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10 Tips for a Holiday Gift Guide Campaign

ReindeerThis guest post is by Anna Marevska, print media manager at Cision.

It’s already the end of June, and editorial staffs at major publications are gearing up for their annual product recommendation pages. This  can only mean one thing: Gift Guide season is here.

But how do you, the PR professional, tell your story and place your product in this holy grail of media coverage?  Allow us to share these 10 tips for a successful Gift Guide PR Campaign:

Know your audience: First, start with your target customers and determine what publications they read, what makes them tick. Are they an Oprah fan? Do they prefer tech websites?  Find the right outlet for your audience. Then, look beyond the stereotypical measures of said outlet’s reach (circulation for example) and check out its social profile to determine their true impact.

Find the best value for your audience: Just as important as knowing your audience, try to determine in advance where and when your outreach will have the most value and set aside time to work with your top contacts to get the best results. You can augment your research with a tool like our Social Influencer Search to find out who’s tweeting, sharing or blogging about your audience’s favorite interest.

Check the publications’ editorial calendar: Spend part of your time developing your Gift Guide PR campaign by studying media outlets’ editorial lineup. Editorial calendars remain essential planning tools for outlets, their advertisers, and PR professionals looking for good coverage.  Often times, publications outline specific products they like for their gift guides, as well as deadlines.

Know your product: Be prepared to answer all questions about your product and be ready to send samples and photos, if requested.

Pitch the right person: 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 2013 Holiday Gift Guide Briefing Book, which outlines holiday gift guide editors for major media outlets in the US and Canada along with deadlines, lead times and contact information.

Know and respect journalists’ pitching preferences: If you want your pitch to be noticed in a flood of product releases, know when to send it. Do your homework and know journalists’ inclinations.  The Cision Media Database has thousands of detailed profiles of journalists and their pitching preferences. Learn and respect their deadlines and follow-up preferences.

Write the ideal pitch: 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.

Be timely:  Weather it’s a six month lead time or a three week lead time, know the deadline for the holiday gift guide and tailor your pitch accordingly.

It’s OK to get rejected:  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.

Keep in mind the dynamic new media environment: Today’s media landscape has never been more competitive or volatile. For one thing, staff changes happen faster than ever. You need a resource, like Cision Navigator or the Cision Media Database to keep you up-to-date on the comings and goings of key contacts. It’s almost entirely up to you to make and sustain new relationships when there’s a change.

Download a copy of Cision’s free 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Briefing Book, which outlines holiday gift guide editors for major media outlets in the US and Canada along with deadlines, lead times and contact information.

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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