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How to Pitch Holiday Gift Guides

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November 11,2016


By Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.


Think your product would make a great gift? Consider pitching it to gift guides to net some great exposure. Products that are accepted get a nice nudge in sales and exposure, making even one placement worth the effort. If you’ve never pitched a gift guide before, this article breaks down the different types of gift guides, and teaches you to craft a pitch.


National Magazines

Most national magazines, especially women’s magazines, tend to publish their gift guides by November 1 to get out there in time for the big shopping season. Although it’s likely too late to be included in most of these for this season, some publications release gift guides outside of the big holiday rush. Keep in mind Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day as you build your marketing calendar. Most magazines publish their editorial calendars on their website, and some magazines have a “gift issue,” so watch for those issues in the editorial calendars.


Regional Magazines

Regional magazines typically have a much shorter window for their gift guides, and most cities have at least one regional magazine, if not several. While these smaller magazines may seem less glamorous than their national counterparts, don’t underestimate their readership; plus, nearly all have gift guides. If you’re not sure which publications are a fit for your product, then visit your local grocery store or drug store and browse through their selection. Once you’ve built a list, just like national magazines, take a look at their online editorial calendars. If it isn’t listed online, feel free to reach to ask if they do a gift guide, and if so, their submission guidelines. If they don’t do one, they may decide to feature your product because you’re “local,” so it’s worth your time to ask.


Regional TV Programs

The same ideas behind regional magazines apply to regional television programs – including morning shows or news broadcasts. Even the evening news may have a gift guide segment. You can usually call the front desk of any local TV station and ask them. If they can’t help, they will help you find someone who can. However, if you do call, be prepared with your pitch in case they transfer you right to the show producer!



We love blogger gift guide exposure. Since it’s a blog post, it lives online for the life of the blog, which can be a long time. To get started, searchsome of your favorite blogs to find out if they’ve ever done a gift guide. If they have and you don’t see a post requesting submissions, then reach out to them to find out what their plans are for the year.  Most of the November and December gift guides are collected early enough for the blogger to be able to sort through the submissions.


Pitching Gift Guides

Here are several things to keep in mind as you prepare to pitch the gift guides:


  1. Get to know the magazine or blog. Take some time to read an issue of the magazine – or a few posts from the blog - to make sure that your product is a good fit for them. Do they offer holiday gift guides or are they focused on the New Year, New You model? Each outlet is different. Also, as I mentioned earlier, many blogs and magazines do gift guides throughout the year, so beyond the Christmas shopping window, more major shopping holidays are right around the corner.
  2. Make sure it’s the right fit. It’s important to be sure you are pitching a magazine or blog related to your product. If you don’t, not only will you not get included, but it’s a waste of the editor’s time and yours.  
  3. Pitch the right person. Take the time to find the right person to pitch. This is especially true for gift guides, because since editors or bloggers often sift through hundreds of products, they may have a separate email set up for submissions. If you don’t follow the rules, they may not consider your submission.
  4.  Craft your email. This is the only time you’ll hear me say that a catchy email subject line isn’t the way to go. For gift guides, I recommend something simple “Holiday gift guide:” and either product name or a hook. Keep the email short, no more than two paragraphs. Since gift guides are highly visual, be sure to include a link to your product and offer to send a sample to the editor or blogger.
  5.  Offer enhancements. Offering giveaways can be a great strategy! Offer a giveaway to the blog readers, or, if you get picked up by a regional magazine, or local TV show, you can offer a giveaway for their viewers or readers.
  6.  Do the follow up. It never hurts to check in with a simple note asking if they got the pitch and if they need anything further.


Gift guides can provide a great sales boost, and while they take a bit of effort, they are completely worth it. One nod from a publication, TV show or blogger could net you tons of exposure and lots of sales.Good luck!


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.



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