I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’d love to be featured in holiday gift guides this season. Who wouldn’t want their products featured in big-name magazines or on the morning show circuit? These big players seem to be able to ‘tag’ what’s hot this year and what better way to get your product in front of thousands or even millions?!
If you want it to happen this year, the time to start pitching is now! Of course, you can hire a public relations firm to help. Or, you can save a good bit of money and do it yourself.
Here are some tips that will increase your chances of being included:
1. It’s wise to pitch early.
Many magazines work sixth months in advance of printing, newspapers work on average two months in advance, and TV, radio, and bloggers generally work a month or more ahead. It’s best to get on their radar early. Editors are scouring the market well in advance to get ideas and make lists. You don’t want to be overlooked because you reached out too late.
2. Do your research first.
This is where the bulk of the work comes in. But, you’ll want to research gift guides in your industry and that appeal to your target audience.
Everyone wants in the big ones, but don’t overlook your local and regional guides. This can be a great way to get your name out. Then, find out who you need to contact at each outlet. What’s the journalist’s name and email address? This can be easier at the local level and more difficult at the national level. Watching past segments, reviewing last year’s guides, and chatting with experienced businesswomen can all help in this process.
3. Choose wisely and realistically.
Pitching can be difficult. Choose outlets that are aligned with your business goals and within reach. This isn’t to say don’t reach for the stars, but be sure that you can accommodate requests should your product be featured in multiple high-traffic guides. What could be worse for PR than 5,000 orders you can’t fill after being featured in a national spotlight? All of the positive attention your business just received would be overshadowed by the negative. Make sure your business will be able to handle an influx of holiday orders.
4. Use common sense.
Make sure you aren’t pitching your baby apparel to a technology gift guide. There are gift guides for nearly every segment of the market and many that contain various categories. Be sure you pitch something appropriate, or you will just end up looking silly. Do your research. If you have a specific niche market that you like to advertise to, look for publications with a similar audience. The more specific, the better.
5. Dust off your press kit.
Now is a perfect time to put that press kit to good use. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your company, your products and what you have to offer. For holiday gift guides, editors will be especially interested in your high-resolution images! Some gift guides will offer more of a narrative and description of a product or company, while others will just feature an image and link. Either way, you want to provide enough information so that editors can adequately research what you have to offer. They’ll want plenty of background info before they decide to feature you.
Don’t forget to include a sample when at all possible. This can be especially helpful in landing that TV segment that you’ve had your eye on. Like anyone, journalists like tangible items that they can see and test. This is also true for bloggers. Give them something that they can use, and they’ll be much more likely to recommend your product and review it for their readers.
6. Make yourself stand out!
If you have a celebrity endorsement or media sighting of them in or with your product, use that in your pitch. If you're donating a portion of holiday sales to charity, mention that. If your products have been picked up by a chain of retail stores, tell them where they can find it. It’s all about differentiating yourself from the competition. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and show how you are head and shoulders above the rest.
7. Don’t forget to follow up.
A friendly email reminding them of what you sent could make a big difference. As always, there are no guarantees, but if you present yourself as professional and easy to work with you can’t hurt your chances. Sometimes all they need is that little nudge or reminder, but always be professional and not a nuisance.
After the fact.
So, you succeeded and were featured in a holiday gift guide. Yay, you! Now what? You can’t necessarily rely on journalists or editors to send you a copy or link to your feature. Be sure that you have a Google Alert set up, so you don’t miss any of your coverage. You’ll want to make the most of it! Share it on social media, feature it on your own blog, etc. You can take screenshots to share and list the links under the ‘Featured On’ section of your website.
And, a short thank you note will go a long way in building what will hopefully be a longstanding relationship. Thank the writer, blogger, journalist or editor that featured you. Short, sweet, and professional will help increase your chances of being featured again in the future.
Have you had your product featured in a holiday gift guide? What tips do you have for getting featured? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this article, please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Originally published July 15, 2014. Content updated November 20, 2018.
Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.