Whether you’re running behind on getting your gift guide pitches sent out or not yet seeing the return you were hoping for, there’s no need to panic just yet. Many online publications have yet to finalize all of their gift guides, which means you still have time to make the most of the holiday season for your brand. We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that you can use to level up your Holiday Gift Guide pitches based on our firsthand experience pitching and securing placements for our clients in publications like Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour, and WhoWhatWear.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH & BUILD A MEDIA LIST
Journalists are busy and typically specialize in a handful of niches. Take the time to research recent stories published by the journalist you’re wanting to pitch to ensure that your product is a fit for them. Build out a targeted media list of journalists who would realistically cover your brand to increase the likelihood of your pitches landing and leading to secured placements.
2. DETERMINE YOUR PRODUCTS’ GIFTABILITY
Real Talk: You love ALL of your products and think every single one is a masterpiece, but now is the time to be discerning and edit down which pieces are your best and brightest. Don’t send media a general link to your website and make them do all the work. Instead, look at your products objectively, like an editor would, and determine which pieces make the most sense for your pitch.
3. MAKE YOUR PITCH EASY TO USE
Take the guesswork out of your pitch by offering everything about the product your pitching that the journalist may need should they choose to include your brand in their gift guide or roundup. What exactly should you include?
- Product Name
- Link To Purchase on your Website
- Stockists that currently carry your product (other than your website)
- Brief Product Description
- Link to hi-res JPEGs media can use in their story should they so choose
4. CONSIDER YOUR PRODUCT AVAILABILITY
Every brand dreams of being in Vogue, but take a step back and ask if that’s a feasible goal for you at this stage in the game. If you don’t have the inventory or infrastructure to support the sales that could result from a major national placement. Is your product only available through a brick and mortar location in Iowa? Do you only have a handful of units left of the style you’re pitching and no time to get additional inventory manufactured and ready to ship in time for customers to receive by the holidays? If so, Vogue probably isn’t the right publication for you to pitch this season.
Adjust your pithes according to what you feasibly can deliver and particularly if you have a brick and mortar location, make sure to include local and regional media in your pitch list, to let local customers know you’re nearby for holiday shopping.
5. BUDGET FOR PRODUCT SAMPLES
For fashion and beauty brands (particularly newer brands), sending out samples so that journalists can see and try your products out before covering is standard practice. Beauty samples and lower-priced fashion items are almost never returned and depending on the outlet, higher priced items may or may not be returned. If you want an item to be returned by a journalist, make sure to specify that upfront so that the journalist knows your expectations. When building out your media list, make sure to consider how many pieces you can realistically afford to send out for review and the costs associated with shipping.
Pro Tip: Make sure to include a return shipping label with the samples sent or email a return shipping label to the journalist when you provide tracking information for the package you’re sending so that they can easily return your samples.
6. CREATE A COMPELLING SUBJECT LINE
Yours is not the only gift guide pitch journalists will be getting this season. It’s important to differentiate your pitch strategically with a meaningful subject line while also making it easier for journalists to search for your pitch in their over-extended inbox. (We promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds!) Make sure to include “Gift Guide”, your brand name, and a brief explanation of who the target demographic of your brand.
7. OFFER AFFILIATE LINKS
Online sites, including major media sites, rely on revenue. Providing affiliate links, through Amazon or one of the handful of other affiliate programs that major publishers use, can improve the likelihood of your product being considered for inclusion. Make sure to include the necessary information [links, merchant ID] for media to easily use available affiliate links in your initial pitch.
8. JUST SEND IT
When you’re writing a pitch, it can be easy to get stuck in a loop of feeling like it isn’t quite ready yet. While proof reading and editing are important, don’t get so hung up on creating the “perfect pitch” that you miss your window of opportunity. Put in the work, do your research, edit as necessary and then HIT SEND. If you don’t send your pitch out, the answer is already no. So just do it!
9. FOLLOW UP
It would be wonderful if one pitch email sent one time to one journalist led to the perfect media placement, but that’s just not realistic. Journalists are working on multiple stories at one time and receiving hundreds of pitches from hundreds of brands wanting to be featured. If you don’t hear back in a week or two, kindly follow up your original email and offer any new developments that may make your pitch more attractive. Has a celebrity currently worn the piece you’re pitching? Did a new stockist pick up your brand? Did you set up an affiliate program since your initial pitch? These are the kind of updates to include in your follow up email.
10. MIND YOUR MANNERS
Sending a pitch isn’t the end of the story. Pitching is a collaborative process that works best when all involved parties are actively involved. If a journalist includes you in a gift guide pitch, make sure to send a quick ‘thank you’ and let them know that you appreciate the mention and will share the article across your social platforms. If a journalist passes on including you in a placement, thanking them for their time and consideration will demonstrate that you are a valuable collaborator who respects their time.
Getting your products featured in a Holiday Gift Guide is an incredible opportunity to have your brand in front of the eyes of potential consumers and verified by media those consumers already trust. Remember, though, PR is a marathon and not a sprint. Boosting your brand’s exposure consistently at the holidays and throughout the year is integral to building consumer trust and longterm success.
Want to start 2023 on the right foot? Learn more about how we can help your brand level up your PR & Digital Marketing strategy in the new year, by scheduling a complimentary intro call with our team here.