Ever wondered how to get press for your product, especially popular holiday gift guides? Did you know that you should pitch editors in July if you want to be considered for their December pages? After many years of writing for top print and online publications, I found myself often giving advice like this to small business owners on how and when to pitch and how to be more successful in sharing their story.
In 2011, I wrote Recipe for Press (Pitch Your Story and Create a Buzz) to answer these questions and more on how to manage your own communications and find success through DIY public relations. Then in 2018 I authored a second book, Recipe for Press (Designer Edition) that gives interior designers all the tools they need to take advantage of the growing press opportunities available to these creative professionals.
Along the way I created a few pitch toolkit essentials–the annual Media List and our Pitch Wheel– to help entrepreneurs be more successful in their efforts to get press. Now with a communications team based in Athens, Georgia, we are constantly tracking trends, changes in editorial staff and publications of all shapes and sizes and the effects of cultural shifts like the Coronavirus pandemic on content development. One thing we’re sure of is that editors are actively looking for products to share in the 2021 holiday season starting now.
Here are my “5 Tips for Pitching Holiday Gift Guides” to help you receive meaningful press coverage and popular placements that convert to sales this year!
Tip #1: Pitch at the right time
Editors work about six months in advance for national print publications. This means that Holiday Gift Guide prep begins in June and usually wraps by mid-August. Regional print magazines begin pulling together their roundups in September and online editors for national publications start their hunt later that month. Plan for your pitching to coordinate with their editorial calendars and you will be more successful.
Tip #2: Pitch the right publications to people
It’s time-consuming to find the right editors to pitch but if you don’t target the right editor, your efforts will be lost. That’s why we created the Recipe for Press Media List, unlike any other in the market and updated as recently as June 2021, this is a targeted list of 1275 of the top print and online editors you need to know! Consider it your shortcut to knowing the right market editors to pitch. It also includes an invaluable “Notes” section plus a social media address for every editor listed.
TIP #3: Do your research + customize your pitches
Never bulk pitch! Mass emails are a major turn-off and a legit excuse for any editor to delete. The story of your business will stand out from the crowd when you take the time to research and tailor your pitch to the publication and person you’re pitching.
TIP #4: Include visuals to make your pitch pop!
Always be prepared with high-resolution, silhouetted (against a white backdrop if you have product) photography as well as editorial-style portraits of yourself. More than any one element, photography determines your success in getting published. Not only does it give an editor confidence in the brand, but they often use the images you provide so be sure you have editorial rights or permission to use the photography for promotion when making arrangements with photographers. Sometimes this is an extra charge.
TIP #5 Don’t forget to follow up your pitch.
Very often an editor will receive and read your email with the intention of responding then get busy with their day. Following up your initial outreach a week after pitching is often just the reminder they need to give a hard look at your product or story. We’ve found that placements are more often secured from following up than from the initial pitch!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you found these tips helpful or have questions! You can find me on Instagram @amyflurry and follow my team’s adventures @recipeforpress. We always appreciate making new connections with entrepreneurs who share our love for small business communications and do-it-yourself publicity.