How to Get Your Products Featured in a Gift Guide
How many times have you turned to Google to help you pick out a gift? If you’re like me, it’s pretty much every time. I’ll search for “What to get a client for Christmas” or “Mother’s Day gifts for mothers-in-law.” In our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to muse around a mall looking for a perfect gift. In fact, 81% of gifts are researched online before bought offline.
Journalists are constantly writing new gift guides to help people find the perfect gift. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for your products to be featured—just as long as you know how!
3 Steps to Pitch Your Products as Gifts
Gift guides are a great way of chiming in on what’s already happening. It’s not enough to pitch your products simply as a gift, you need to have a strategy. If you follow these three steps, you’ll increase your chances of getting a featured spot and new customers!
1. Find the right holiday or reason
Think about why someone would give your product as a gift. What is the occasion?
December holiday gift guides are the holy grail of holiday gift guide pitching. We all want our products in gift guides when people are ready to open their wallets in December. There are so many gift guides in November and December: Hanukkah gifts for kids, holiday gifts for colleagues, Christmas gifts for your cousin’s friend that always comes to your holiday dinner uninvited. Just kidding on that last one. I don’t think that one has been written yet.
Whatever the case, your product is probably going to fit into some kind of holiday gift guide.
But the winter holidays’ aren’t the only time of year that gifts are given. Mother’s and Father’s Day are the next two biggest gift-giving occasions of the year.
It’s much easier to pitch your product for a time-specific holiday. If you pitch for something that is celebrated all year, like birthdays or anniversaries, it will harder to get the timing right. Journalists and bloggers could be writing a birthday gift guide any time of year. You may hit them with the right email at the right time, but more likely, you’ll miss the window.
Holidays, on the other hand, are more predictable. It’s more likely that a Christmas gift guide will be written before Christmas or even before “Christmas in July.”
Get the timing right
The best time to send your pitch is when the journalist is researching the article. But when is that?
Depending on the type of publication and how often they publish, you can narrow down the window of when the writer will be working on their gift guides. The most important thing to remember is that they will be working on them well in advance. Don’t expect to land a great spot if you send your Mother’s Day gift pitch the week of Mother’s Day.
Here are a few rules of thumb for lead time:
National magazines have the longest lead time. You should start pitching these about six months in advance.
National online publications need one or two months.
Regional and local magazines still have a decent lead time. Try pitching these publications about two to three months in advance.
Daily publications like local newspapers and websites, as well as regional TV will have the shortest lead time, one month.
3. Go in with an angle
Journalists get a lot of emails and a lot of them are pitching products to get in gift guides. You need to make your product stand out. The way to do this is to go in with an angle.
Think of it from the journalist’s perspective. They receive two emails about a to-go wine glass. What’s the difference? Why should she pick yours over the other? Just because your product is better, doesn’t mean it will be the most appealing to the writer. It all depends on how you pitch.
Compare these two pitches:
“A gift for wine lovers that want to take their wine on the go”
“A gift for cool moms, too classy to drink wine from plastic at summer barbeques”
The first one is factual, the second is a story. Stories are more engaging, memorable, and help the journalist fit the product into a gift guide for moms. It practically writes itself.
Another thing to think about is making a product or gift set just for the holidays. Gift sets or gift kits with a sampling of several of your products are great for gift guides. Depending on what you sell, you can release a special edition or holiday-themed products to be festive. You need to plan these out well in advance because it will take you time to get inventory on top of the lead time you need to send the pitch.
Last, but not least, include some pictures! Humans are visual creatures and pictures will be remembered before words.
Bonus Cheat Sheet for Pitching Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
Right now, it’s the end of March 2018. I’m juggling both Mother’s and Father’s Day pitches. Here are a few notes to keep in mind if you want to follow my lead.
Mother’s Day Gift Guides
By the end of March, it is too late for long lead national publications, but you might still be able to get in some regional and local magazines. Send your product info right away.
You should be pitching short lead national publications and local publications like your daily newspaper. Short lead publications are: websites or online versions of magazines such as Glamour.com
Some online publications have already posted their 2018 gift guides, so you can see the people working on it. E-mail those people and see if they are interested in maybe adding additional gifts.
Research national publications that posted a gift guide last year, chances are they will be doing it again and you can see who was in charge of writing the gift guides.
When sending the pitch, obviously make sure to highlight the gifts that mom would like and make sure to include pictures!
Father’s Day Gift Guides
Yes, by late March it is already time to start thinking about Father’s Day and in some cases too late.
You might still be able to squeeze in some national magazines. It is really on the tail end, but it can’t hurt to try.
Start pitching short lead. You might get some people saying it is too early, but better early than late
Obviously, highlight products that are good for dad. Include images.