While Christmas in July may seem like a silly oxymoron to many people, at BLASTmedia, we know all about it! In fact, our holiday preparations begin in May when we start researching gift guide opportunities for our consumer tech and lifestyle clients. The rest of the country is spending time shopping for graduation, Father’s Day and wedding gifts now, but editors at top magazines like Men’s Journal, Seventeen, Wired and O, The Oprah Magazine, are busy compiling their suggestions for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.
If you market a product that would make a great gift, how do you get your product included in holiday gift guides? Now is the time to get it in front of influential magazine editors. We’ve been doing it for years, and here are a few of our tips for landing in some of the country’s top gift guides.
The Basics Create a list of magazines in which you would like to see your product featured. Pick up current issues of those magazines and check out the masthead- you’ll find it near the front of the book. The page will include a list of the staff, including editors and writers, along with basic contact info. Some, like PCWorld, will even give details on this page about each editor’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call an editorial assistant and ask who has been assigned to work on the current gift guide – it might be one or several in-house editors, or the magazine may have freelancers assigned to it. Then, get in touch with that editor. Some will prefer to be contacted via email, others like to talk on the phone. Accommodate their preferences.
Note – the masthead will also include a list of publishing, marketing and advertising reps – these are not the correct people to call unless you want to place a PAID advertisement in the gift guide issue.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm! Mom & Dad were right- like so many things in life, in media relations, you’ll have more success if you’re among the first in line. Magazines work on long lead times— editorial copy is typically due three to six months in advance of the cover date. If you want to land in a magazine’s spring break issue, talk to them in the fall. Have a product that’s a good fit for summer vacation? Pick up the phone in December or January. For November & December holiday gift guides, editorial deadlines hit late May through July.
Be Prepared Just like the Scouts, you need to be prepared when contacting editors about holiday gift guide opportunities. Have details about your products readily available. Editors may ask for specifics like pricing, online availability, brick & mortar retail availability, color choices, size choices, measurements, age recommendations, etc. Also, be sure to have high-resolution (300 dpi or higher) product images on a white background available and know if you can send editors product samples. Many will need to see the product in person before determining if it’s a fit for their publication and some art directors will want to take in-house photographs.
Know Thy Audience Make sure you know about the magazine’s general audience- are most of their readers affluent homeowners, moms of toddlers or teen and tween girls? Additionally, research the editorial theme of their gift guides. For example, the magazine may only be including gifts that cost less than $20, gifts that are environmentally friendly, or gifts that give back with a portion of proceeds donated to a particular charity. You don’t want to suggest a gift that doesn’t correspond with their requirements or audience, so do your research.
These tips just touch on the surface when navigating gift guide waters. Keep in mind that we’ve mainly focused on magazine gift guides, but there are also opportunities with short-lead media outlets (newspapers, websites, TV, blogs, etc) who have deadlines that extend all the way until December 24. Do some online searches for “holiday gift guide 2009” to find other media outlets to add to your list as the holiday approaches.
Based on your experience with holiday gift guides, what suggestions can you add to the mix?