Note: Reprinted from The Gift List newsletter,
a free ezine offering holiday product media tips. The article was written by
Margie Zable Fisher of Zable Fisher Public Relations.
If yours is a product business, most likely the fourth quarter of the year is
absolutely crucial to your bottom line. And one of the most effective sales and
publicity strategies for your product is to be included in Holiday Gift Guides
that appear in the media (magazines, TV, newspapers, radio, Internet) in November and December.
These Holiday Guides offer recommendations for gifts people should consider
buying. Why is this so important? Because these holidays are the time when
readers or viewers are READY TO BUY and eager to see what a media outlet
recommends. Best of all, the media usually includes a Web site and/or telephone
number where people can buy the recommended gifts (in many publicity articles
this information isn't included).
But you need to get moving on this now. June is the perfect time to submit
your product pitches for inclusion in magazine Gift Guides. Many magazines have
a 6-month lead time, and have a June deadline for submissions.
Here are 10 tips to help you get your products covered in Holiday Gift Guides:
1. Send your pitches at the right time. Timing is critical. Know the
deadline for each Holiday Gift Guide. Here are the typical deadlines for sending
in submissions: Most magazines (other than News Magazines): Six months prior to
issue date; News magazines: Two to three months prior to issue date; Newspapers:
One to two months prior to issue date; TV/Web/ Blog/Radio: One to two months
prior to broadcast or publication date;
2. Determine the category of gifts that each media outlet covers. For
example, one in-flight magazine may only include technology gifts in their
Holiday Gift Guide this year, while another in-flight magazine may only cover upscale items.
3. Pay attention to your packaging and shipping. I've been told many
times by media people that products often arrive broken, or with unappealing
packaging, and the media people often won't even consider those products for
coverage in the Holiday Gift Guide.
4. Offer inexpensive products. Many media outlets cover gifts under
$50, $25 or even lower cost stocking stuffers.
5. Send in your most colorful products. Most media outlets are visual,
and color looks better in the pages of a magazine or on TV than drab colors do.
If you flip through magazines with Holiday Gift Guides, you'll notice that most
of the items are bright colors. So, make sure that either your product or your
packaging has eye-catching color to capture their attention.
6. Donate a portion of your product s sales or profits to charity.
Some media outlets ONLY cover products that donate to charity. Not only is it
the right thing to do, but it also increases your chances of getting publicity.
Be sure to mention this in all of your pitches.
7. Offer something that is brand new to the marketplace. Remember,
Gift Guide Editors are just like other media people -- they want something new.
If you create a new product, you'll get the media's attention.
8. Don't forget products for pets. Pet Holiday Gift Guides are
becoming very popular. I've seen them in health and women's magazines. Remember,
there are millions of pet lovers out there who consider pets their family and
want to buy holiday presents for them. If you have a unique gift for a pet, you
may very well get coverage.
9. Mention any celebrity tie-ins. Some entertainment media outlets
will only cover your products if celebrities use them. Other media outlets like
to know that celebrities use the product, because readers and viewers are
fascinated with celebrities, and want to use the same products. So, if your
brother-in-law's cousin knows someone famous who's willing to tout your product, go for it.
10. Promote availability at major retailers. If you can get a major
retailer to sell your products, include that information in your pitch. Gift
Guide Editors feel more comfortable recommending products sold by major retailers.
So start celebrating the holidays this summer, by pitching your products for
media coverage in June. By fourth quarter you'll be reaping the sales from your summer efforts!