HO HO HOliday Gift Guides

Beginning in November
and running through the holidays, every publication imaginable runs a holiday
gift guide. Even with a down economy, it is the time of year when consumers are
actually ready to buy and they look to their favorite publications for
recommendations.  These guides can act as a beneficial publicity strategy for
new and old products alike.  From consumer electronics in Wired, teen
gifts in Seventeen, unique gifts for women in Marie Claire, the
green gift guide in USA Today and even the ultimate gift for your pooch
in Modern Dog Magazine, there is a place for almost every product on the

Here are a few of our
tips to consider when pitching holiday gift guides.

Traditional Media. Local
media coverage is just as significant as national coverage in this case.  Know
your top markets and find ways to tie your product to that market.  When going
to the national media have a unique angle for your product.  What makes the
product stand out amongst its competitors?

Social Media. According
to the Blog World Expo, more than 57 million Americans read blogs and with that
kind of statistic your online presence is just as important as traditional media
placement.  In most cases, targeting an online community or blog is much easier
than in the traditional sense with audience targeted blogs.  There is something
out there for everyone whether it is the Mom on momslikeme.com, the electronics
junkie on Gizmodo.com or green lover on treehugger.com.  With more and more
people turning to social media for their news, this form of media is one that
can’t be overlooked.

Timing is key.  Lead
time is an important aspect to keep in mind when pitching holiday gift guides.
Long lead publications like Good Housekeeping, Real Simple and Men’s
magazines need to be pitched six months in advance, typically the
beginning of the summer.  Bi-weekly and weekly publications like People
and Newsweek prefer two to three months of lead time with holiday gift
guides.  Daily publications and blogs should be pitched starting in November but
you’ll find a handful still accepting submissions throughout December.  Using
websites such as Twitter and helpareporterout.com are also great ways to follow
the needs of your targeted publications.

Know your product’s
placement.  Make sure that you know the publication's target audience and that
your product is a good fit.  Also, ask if the publication will have a theme to
the guide i.e. gifts under $50, outdoor gifts, toys and so on.

Seeing is believing.
You could have the perfect pitch, ideal publication and theme, but if you don’t
have an eye catching image or actual products to send, you can pretty much kiss
the opportunity goodbye! Your product image is the most important thing. It must
be visually appealing to the reader, something that will stand out from the

By Christy Olliff and Layne Mabry

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