How To Land a Top-Tier Gift Guide Placement
October 11th, 2022
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by Paige Garrett

We’ve made it through summer! The days are getting a little shorter, temperatures are getting a little cooler, and publicists, brands, and editors alike have started zeroing in on the most important part of the upcoming end-of-year season (for them, at least): holiday gift guides.  

While holiday gift guide pitching can feel daunting, it really doesn’t have to be. These best practices for holiday gift guide pitching will help take the guesswork out of the process and help you land the top-tier gift guide placement you’ve been working toward. 

Start early

First and foremost, start planning and pitching early. While it might sound or feel aggressive, editors will get a deluge of gift guide pitches in the coming months—especially digital writers. To help cut through the noise, ensure you’ve got assets and details for your holiday offerings organized and shared as early as possible.

Print magazines often begin pulling samples in July for holiday stories, and some brands will even choose to participate in a “Christmas in July,” showcase to debut holiday colors, bundles, or other products produced specially for the season. For digital, pitching after Labor Day Weekend is a good rule of thumb. 

“The key is definitely to start pitching as early as possible (after Labor Day!), as lists start running as early as October and you want to ensure you have enough runway to secure coverage. It’s imperative to start discussing holiday plans for clients over the summer to ensure they have all assets and details finalized by then for outreach efforts,” said Alex Wollman, PR director at Powers PR.

a stack of Vogue magazines

Pitch widely and ask questions

Focus on the top-tier outlets, but don’t forget to sprinkle in the smaller or local publications. With the entire media industry running gift guides and shopping content, be sure to leave no stone unturned. Create larger-than-usual media lists and ask friendlies if they or someone else on their team is working on gift guides this year. Gift guide coverage can often transcend a reporter’s typical beat and many could be assigned guides for themes or topics they don’t usually cover. Some outlets even bring on freelancers solely to oversee gift guide articles. Keep your media conversations open and ask questions to gain valuable insight into when an outlet may be pushing articles live, what they’re focusing on this season, and, most importantly, who’s writing the articles. 

“We actually create a large ‘look book’ of all our clients' holiday offerings so everything is in one place, categorized, and easily browsable for media to pull for various HGG roundups,” Wollman added.

This is an especially helpful practice when it comes to pitching freelance writers who are likely working on a varied plethora of articles for the shopping season. Similarly, Press Hook publishes curated, themed Guides for easy inspiration and quick sample requests. 

Include images, assets, and sales details

This may seem obvious, but it’s actually a great way to stand out to those coveted top-tier outlets. Organize your pitch to include all pertinent details of limited edition products and bundles along with high-res images, pricing, sale dates or codes, and beyond. Make sure your pitch is a one-stop-shop for editors to eliminate extra back and forth. Additionally, gift guide writers can often be on a tight deadline (particularly if they’re working on updates throughout the season), so having all necessary information easily available is a good way to stay ahead of the game. 

Make sure to use your Press Hook brand page to add seasonal launches, campaign language, images, and details so Press Hook media users can find everything they need right on the platform.

"It’s imperative to start discussing holiday plans for clients over the summer to ensure they have all assets and details finalized by then for outreach efforts."

Get creative

While pitching top-tier outlets for gift guide season, it’s easy to get caught up in the seriousness of securing the placement. Remember to have fun with the pitching and get creative. It’s the season of giving, receiving, traveling, eating, drinking, and beyond—use all of those themes to your advantage. Think outside of the normal “gifts for your mom” gift guide box and offer editors something fresh and titillating. “This Candle Will Say 20+ Years of Thank You to Mom,” is probably a more exciting email subject (and headline). Pair up different products and clients to organize a pitch around a color, scent, personality theme, travel destination, trend, or anything else. 

small puppy sniffing mistletoe

Use every day

Start early and stay late. Gift guide stories might start running in early October, but they’ll go live through the very final moments of the season. Even the most coveted outlets will be pushing articles live the week of major gift-giving holidays, so don’t give up! Make sure you’re doubling down on follow ups, fun angles, samples, and more to catch the eye of your targeted writer.

Need help getting attention for the holidays? Reach out to Press Hook to learn about how we connect businesses and media for more exposure, more quickly.