As every worthwhile PR person knows, holiday gift guides are highly valuable targets when pursuing earned media coverage for clients offering a consumer-facing product or service. The audiences you're trying to reach are ready to buy, and the editors and producers are looking for products and services to demonstrate, highlight, and recommend.
The end-of-year holiday gift guides are the most prominent and influential; however, worthwhile gift guide opportunities exist throughout the year. The big ones are Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Graduation Day.
We went ahead and spoke with some veteran journalists who conveyed some practical advice on the topic.
We learned the following tips:
- Don't send unsolicited products and samples, especially large items
- Do try to get your submission approved before sending as it's pretty much a waste of time, effort, and merchandise to send unsolicited samples.
- Don't fixate on the end-of-year lists.
For this post, I interviewed the following people:
- Steve Mazzucchi, managing editor at MadeMan.com
- David Moye, columnist at The Huffington Post
- April Neale, managing editor at Monsters and Critics
What are the top two or three items that you constantly get pitched every year… despite the fact that they're wildly off the mark for your audience?
Mazzucchi: I'll come at this a different way. The holidays are one of three times during the year, the others being Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, when I'll actually consider women's products. But being pitched them the entire year is pretty annoying. It's like people have never been to the website or looked at the name, which has the word "Man" in it.
Moye: I only do weird gift ideas. That being said, the lamest most consistently non-weird item I constantly get is some sort of themed T-shirt. I guess it's too easy to put some kind of pic or design that tries to be weird on a T-shirt. Ugly Christmas sweaters have been a "thing" for a while. These things also seem to come in trends. For example, last Father's Day, there was a lot of bacon and bacon-themed stuff coming in.