The holidays are fast approaching, and with travel restrictions easing, we can now spend them with our loved ones. The holidays have always brought with them the stress of gift-giving. This year, the pressure to find the perfect gift for that special someone will be even higher than before, since many of us have not seen our family and friends for a long time.
Holiday gift guides are a great way for PR professionals to highlight their clients’ products. As a brand that sells products, your gift guide is a recurring piece of content that you can count on every year as part of your PR strategy. Brands start releasing their holiday gift guides as early as the fall, and for a good reason. By the time the fall is ending, the most organized consumers have actually already begun their holiday gift shopping. Around this time, they’re already looking for advice on the best products for the people in their lives. Most consumers frequently turn to their favorite magazine or online media outlet. If PR professionals can get their client’s products featured in holiday gift guides, they’ll be well on their way to a successful holiday season.
This article will look at how your brand can use holiday gift guides successfully.
Make a plan before pitching holiday gift guides
Quality always triumphs over quantity. Your brand does not need to appear in every holiday gift guide. You only need to concentrate on earning a few high-quality mentions that will put your product or service in front of your target audience.
1) Mark calendar with a lead time
Most holiday gift guides have lead times ranging from 3 to 6 months before the holiday season begins, depending on the media outlet.
Since print magazines typically lock down their holiday guide products before online media, it’s a good idea to reach out to them in late June/early July and start the conversation. You can contact online media outlets in late August or early September because they don’t need to prepare for printing content ahead of time.
2) Determine which products people will appreciate
You need to consider which products people will appreciate as gifts. Make sure you identify what products will entertain and delight the recipient. You need to answer the following questions: Is it more likely to appeal to a busy parent, a tech-savvy friend, or a beauty product enthusiast? Is there anything special that your target audience would appreciate from your bran? Examples include vegan ingredients, organic products, or local products. You should use the answers you come up with to develop the first draft of your gift guide.
Additionally, you should also consider seasonality while building your gift guide. Given that majority of holiday gifting occurs in the winter, you should concentrate on products that are appropriate for the season. For example, if your brand is promoting essential oil-infused moisturizers, focus on promoting the peppermint version rather than the lavender one.
3) Review the product website with an editorial eye
If you choose to enlist the help of a PR agency for this, you need to find one that can properly advise you on how to position your products or services in the best light possible. Ideally, these professionals can guide you on what content you need to add, what visuals and descriptions you should include. It’s also important to keep up-to-date with the target media professional’s pages and contact information to determine if any updates are necessary.
This kind of attention to detail to your content will not only persuade an editor that your company’s products are appropriate but also improve your website SEO and attract members of the general public who are looking for great holiday gifts. For this reason, you may even consider publishing your own holiday gift guide on the company website.
f you need help with revamping branded content that has gone out of date, you should consider partnering with the professionals at Pressfarm. The PR specialists at Pressfarm are skilled at providing quality content that will capture media attention and excite your target audience long before the holiday season rolls around. With a well-written press release, some engaging guest posts and an eye-catching media kit, you can make a splash in the industry with your holiday gift guide.
In addition to curating this content personally for your brand, the team at Pressfarm goes one step further to distribute it widely and put it in front of your target audience. By submitting your content to the right startup directories, media outlets and professional networks, the Pressfarm team can boost your online visibility. This strategy is designed to ensure you rank in relevant organic search results across search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing!
Finally, as a client, you get access to a media database of 1 million+ journalists, bloggers and influencers across different industries. With these contacts, you can build a media list of people to reach out to if you need help spreading the word about your gift guide. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to leave the process of building media lists to the experts so that you can focus on putting together the best gift guide ever, you can wait for Pressfarm’s account executive to personally build media lists with the best media contacts in your niche.
The right PR package from Pressfarm could go a long way towards helping you put your holiday gift guide in front of the right eyes.
4) Discuss product samples
You must figure out how many samples you can deliver for this campaign and who will handle editor requests. Will you, for example, deliver the product to editors via PR professionals, or will you designate an in-house contact for media professionals to send their shipping requests to?
Low-priced items are rarely returned. On the other hand, if you send out higher-priced items that need to be returned, you need to include easy-to-follow return instructions and a prepared shipping label.
Creating the holiday gift guide media list and writing the pitch
5) Consider regional and national availability
If your company’s products are only available for local delivery or shipping, ideally, the first group of media professionals that you should reach out to is the local media. While there is no harm in reaching out to national media outlets, most of them will only cover stories that are appealing to all of their readers. For this reason, national media outreach shouldn’t be the only kind of outreach that you do. Focusing solely on national media could be a waste of time and money if your company’s products or services are not created for a broad target audience and available nationwide.
6) Do the research
A pitch that demonstrates an apparent lack of understanding of how a media outlet and its professionals operate will be quickly dismissed. Instead of banging out a pitch in a few minutes and hitting send as soon as possible, you should conduct exploratory research. You should begin by compiling a list of the media outlets that are most important to your PR outreach and then begin researching holiday gift guide editors.
Finding out where your competitors were placed in last year’s holiday guides is an excellent way to start your research. You can do this by searching for previous gift guides or running a Google search with the outlet name and keyword “gift guide editor.” This will provide you with a great starting point for finding publications that might be interested in your products or services. Make a note of the editor as well, if one is available.
