How to Make the Most Out of Your Holiday PR Strategy

Shannon Menard
By Shannon Menard

If you haven’t started planning your marketing strategy for the holiday season, you are way behind schedule. However, if a PR campaign is a central part of your holiday strategy, you still have time to launch a successful holiday PR campaign if you get started ASAP. By beginning your outreach now, you will ensure that you are still able to land prime online PR placements that will move the needle for your bottom line. Don’t know where to start? Online PR is actually one of our specialties here at Power Digital and we understand the value it adds to a successful strategy is threefold.

First, it is measurable. Traditional print placements can only be measured by ad space and overall circulation so there is no way to really know how many people are actually seeing the placement, let alone how much revenue it is driving. With digital PR, on the other hand, you can analyze referral traffic and direct conversions from a specific online publication by easily placing a link in the article. Secondly, digital PR can increase your search engine optimization (SEO). By placing a link to your site on another website, especially a top-tier publication, your overall SEO and domain authority will increase as a result of the authoritative backlink. Finally, digital PR has a longer lifespan than traditional print. As we all know, anything you put on the internet essentially lives on forever. Put this in contrast with the countless number of magazines you probably throw out on a regular basis and you can easily spot the difference in longevity.

So, how can you implement digital PR into your holiday marketing strategy while getting the most out of your efforts? The answer is simple enough: pitch a holiday gift guide to your target publications!

Why Pitch Holiday Gift Guides? 

Many publications share holiday gift guides with their readers, but doing the research and thinking creatively about what to put in those guides is incredibly time-consuming. Help make editors lives easier by pitching them on why your clients products are a must-have this holiday season.

If your brand has differentiating factors that make you stand out in a crowd, holiday gift guides can help to increase your brand awareness over the holiday season, a notoriously fruitful time of year for e-commerce businesses. Plus, if your brand has a social mission or a new product they are introducing to the market, gift guides can help highlight these unique offerings. In addition, being featured in a holiday gift guide puts you in front of people who already have an intent to purchase. In fact, Google has found that approximately seven out of every 10 consumers turn to gift guides online to help with their holiday shopping when they are unsure what to buy. As a result, these pitches should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to your holiday marketing strategy.

Digital + Traditional PR

Typically, publications need to finalize their gift guides for physical prints in August and thus hear the majority of their pitches in July. On the other hand, digital placements can be pitched as late as November. However, it is important to note that the Nation Retail Federation has found that 40% of consumers begin researching their holiday shopping lists as early as October, so it is best to pitch earlier to ensure you capitalize on any and all opportunities.

How to Pitch a Gift Guide

If you have never pitched a gift guide, it can be an intimidating process. However, once you know what to expect and how best to craft your pitch, you will have the confidence to nail every proposal you make.

Step 1: Create a Master Media List

Make sure the publications you are reaching out to make sense for the holiday and your brand. The best way to do this? Be thorough when researching the gift guides that different target publications published around different holidays throughout the current and previous year. Whether it is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or New Year’s, the editors who wrote those gift guides are probably the same editors who will be writing the next gift guide. Depending on the publication, you should be able to find at least one previously released gift guide with some publications posting up to 50 each year. It all depends on the specific outlet, their readership, and the categories they cover in the publication. With this in mind, think critically about which outlets your target audience is reading and research those publications, compiling names and contact information of the editors you can reach out to.

Step 2: Create a Short Product Description

When it comes to pitching, the shorter it is, the sweeter it will be for the editor. Remember, you are not the only holiday gift guide pitch they are hearing so be sure to give the editor exactly what they need to know and no fluff. The specific information requested will vary slightly between editors, but typically they will ask for a short description of the product or service as well as an image, link to purchase, and price point. As you craft this short description, be sure to highlight any differentiating factors and stand-out features so the editor can clearly see what makes your product so exceptional.

Step 3: Start Your Outreach

After you have carefully crafted your brief description and found the perfect editors to reach out to, it’s time to send them your pitch via email. Be sure to highlight why your brand and product will appeal to their audience and whatever you do, don’t go picking up the phone unless they have requested you to do so. In today’s digital society, nearly all pitches happen over email.

Step 4: Follow Up

Your work isn’t done after you send your initial pitch and this is where a lot of people end up  missing opportunities. If you have not heard back from an editor, be sure to send at least 2 follow up emails to see if they may have missed your initial email or need a reminder to get back to you. Often times, we find that the second or third email you send is the one that gets a response, not the first.

With some preparation and persistence, you can make digital PR placements an effective part of your holiday marketing strategy. Be sure that the publications you choose to pitch align with your brand and customers so that you are more likely to successfully win over editors. Remember, they want to show their readers quality products that they will love, so create a pitch that shows them what is so special about your product or service. The more effective you can be in your pitch, the better – so cut to the chase and tell editors why your product is something their readers can’t live without.

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