July 19, 2017
Comms Best Practices
/ by Anna Marevska
Mid-summer in public relations means one thing — holiday gift guide pitching season is here. Editorial staffs at major publications are gearing up for their annual product recommendations, bloggers and influencers are outlining deadlines and a variety of guides they will publish, and you the PR professional are planning to showcase your latest product for the holidays.
But, how does your pitch stand out when every brand claims to have this year’s must-have gift? How do you, the PR professional, tell your story and place your product in this holy grail of media coverage? After talking to countless of holiday gift guide editors, influencers and bloggers about what makes them pick your pitch for their gift guide pages, we rounded-up the most important takeaways for a successful holiday PR campaign.
Determine what publications they read, and what makes them tick. Do they prefer online media or print? Are they reading mostly blogs, or do they get their info via social media? Once you determine the right outlets you will know the best value for your audience. This will help you determine in advance when and where your campaign will have the most impact.
Most publications publishing a gift guide have allocated gift guide editors who are responsible for putting together the pages. Find that person. A good place to start is Cision’s free 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Pitch Kit, which outlines important bloggers and editors for major media outlets in the U.S., with deadlines, lead times and pitching information.
Pitching the holiday pages on time is crucial to the success of your PR efforts. Summer is the perfect and preferred time to identify the coverage opportunities for your products. Most publications work with a long lead time — up to six months in some cases — and securing editorial coverage for a December issue starts now. Bloggers and digital influencers, on the other hand, work with shorter deadlines and often don’t require pitches until November. Needless to say, knowing journalists’ deadlines is highly important to your success.
If you don’t know the ins and outs of what you’re pitching, how can you convince a journalist your product is worth their readers’ time? Be prepared to answer all questions about your product and always send photos along with your pitch if requested. Also, be prepared to be flexible with pricing. Many publications have gift guides broken down into categories: Under $100, Under $50, etc. Lowering a product’s price from $51.99 to $49.99 gives you a better chance of being featured in that under $50 guide.
Be creative. Give a reason why your product stands out from the rest. Then ask if the media contact would like a sample. Don’t go over one page. Editors are very busy and receive countless pitches so respect their time by sending short and concise news releases.
The competition for placement in holiday gift guides is high, and with that comes a higher rejection rate. Don’t get discouraged. Your pitch may not work right “now,” but it could work for a future issue or a later blog post.
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