7) Use PR software to create a media list
You will want to reach out to editors who cover your industry, so if you have access to PR tools like Pressfarm, you can save countless hours of searching for editors and crafting the perfect pitch based on the topics these people have covered in the past.
You can use various PR tools to personalize your pitches by including the journalist’s name and referencing a recent post they wrote for the industry. For example, Pressfarm’s media database offers inbuilt features for personalizing your emails. You can also take your personalization efforts up a notch by providing different holiday gift guides for a journalist who covers two different industries. For example, if you’re reaching out to an editor who covers both food and entertainment, you can create a separate gift guide for food from your brand, and a separate gift guide to help people to host during the holidays.
8) Be strategic with the subject line
Keep in mind how many email pitches editors receive every week. Given the flood of similar emails in their inboxes, these editors might find that skimming the subject lines is the quickest way to find interesting content for their stories.
This is why you might want to include “Holiday Gift Guide” or something similar in the subject line. You can work on the perfect email subject line with your content creators. Making the subject line very clear for editors is always a good idea.
9) Present the product or service details in an accessible format
You should imagine yourself as an assistant writing the first draft for the editor who you will be sending your pitch to. You need to make it as easy as possible for the editor publish a story featuring this holiday gift guide. In order to get a sense of the most effective style and format for your gift guide, you should look at previous years’ holiday guides from the media outlet you’re targeting.
You must then list the product’s specifications in detail. List the price, the product benefits, where it’s available, and what makes it unique in bullet points. You should also include a link to the product’s purchase page and a link to where the recipient of your email can download high-resolution and web-ready images.
10) Point out affiliate networks
It’s just a fact: affiliate marketing is the primary source of revenue for most online businesses, including media companies. This means that products sold through Amazon or other affiliate programs are more likely to be considered because affiliates can earn a small commission if readers purchase the item.
If your company’s products are available through an affiliate network, you must clearly state this and provide a link. These days, this extra piece of information carries a lot more weight.
Follow Up On The Holiday Gift Guide Pitch
11) Check back with editors
You will never know when an editor will finally get around to your holiday gift guide story, so they should check in with the editor after a few weeks. It’s important to make sure the editor doesn’t feel smothered, which is why you shouldn’t send a new email every day or even every week. If you start early enough, you can give yourself enough time to follow up long before the holiday season rolls around. If you don’t receive any responses from the people you send your gift guide to, you should consider pitching new holiday gift guide ideas. Alternatively, you can share a product photo, or a product update.
If you’re using a PR tool such as Pressfarm’s outreach tool, you’ll also be able to see who opened your first email, allowing you to send a quick follow-up to share more information and gauge interest.
Leverage successful holiday gift guide pitches
12) Thank the editor
If an editor or media outlet publishes your gift guide, you should immediately send a thank-you email to the editor, informing them that you will share their article on the client’s website and across their social media platforms. This show of appreciation will create valuable collaboration with the editor, putting you in a better position the next time you contact them.
13) Share holiday gift guide on social media
You should post your holiday gift guide on social media to attract more attention. By posting this gift guide on social media, you can initiate engaging conversations with your target audience and gauge their interest in the items on your guide. Using this information, you can decide whether it’s worth it to produce an updated gift guide or not.
Examples of effective holiday email campaigns
1) Gift by category
The primary goal of holiday gift guides, as the name implies, is to help your visitors find gifts quickly. Although this method may work for some people, it fails to provide users with a starting point for their gift search.
Give visitors an endless list of options, and they’ll become even more perplexed. However, if you give them a well-organized gift guide, they’ll become your customers this holiday season and stay with you beyond the holidays. Creating product categories is a common method of organizing gift guides. Unfortunately, brands who take this route tend to simply reproduce their product listing pages, which doesn’t offer customers any value. After all, if they wanted to see your product list, they would simply go to your website where you’ve copied it from. In order for a gift guide to be seen as valuable, you need to put thought into it. Curate the perfect list of gifts and put them in specific product categories or consumer categories and your customers will appreciate the work you’ve put in.
Example: Wool and the Gang
With an understanding of the value that holiday gift guides offer, Wool and the Gang sent a dedicated email to their subscribers with the call-to-action (CTA) “Get Gifting,” which leads to the landing page below. Wool and the Gang then suggested holiday gifts, divided into three categories: craft, level, and ideas.
Prospects will undoubtedly benefit from a dedicated landing page for gift guides. If you don’t have the time or resources to create a landing page on your website, you can do it in your emails.
The main idea is to provide relevant categories for users to browse, primarily if you sell a wide range of products.
2) Gifts by personality
We naturally consider our loved ones’ personalities and interests when purchasing gifts for them. That’s why categorizing gift guides by personality types makes it easier for users to connect a company’s products to their intended recipients mentally.
Example: elf Cosmetics
The company offers gift guides based on different categories, such as price, after using a humorous headline and colorful visuals that appeal to their audience. The company asks if a customer is sweet, spicy, or savory to define their personality and then recommends different products based on their responses.
For e-commerce marketers, the holiday shopping season is a hectic time. As a result, it’s easy to overlook the fact that their customers are also busy. You can help your web visitors to find the perfect gift they’re looking for and boost your holiday sales year after year by providing a well-organized holiday gift guide to the right users at the right time.