This is a guest post by Melissa Cassera. Melissa is a publicity expert, TV personality, and creator of the Pitch a Gift Holiday Gift Guide program www.pitchagift.com.
Summer may have you thinking of BBQ, splashing in the pool, and balmy nights – but if you’re planning to pitch your products to national magazines to secure coverage in their popular December holiday issues, it’s time to cool down your PR strategy!
National magazines work 4-6 months ahead on their issues, which means that many are choosing products for their holiday gift guides in July and August. Also be aware that the competition is fierce for these guides, and they are often receiving 3x the amount of pitches they do any other time of the year.
Follow these tips to increase your chances of landing a coveted spot in a national magazine holiday gift guide!
If you’re doing your own publicity, it can easily get out of control. Between pitching, following up, sending samples, etc it’s imperative that you stay organized so you don’t miss anything crucial. Keep a simple spreadsheet listing the outlet name, contact name, title, mailing address, email address, phone, follow up details, and any placements achieved.
The trickiest part of pitching the holiday gift guides is that the guide is often compiled by a group of editors or managed by someone that works on a completely different beat (beauty, fashion, food, etc). Always start by becoming familiar with the publication and checking out the masthead for your appropriate beat editor. Contact them and mention that you’d like to be considered for their upcoming gift guide. If they are not handling it, they will direct you to the appropriate person if your pitch is interesting enough.
Fix your Pitch
Gift guide editors are searching for new and trendy items for their gift guides. Always include your new product launch in your pitch, the price, and where to buy it (is it online and available at national retailers or just online), and the benefits to the reader. Categorize your gift (is it budget-friendly, luxury, for the hard to buy recipient, educational , great for mom, dad, kids, grandparents, etc)
National magazines will require samples, so prior to starting your campaign – be sure to allot a certain amount. Samples in the beauty and food category are typically not returned as they are tested by the editors. Accessories and fashion are almost always returned. Create your own sample policy and know up front how many samples you are willing to send. Also include detailed instructions for returning the item if you require it to be returned.
Give Back to Readers
Magazines like to offer exclusive discounts to their readers, so if you’re willing to do a special discount or a giveaway along with your featured product, mention that in your pitch!