Seven Super Important Tips for Pitching Holiday Gift Guides
Psst! Hey you on the beach in your tiny bikini. Did you know editors of national publications are pulling together their holiday gift guides this month?
If you have a product that would benefit from running in these important roundups, read on for tips on how editors want to be approached.
Be straightforward in your subject line
Your first challenge is to get an editor to open your email. Let them know from the start why you're reach out. For example, “cool new coffee mug: gift guide consideration” or “patterned socks under $25 for gift guide consideration” are simple but effective subject leads.
Make it personal
Read the publication before you pitch, even if you take only five minutes to know if your product might be a good fit for their reader. Be ready to reference the section of the magazine (or the editor's name who writes it) in your pitch.
Keep it super short
In recent years the pitch has been condensed to two paragraphs but for holiday gift guides, the format can be even shorter. Address the editor you are pitching by name, let them know which pieces in your collection are new and give them pricing info and a link to the website or specific page for easy and quick viewing. The only other thing they need is the smallest bit of story about the product or, as one editor suggested, “one small idea that gives some context or provides interest beyond it being simply pretty.” So, for example, if you're pitching a cool new blue jean line and they are made in a 100-year-old mill revitalized by your company and located in North Carolina, by all means, say so!
A thank you for the editor's consideration plus your name, cell phone contact and email address, is the best way to wrap up. Believe it or not, plenty of people fail to include an easy way to be reached, making it also easy for an editor to pass.
Present a great picture or two
The images you choose to show the editor should be embedded (not attached) in the email so that it's the first thing the editor sees when they open the email. Make sure the image in the email is low-resolution (72 dpi) and cleanly shot against an all-white backdrop. If you can make available an easy link to your entire collection or to high-res images, all the better.
Be specific about when the product will be available
The name of the game for editors producing the gift guides is finding the newest products to feature before the next publication, meaning if you have a good product shot, you don't have to wait until it's out to pitch. Let an editor know the month or even exact date of your new product release, even if it's yet to come. And be smart about what you consider “new.” Even a new color of an age-old product is newsworthy to editors.
Forego the followup
The only time of the year I recommend skipping the all-important pitch followup is when approaching national editors for consideration in the holiday gift guides. At this moment, editors are reviewing hundreds and hundreds of options—filing them in folders and cataloguing them for the various pages they produce. The only thing an editor might respond to your follow-up is an acknowledgment that they received your pitch. And in all honesty, they don't even have time for that.
Expand your reach
Almost every magazine in every category runs their version of gift guides. Don't limit your potential by pitching only to one audience if your product might also be a good fit for another niche, like a cooking or gardening magazine, as well. And on a final note, remember that pitching gift guides is not over in July. You will want to pitch regional magazines in late September as well as some larger online publications. And in November, you'll be gearing up to pitch the online versions of the national magazines you pitched in July. Good luck!
Amy Flurry is State of Unique's business editor and author of best-selling, Recipe for Press, a DIY guide to pitching blogs and magazines ($23.95, www.recipeforpress.com). Amy offers one-on-one consultations for emerging brands and her popular workshop, Pitch Lab, in cities across the country.