Fall is officially here! While the New York office might feel that more than we do here in our PR agency in Los Angeles, it does not change the fact that we only have 12 weeks until the beloved Christmas season. While Christmas shopping might seem like a task in the distant future for many of us, the fact is that publications are already working on gift guides as we speak to ensure that their readers are well-informed about the best products to get for their loved ones. This means that as a publicist, you should already be reaching out to media and giving them the scoop on your clients. Below are three tips which will help you navigate the waters of the holiday gift guide world:
Given its Fall already, chances that you will secure a holiday gift guide interest from major outlets such as Cosmopolitan, Allure, Marie Claire, Vogue, etc., might be pretty slim. This is because national publications work on their issues with a long lead time. As such, submissions for their December issue have probably been closed since the end of August, if not earlier this year. If you got an interest from them during that time – congrats! This, however, does not mean that your client will not get any love from print publications. Make sure to reach out to regional outlets as they do not work on gift guides that much in advance. Their submission deadlines will probably be the end of September or very early in October.
2) Find Your Contact
Definitely always first look for the people who worked on a gift guide last year. It is likely that they are working on one this year as well. However, make sure to check if they are still working for the outlet. There have been so many changes within the media industry recently that there is a quite a large possibility that these editors/writers have transitioned from one magazine to another in the past couple of months. If that is the case, Cision or a similar website is a good bet. You can find editorial assistants there and write them a short and sweet email asking about the best contact for a gift guide. A response is not guaranteed but this is one way to go. Another one is to look into mastheads of each magazine and identify the appropriate editor to reach out to regarding the gift guide (i.e. Market Editor, Lifestyle Editor, etc.). Again, you do not have to pitch this person right away. Instead, try a short email asking if they are the best person to contact for this year’s guide and take it from there. Another option is to pick up your phone and call the publication. When doing so, you will probably first talk with the operator so tell them you want to talk with someone at the editorial department at X,Y,Z magazine. Each outlet has a designated person to pick up the phone and they can potentially help you and guide you in the right direction.
3) Other Considerations
Online publications have started collecting ideas for gift guide much sooner than normally this year. In fact, while we still have some time before the holiday season, there are already guides available for the EARLY shoppers. So if you see a guide out there for which your client would be a fit, do not stress. It is more likely than not that this writer will do another guide closer to the holidays. So just calm down and reach out to him or her.