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Deck the Halls with Holiday Gift Guides


By: Morgan Dougherty, Senior Account Executive

Christmas in July holds more meaning for PR pros than most — it marks the beginning of the holiday gift guide pitching season. With some editorial deadlines being as early as mid-August, staff at top-tier publications are well underway with their annual product recommendations. Lead times for many top-tier national print publications are typically 3 – 6 months, while online gift guide opportunities will continue all the way up to the holidays. So, if you are reading this now, there is still time. Get pitching!

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $920 per person on holiday gifts, up from $885 in 2018 and reaching a total of more than $1 trillion in holiday spending. The holidays are a critical time for many brands, with holiday sales in some cases making up to 30% of a retailer’s annual revenue. 

This makes holiday gift guides among the most coveted real estate in media, with heavyweights like Oprah’s Favorite Things, Good Housekeeping and Refinery29 being at the top of a brand’s wish list. In some cases, a placement can yield millions of impressions for clients during a critical time when consumers are interested and willing to spend money on what journalists have deemed the year’s latest and greatest gifts. 

These gift guides come in all shapes and sizes and require a thoughtful and tailored approach to yield ultimate success. A single product often has the potential to fit in an array of these guides, however what makes it right for one, doesn’t necessarily make it right for another. 

That individualized approach needed to make products relevant to specific gift guides also helps overcome the next hurdle, breaking through the noise. The only people that get more holiday mail than Santa are editorial staff at consumer media outlets. Their inboxes are overflowing with pitches this time of year and having a PR partner who has the knowledge to pitch a relevant product in the right way to cut through the clutter is a must-have. And, it always helps to have existing strong relationships with media that you work to build year-round to help you stand out during this busy time.

While it’s hard to estimate the potential impact gift guide placements can have for a brand, there is no doubt these types of placement are huge wins. By directly reaching consumers at a time when they have a desire and clear intent to purchase, many brands can drive strong sales during the holidays that make their year. 

At the end of the day, three things are essential for success: 

1) Know your audience and pitch the right person 

2) Develop a dynamic and relevant story angle focusing on a key product

3) Deploy the pitch at the right time for both long and short lead outlets

Good luck!

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