Online gift guides hold some of the most coveted digital real estate around holidays. Landing a placement in one can result in millions of media impressions for your brand. Consumers turn to gift guides from top consumer publications for inspiration when it comes to shopping for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, and more. These articles help build credibility, along with increasing exposure and brand awareness. Gift guides are also a great way to improve SEO through keywords and backlinks, making media relations one of the most powerful tools to improving your brand’s ranking.
The post-pandemic era has found consumers still seeking inspiration online for their shopping needs. It is estimated that over 274 million US consumers will shop online during 2023. That is over 80% of the population and is only expected to increase. While we are happy to do all the work for you, we want you to understand the process. Below are the keys to nailing a holiday gift strategy:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A similar question could be asked when it comes to pitching products. If you are pitching your product to the wrong person at the right publication, does it actually exist? The short answer is no. At Olive Public Relations, we do our research to find out which publications will be featuring gift guides and who will be writing them. We start by looking at gift guides from the previous year or by looking for e-commerce/gift guide editors.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
What most consumers don’t realize is these shoppable articles are planned MONTHS in advance. Online and short leads can be pitched up until the week before, while print and long lead opportunities should be pitched 5-6 months in advance (think Christmas in July). Of course, there will always be last-minute opportunities that come across our inbox, but the goal is to get our clients’ products in front of the right writers throughout the year so that they are top-of-mind when the gifting season approaches.
KEEP IT SHORT & SWEET
Journalists receive THOUSANDS of e-mails, and that number only increases during gifting seasons. We have seconds to capture their eyes, and that starts with the subject line. We make our subject line very clear and to the point. If you are doing this yourself, consider including “holiday gift guide”, that way if they are not quite working on that gift guide yet, you have made it easier for them to file and save it for consideration later or find it with a simple search. When it comes to the body of the email, be sure to include all the details a journalist would need including price point, a link back to the product page, where it’s available, and a description.
IMAGES ARE EVERYTHING
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and, in this case, it could be worth over one million eyes. Investing in strong, high-resolution images can make all the difference when it comes to securing coverage. Some outlets prefer clean product images on a white or transparent background. However, also being able to supply styled, lifestyle photos can help increase our chances of placement. We always include a link in the pitch to images that media can download. We NEVER add as attachments or the pitch will likely end up in the dreaded spam folder (eek!). Another pro tip: make sure the images in your media folder are clearly labeled. 😊 Don’t forget to provide photo credit when required. We always want credit where credit is due.
AFFILIATE PARTNERS ARE KEY TO SUCCESS
The media landscape has changed significantly over the last few years. As publications continue to shift and, in some cases, cease their print editions, editors are tasked with recouping that lost coveted advertising revenue in other ways. One of the most common ways is through affiliate marketing. Most online sites count on affiliate marketing for revenue. What is affiliate marketing? This is when a media outlet earns a commission when someone purchases a product from their article. Examples of these sites include Amazon and affiliate partners such as Shopify, ShareASale and Skimlinks. If your product is available through an affiliate site (hint: it should be), be sure to clearly point that out. This additional bit of information carries a lot more weight and can often result in your product being taken into consideration. In fact, some sites will only include products that are available through an affiliate partner.
JUST CIRCLING BACK WITH YOU
Pitching gift guides, and pitching in general, can sometimes feel like you are shouting from the rooftops, trying to get someone to listen. However, you need to remember how much noise there is to break through. Remember how I mentioned the thousands of e-mails journalists receive each day? We believe our success can often lie in our follow-up. When you follow up, be sure to provide new information such as a product update or provide an alternate angle for them to consider the product. And remember, you don’t have to do this yourself. You can lean on professionals like all of us at Olive.
YOU DID IT! NOW WHAT?
Congratulations! You secured the media hit in one of the coveted gift guides. You are done, right? WRONG! There is still some work to do to maximize those results. At Olive Public Relations, we always send a “thank you” note to the journalist immediately when we see the article go live and you should too. This personal touch can go a long way. Next, maximize the results and exposure by sharing the article on social media. Be sure to tag the outlet and the journalist, so they can see you are helping to drive traffic to their gift guide.
There are several other ways you can maximize this media coverage. Be sure you include it in your newsletter with an active link to the story. You can also announce it on your blog. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, you can print it and frame it or add it to an album in your lobby or waiting area. Additionally, you can share it on a digital screen. It is important to honor and acknowledge copyright laws around how you share it. Please note that it is generally a violation to feature their logo on your packaging without a formal agreement. The last thing you want to do is secure this great opportunity, begin a professional relationship and then tarnish it by overstepping boundaries. You can always lean on your public relations partner for guidelines.
Holiday gift guides are an essential piece of any marketing and public relations strategy. They can help increase brand awareness, improve SEO and help build credibility. These gift guides come in all forms from digital to print and can be found in various themes. While you should not rely exclusively on them for media coverage, they are a great way to boost your clients throughout shoppable seasons.
Are you ready to take your product to the next level? Olive has a long history of working with CPG brands, placing them in coveted gift guides throughout the year. We would love to chat with you about how we can help elevate your brand and get your products in the hands of people who can help make your dreams come true.
-Matthew Van Court