How can you pitch magazine editors to get your product in their yearly holiday gift guide? Being featured can not only give product sales a boost, but it can elevate your brand as well. But in-book gift guides are shrinking, meaning fewer slots overall, and each publication has different themes and price points, narrowing the field significantly.
Last week our VP of Agency Relations, Colleen Flood, attended PRSA-NY’s Meet the Media: Holiday Gift Guide Editors , where five panelists, all magazine editors, gave their input on how to make the cut in their 2014 gift guides, as well as general tips for pitching them year-round. Colleen brought back useful, detailed information that the editors shared during the panel.
The event’s moderator was Nicole Chismar, account supervisor of Media Relations at MSL Group. The evening’s five panelists were:
Allyson Dickman, associate lifestyle editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray
Caylin Harris, associate lifestyle editor at Parents
Irene Chang Kwon, associate editor at Working Mother
Catherine Peridis, fashion editor at Natural Health/Fit Pregnancy
Jessica Torres, beauty and lifestyle editor at Siempre Mujer
All the editors agreed that color scheme is a decision-making factor, and it helps if your product stands out or fits in with the scheme. Items should fall within the publication’s price specifications, and if it’s not a luxury magazine, they cap may be $100.
The product should also be nationally available, and when the product is shared with the media, it should look exactly how it will look when it’s on shelves. Know what types of gifts the publication features. Finally, submit early; most gift guides are finalized by early September.
Here are some of the publication-specific tips from the editorial panel.
Start early and know the theme
Torres explained that the Siempre Mujer gift guide encompasses gifts for him, her, home and kids. Siempre Mujer starts their holiday guide in July, does a run-through in mid-August, and closes in early September. (The magazine also does annual gift guides for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.)
Natural Health starts looking for gift guide items in June. At Working Mother, they start looking in July and wrap it up by the beginning of September. It’s a five-page guide that will be a mix of products for everyone, but the magazine strives to simplify the working mom’s shopping list and can include housewares, toys, and fashion products.
Parents and Everyday with Rachael Ray start looking for gift guide items in May. At Parents, Harris says they’ll call in samples in July and final submissions are due in the first week of August. Last year the six-page gift guide was organized by price. But Parents’ guide does not include gifts for children – it’s a gift guide for everyone else.
At Everyday with Rachael Ray, Dickman says it’s a four- to six-page guide, and final submissions are due by the first week of August. She says the guide is not gifts for parenting or kids, and it’s best to pitch by the sections in their magazines.
Know the criteria
At Siempre Mujer, products featured in the gift guide must be in the $5 to $500 price range. Since Hispanic culture also has King’s Day (also known as Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes), items can also be applicable for that holiday. But keep in mind that if your gift guide submission is anything written (like a book) or a movie, it must be in Spanish.
Natural Health loves charitable gifts and experiences tied to a gift. Kwon says that at Working Mother, gifts in the guide must make financial sense. At Parents, editors try to keep prices reasonable, and ask themselves how much a reader would realistically spend on a gift. They like products that look expensive, says Harris, and no gift cards or experiences.
At Everyday with Rachael Ray, budget is very important; the cap is $100, and Dickman says most gifts fall under $50. The gifts must be sophisticated but fun, and fit in with Ray’s personality.
Editors from Rachael Ray trend spot at events, and constantly have their eyes and ears out looking for products to feature. Harris says that at Parents press kits accompanying products are incredibly important, and it helps your chances if the editors have product info readily available. Working Mother finds most of their products at events, and at Siempre Mujer, Torres says about 90 percent of their products come from pitches or look books, though the occasionally seek out products themselves.
Siempre Mujer prefers deskside pitches with hi-res images, and Torres says she’s more likely to remember someone if she speaks with them in person. Fit Pregnancy/Natural Health prefers email pitches with all pertinent information, like images and cost, included in the email. Working Mother prefers both email and deskside pitches, as does Parents, though Harris says not to call. Rachael Ray will only do a deskside if there’s an actual product brought in – not a USB, as those get lost – and if the pitch is emailed, it must include a picture.