Christmas in July

Christmas in July

By: Frank Fay, Associate Account Executive, Fusion PR

July is usually known for Independence Day celebrations, fireworks, and as the half way marker of summer. But for many PR professionals, July is known for something far different –pitching holiday gift guides. So while the rest of America plans its summer vacations – and not even thinking about the holiday season – many PR aficionados are adding the final touches to their holiday wish list…which for many of us include placements in NYT, WSJ, and even a WIRED or two.

Gift guides are one of the most valuable resources that products can be included in. The third party validation alone, gives credibility to your client’s products, even if it’s not truly the “hottest” thing on the market at the time of publication. The fact of the matter is that people look at these things as the “shopping bible,” as they frantically look for the “perfect gift for him,” or “the best present for her,” or Kotaku’s 2007 Gift Guide of Obscene Nicety and Sublime Naughtyness.”

But to get into these publications, you have to start early. Way early. Some print publications may start accepting product submissions as early as May or June, so the following may help while in the throws of this pitching season.

Find the appropriate contact

Many times the holiday editor is a freelancer, a special features editor, or even an editorial assistant, who is the first to review incoming product submissions. A quick scan through Cision, or a call to the edit desk should clear it up.

Note confidentiality agreements

Before you shoot off that e-mail, be sure that it’s okay with your client to send. Many times the products/services we pitch for holiday are currently unavailable. Make sure they understand and agree to an embargo before giving the 411. No one likes a leak.

Go for “WOW”

These editors are reviewing hundreds of products, in a variety of categories – from electronic kitty litters to iPhones. Many of these editors may not be well versed in tech, so be sure to use simple terminology, and list the 3 main points up front. Even include a low-res color picture to add a little flare (try to keep it under 50kb).

Be brief

Enough said, even in the subject line, a good rule of thumb is 5-7 words.

Follow-Up

A short phone call to see when they’re wrapping up, and gauging their interest never hurt anyone. Many times they might have a specific product category to fill, which might be a perfect time to pitch a different product/client we already have. Just ask.

Good luck, happy holidays, and watch out for the mistletoe!

1 Comment
  • Suzanne McGee

    July 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Thanks for the piece Frank. The NYC office is also knee deep in gift guide pitching. You offer solid tips and reasons for conducting this kind of campaign.

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