affiliate programs will likely get more consideration since they can earn a small commission if readers buy the product.
If your product is available on an affiliate network, clearly point that out and provide a link. This additional bit of information is carrying a lot more weight these days.
Follow up on your holiday gift guide pitch
Any checklist for how to pitch holiday gift guides is not going to end there. You’re only halfway done.
11. Check back with editors
You’ll never know precisely when an editor is finally getting to their holiday gift guide story, so follow up a few weeks later. Offer a new holiday gift guide idea, product photo or product update for them to consider.
If you’re using a PR tool, you’ll even have the capability to see who opened your first emails so you can send a quick follow-up to share more details and check back on their interest.
Leverage the results of successful holiday gift guide pitches
Once your client’s product or service is published in a holiday gift guide, there is still a little more work to do.
12. Thank the editor
Send a thank-you email right away to the editor and let them know you will share their article on the client’s website and across their social media platforms. This will demonstrate valuable collaboration with the editor and put you in a much better position next time you reach out to them.
13. Share the holiday gift guide mention on social media
Announce and link to the article on your client’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Tag the media outlet and editor, so they can see you’re driving traffic to their gift guide.
14. Share the holiday gift guide mention on the client website
Include a link to the article on the home or press page, as well as the product page. Adding “As featured in..” is always a fun selling point!
Holiday gift guide pitch examples
Looking for holiday gift guide pitch examples? Look no further.
First off, May Flanagan, Digital Marketer & Founder @ Global Green Family, shared her holiday gift guide pitch that got her coverage:
This is how Lydia German, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator @ Tao Digital Marketing, has been pitching for holiday gift guides. She usually tweaks the opening sentence to whatever the journalist is asking for:
Ready to pitch holiday gift guides?
There you have it: a simple 4-step guide on how to pitch holiday gift guides. Now that you know how to pitch holiday gift guides, it’s time to finally do some pitching yourself.
Once you’re at it, you might want to try Prowly PR software to find relevant media contacts, send holiday gift guide pitches, and track their results.
Bookmark this post and get some reminders on your calendar right now. The kick-off months for holiday gift guides always come up faster than you think!
Cover photo by Kira auf der Heide