Five Easy Tips to Get Your Products Featured in Holiday Gift Guides

Five Easy Tips to Get Your Products Featured in Holiday Gift Guides

It’s that time of the year again, June to August, when magazine editors start looking for products to feature in their holiday gift guides (usually appearing in the November or December issue of their magazine). Having your products featured in one of these gift guides can mean huge exposure for your business and thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars in additional sales in just a few week weeks.

How do magazine editors find products to feature?

Google can be a magazine editor’s best friend when it comes to finding products that make great holiday gifts. That’s why it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for the right keywords. If you are selling “handmade organic soaps,” include these keywords on your ABOUT page and on your product pages. Or if your product makes a “unique gift for women,” make sure that these keywords appear somewhere on your website so magazine editors can easily find your site when they are searching in Google.

Another way to get magazine editors’ attention is to approach them first instead of waiting for them to find your products among 6,000,000 other Google search results. There is a science to approaching magazine editors to make sure that your emails/calls will go answered.

Here are five steps to getting your products in magazines’ Holiday Gift Guides:

1. Make a list of all of the different types of gifts your products can be. Here are some examples:

  • Great gift for dad/mom/grandma/baby, etc.
  • Eco-friendly gifts
  • Gifts that give back
  • Last minute gifts
  • Gifts for the gardener/fashionista/techie/foodie, etc.
  • Gifts under $20/$50/$100
  • Gifts that pamper
  • Virtual gifts (almost any business can qualify here if it sells online gift certificates)

2. Make a list of all of the magazines that you’d like to see your products featured in. You can take a look at Amazon.com’s magazine directory or you can browse your local Barnes & Noble for ideas. Put these magazines in a spreadsheet and before moving on to Step 3 try to find the magazine’s previous Holiday Gift Guide to see what it covered. This will give you a good idea of the types of products the magazines are looking for again this year.

3. Find the appropriate Holiday Gift Guide editor at each magazine on your list and enter their name, email address and phone # in your spreadsheet. A lot of magazines now have a dedicated Holiday Gift Guide editor whose job is to find products to feature. If the magazine doesn’t have a Holiday Gift Guide editor, find out who is in charge of curating that year’s gift guide and contact them. Here are three ways to find out who that person is:

  • Google “Magazine Name” + “Holiday Gift Guide Editor” to see if the info is available online
  • Call the magazine’s editorial department (you’ll find their phone number on the magazine’s masthead) and ask who the Holiday Gift Guide editor is or who will be responsible for putting the gift guide together this year
  • Purchase a Holiday Gift Guide media list (like the one available at www.LaunchGrowJoy.com/media-list) or at www.GiftListMedia.com. Purchasing one of these lists can save you a lot of time (they have the editor’s contact info included) and can also help you discover lots of new magazines that you might not be aware of.

4. Write your pitch and personalize it for each magazine. Once you have
a draft you’re happy with, start sending it to each magazine editor. Your
email can look something like this:

“Dear Nancy, If you are looking for eco-friendly gifts to feature in this
year’s Holiday Gift Guide in Glamour Magazine, please consider Happy
Soap’s line of organic handcrafted soaps. Our soaps make great gifts
because:

  • List the first benefit of your product here
  • List the second benefit of your product here
  • List the third benefit of your product here

Happy Soaps are handcrafted in the USA and they are available for $5-
$7 at www.happysoapswebsite.com and at over 50 retailers across the
country.

Would you like a sample of our Happy Soaps? If so, please reply to this
email with your mailing address and I’ll get a few samples out to you.

I look forward to helping you find great products for your upcoming gift
guide!

All the best,
Your Name at Happy Soaps
www.happysoapswebsite.com
yourname@happysoapswebsite.com

(555) 555-5555

5. Wait for a response. Here are three typical scenarios:

  • If you hear a YES back from the magazine editor, jump on it right away. Make sure to send them the sample or images they requested right away (that same day if possible) and follow up about a week later to check in and make sure that they received your sample. (Bonus tip: If you mark the outside of your package AS REQUESTED, magazine editors are more likely to open your package and get your samples).
  • If you hear a NO back from the magazine editor, don’t give up! Reply right away and mention that your products can also make great gifts under $20, for example.
  • If you don’t hear back, send a follow up email again a week later and ask if they received your gift idea suggestion and if they’d like samples. If you still don’t hear back after your second email, wait a few more days and send another email, but this time with a different gift idea. For example, if your first gift idea was an “eco-friendly gift,” your second gift idea should be “gifts under $50.”

If you follow the steps above you’ll be one step closer to getting your products in
this year’s holiday gift guides!

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • If your product is featured in the gift guide, it’s your responsibility to obtain
    a copy of the magazine. Do not contact the editor and ask them to send
    you a copy.
  • If you send product samples, most of the time they will not be returned. If
    you would like them returned, (maybe if you have a very expensive item)
    include a note with a self-addressed stamped envelope and ask that your
    product be returned.
  • If your product is featured, scan a copy of the article and add it to your
    website’s “In the news” or “Press” section and let everyone know – your
    customers, your retailers, your web visitors, your Facebook and Twitter
    followers, etc.

Good luck pitching and don’t forget to start thinking about being featured in
blogger & online gift guides as well. The process works exactly the same, but
bloggers don’t typically start reviewing products until September/October. So you
have plenty of time to start preparing now!

{Featured image via Read Charlie}

Written by Andreea Ayers

Andreea Ayers is a mom of three and a successful entrepreneur who has sold two businesses. She currently works with entrepreneurs to help them grow their business by getting their products into stores and in the media. You can learn more about her at LaunchGrowJoy.com.

21 Responses to Five Easy Tips to Get Your Products Featured in Holiday Gift Guides

  1. Thanks Andreea! This is amazing advice. I will defiantly try to get my products featured in magazines and also apply this approach to other PR opportunities!

    • To my knowledge, the majority of them are not paid advertisements. I’ve actually only run across a few like that and they’ll tell you up front if you have to pay.

      • Think of PR as “unpaid” advertising. However, since it is unpaid, it is up to the editorial staff if they will run your product, vs. paid advertising which guarantees you a spot. Hope this helps!

  2. Thank you Andreea! Another great article from you. Now that my site is launched I feel like I am in a rush to get the word out there to this years holiday gift guides. Your article made it easy for me to tackle this project.
    Take Care
    lindy

  3. HI, I am needing to do this. I have been doing shows with not much online. And with the weather and the economy there are fewer and fewer shows. I am not good at pitching my handmade jewelry like this. I love talking about it and the beauty of the stones, but, not a salesmen like I need for this. Any ideas? I am using the example and am passing by some of my friends to see if it works.

  4. Thanks Andreea!
    As always, GREAT advice! Always helpful and informative! NONE of the advice you have given us has failed me yet! Thanks for all you do for us!

  5. Great tutorial, I made a silmiar (though not as cool) hooded towel from my son a while ago. I am currently working on an apron for my mom and a soft book for my little one. Homemade gifts rock!

  6. Andrea — amazing advice! Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this. I just wondered if you could point me in the right direction of the bloggers gift guide strategy. Where to start or perhaps you will write a post on this too? :)

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