The summer months may seem a little early, but this is the season to start working on getting your products featured in magazines’ Holiday Gift Guides. Magazines have long lead, or production, times and most monthlies start working on their feature articles 3 to 6 months in advance of the magazine hitting the shelves.
One of the biggest advantages of having your products featured in a gift guide is that it can mean a lot of pre-holiday sales for your business, and has the added bonuses of increasing your credibility with other journalists, and increases brand awareness with future customers.
Journalists and editors typically look for two main things when choosing items for their holiday gift guides
- products that will appeal to their readers
- products that have an interesting story behind them
Create a story
The first step to getting your product in front of the magazine editors and journalists who assemble holiday gift guides is deciding how to pitch your product. Brainstorm some ideas about the types of gifts your products are best suited for. Some ideas are:
- gifts that give back
- eco-friendly gifts
- gifts for geeks
- gifts for Dad who has everything
- gifts for the hard to buy for
- luxurious gifts for the princess in your life
- gifts for health enthusiasts
Find your audience
Once you know the story your product will tell, you’re ready to research a list of publications. The Internet is a handy resource, as is the periodical section of your local library. Try to find a good mix of national magazines and localized publications that will be interested in your pitch.
For example, a men’s magazine might be great if your pitch is a gift for the lady in your life – but perhaps less so if the magazine is for gardening enthusiasts. Think outside the box and research travel magazines, hotel and spa magazines, and targeted publications like airline magazines.
Now it’s time to find the appropriate section editor or writer to contact. In the first few pages of any magazine you’ll find the masthead, which is a list of the people who work on the magazine. Avoid anyone with sales in their job title, unless you want to buy advertising, and concentrate on lifestyle and section editors. Some mastheads will list emails and phone numbers, but you can also try the “Contact” section of the magazine’s website.
If you are having trouble finding contact information, call the publication’s main number or cut out some of your research time by purchasing a media list. Ensure the list your are purchasing is current and up-to-date before you buy.
Tell your story
When contacting editors, keep your email short (4 or fewer paragraphs, 2 to 3 sentences each). Don’t just tell the editor about your product, tell her a story about your product, making sure to include the type of gift your product is suited for and add bullet points mentioning the product’s benefits, where it can be purchased, the retail price and your website URL.
Engage the editor with your subject line. Which of the following subject lines makes you more interested in an email:
“Holiday gifts from Shopgirls Accessories” or “A gift no fashionista can resist”
The first simply puts your store name before the journalist’s eyes as she scans her inbox, while the second draws her in to open your email.
Send a brief follow up email If you haven’t heard back after a week. Write that you a following up and ask if they are still looking for gift ideas. If you still hear nothing in 2 more weeks, send one more email suggesting a different gift idea or angle.
Be prepared for photo and sample product requests before you start hearing back from magazines. Many will require high resolution photos, or at least 300 dpi, photos and some will want to photograph your product themselves.
By following these easy strategies you can increase your chances of getting your product into holiday gift guides.
Want to learn more about pitching editors + landing publicity? Then Get Famous.