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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
As we near the busiest shopping time of the year, brands are looking for a coveted spot on the wish list for the vacation. The right path to the right releases is crucial if you want to secure your spot on this year's list.
We all want to feel safe in the products we buy, especially when it comes to a gift that is meant to reflect our intentions. We don't want to send our top customer a clunky device that is thrown in the trash. If you're anything like me, I want my gifts to be so unique and lasting that they become a permanent part of the recipient's life. Personally, I have relied on gift guides for years for inspiration and recommendations, as I have confidence that the products have been tested and rated by the trusted publishers of my favorite publications. Here are some tips on how to land on all of the major gift guides.
Determine which publications reach your target audience
Make a list of all the publications and media that your target market reads, listens to, and trusts. You should do a little research to find out which editorial contact is best. Look for editors who have published lists in the past few years, or editors who are already writing about your industry. Andrew Zaczkiewicz, Executive Editor at WWD, confirms: “Make sure you choose the right editor and check if there are any topics or trends. If there aren't any themes / trends, suggest some that fit your product. "
For example, if you're trying to promote a product that will resonate with runners, Bloomberg is probably not the right choice, but Runner's World or Athletics Weekly could be very promising. If you fail to impress the right editors or reach the right consumers, all your efforts will not be rewarded.
Related: The 6 Musts For A Successful Vacation Marketing Campaign
Turn your pitch into a narrative
Connecting your product more deeply with people is a great way to get editors interested. Neha Tandon, lifestyle editor at Odyssey and freelance reporter at POPSUGAR and Business Insider, noticed a pitch that immediately piqued her interest, as it not only addressed the demographic situation of her publication, but also had a positive impact on the currently turbulent socio-political climate.
"I recently received a pitch from a [beauty brand], but they told me how they are donating 20,000 hours of mental health resources to people of color this year," says Tandon. “I thought that was a great story. The fact that there is a beauty brand that uses its power and influence to do something good. These are the best places. "
The buying patterns will be different this year
Given the unprecedented social, economic and political landscape of the past year, it is not difficult to expect that people's buying patterns will be affected.
Chris Rooney, Editor at POPSUGAR, explains: “I think we can count on more thoughtful gifts this year to make up for not being able to spend so much time together. Social distancing makes collecting difficult for the holidays, so gifts that make a bigger impact can help. "
In a time of prolonged isolation, feeling heard, being healthy, and staying connected to others is essential for people's wellbeing. They will respond to products that meet these needs.
Rooney points out that gifts that touch upon this type of meaningful care are in great demand. "We're talking more about wellbeing in a holistic sense this year," he says. "I therefore expect a stronger focus on health-conscious gifts: subscriptions to fitness and wellness apps for a fee; feel-good gifts such as designer flower arrangements; fitness equipment that we normally haven't seen at home, such as foam rollers; and spa-like gifts like slow-burning ones Candles and waffle robes. "
People will also connect with gifts that promote healing and serenity with lasting value. "I'm looking for products with a long shelf life: important things that you can use every day, or more niche gifts that you want: a new yoga practice, a new love of cooking, a better dressed evening," says Rooney: "Giving gifts that further a person's goals is an easy way to show you how to listen to and care for their needs."
Related: How To Win Marketing For The Holiday Season With Relevance And Timing
People want to perpetuate something good in the lives of those who are most important to them. This year especially, it's not so much about giving, but rather about the sincerity and thoughtfulness of the gift.
Once you have an idea of which releases and trends to focus on, come up with a neat presentation that summarizes the contents of your product and business as you approach the editors and media professionals who make the Christmas gift guides and lists put together.
Rooney advises, "It's easy to toss the phone book, but it's difficult to be precise. Be brief and provide additional information about an editor's interest. Don't be shy! Just do your homework first."
Pitching can be a challenge, but it does give your business a chance to remove the fluff and consolidate what your product and brand are trying to achieve.
Make a real connection with the editors
You can also approach the editors on a personal level by investigating who they are and what they like. Check their social accounts. See what inspires you. Use this information while pitching to really connect with them.
For example, suppose you've created an indoor plant lover product and found that an editor you follow is constantly taking care of an ever-growing collection of orchids. As you pitch, try to connect that connection with something like, “I saw that you were quite a plant lover on Instagram – your indoor garden is beautiful, especially those orchids! I'm a plant lover myself, and it was my green thumb development that inspired me to create a product that will help others start planting. "
Here you have the attention of someone who understands what the draw your product might be. They address the other person in a personal and authentic way and make your interaction more meaningful and memorable.
A company's philosophy and ability to evolve over time can also have a profound impact on how editors perceive it. For Anna Maria Giano, editor at Vogue Italy, she would like to be inspired. “At the moment, I'm mostly looking for a brand that can surprise me,” she explains. "The key words are sustainability, inclusivity and the desire to dare."
Related topics: To maximize Christmas sales, plan your marketing early
The world always feels divided, so that companies trying to cure today's problems – diminished environment, marginalized identities – with transparent means will gain a foothold with editors, while companies that are committed to the will of business as- usual bow, don't do this. “Fashion is not just clothing, it reflects our way of life. I'm looking for someone who can introduce me to the dream of a better tomorrow, ”says Giano.
Building a following and anticipating an editor's vision is a feat, but it's a long game that is best played through constant and rigorous planning, deliberation, and research.
Editors like Giano are hungry not only for products that influence the present, but also for companies that demand meaningful, positive changes for the future.
Don't wait to get in touch
Editors often have long lead times for vacation features and they have a lot to do with what they want to present.
"Don't wait for the holidays to get known," encourages Giano. “I want to fully understand a brand, get to know its philosophy, how it works, and its products before I suggest it to my readers.” Editors need to think not only about deadlines, but also their reputation and the integrity of their entire publication.
Zaczkiewicz, taking note of the long-term work in curating vacation guides, offers the following advice. "Make sure you know the lead time of publication regarding gift guides," he says.
Vacation guides also offer the opportunity to develop a plan that is exclusivity and time sensitive to encourage people to buy your products and support your business during the holiday season. "Investing in a one-shot product is always a guarantee," says Giano in a few extra whims. "
Nobody wants to feel like they are missing out on something, so this can be a very powerful strategy, especially given that people are more likely to buy while feeling the added stress of the vacation. If you offer a solution to a problem and its availability is limited, people don't want to hesitate.
When submitting your pitches, make sure you include high resolution pictures of your products, social media links, and where the product was purchased. Remember that the editors are especially busy during the holidays. Give them everything they need if they decide to move on.