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You may have noticed the Christmas merchandise already making its debut at mass retailers. While most of us are not quite ready to turn our focus away from summer, NOW is the time to start getting your products in the editorial line-up for holiday gift-giving season.

Every media outlet imaginable from digital to consumer magazines, daily newspapers and national TV shows develop their own unique holiday gift list that caters to their audience. Gifts are typically broken down by age, gender, cost and activity interest. So, there’s a suitable guide for every product.

Whether you recently launched a new product, or you simply want to highlight an existing one that can use an extra push in retail, gift guides can be a great way to reach millions of potential buyers at a fraction of the cost of advertising.

Here are five tips to get you started on holiday gift guide pitching today.

Get Moving Now, Timing Is Everything

Summer is traditionally the start of the holiday gift guide season with magazine editors working the farthest out in order to ensure they meet their lengthy print deadlines. However, online and TV outlets have shorter windows, so may not start the process until October. Overall, if you want to saturate as many diverse outlets as possible, beginning the process early offers optimal return on investment.

Identify Your Gift Audience

Gift guides are tailored to specific audiences and often broken down further by price point. For example, Field & Stream may run a guide that features Gifts for Hunters Under $100 and Family Circle a guide that lists the Top 50 Gifts for Kids under $50. So, think about the ideal audience for your product and the best way to market it in terms of a gift. Is it a gift that is suitable for men, women, kids, animal lovers, families, outdoors enthusiasts? Next, think in terms of price. Is this a great gift for men that could easily slip into a stocking and under the $50 price point?  If so, you might want to think about positioning the product as a holiday stocking stuffer for men under $50. By positioning your product by audience and price, it makes the job easier for journalists who are already overloaded with emails and increases the likelihood your product will get to the top of the list.

Develop Your Media & Influencer List

Once you have your product narrowed down by gift audience, you can start developing your list of targeted media and influencers. First, identify the key magazines, newspapers, blogs, influencers and broadcast media outlets that are most suitable for your product. Next, track down the right contact at the outlet. For example, if you are promoting a fitness product, you might want to find out who regularly covers health and fitness at the respective magazine or blog. Then, you can also call the editor to make sure they are indeed the proper contact and accepting submissions for the guide. By doing your homework ahead of time, you ensure your product hits the right editor and doesn’t get lost in the mailroom.

Make a Lasting Impression

Now that you have your list developed, you should dedicate an allotment of non-returnable product samples that can be sent along with your press kit and print quality images. As the age old saying goes, seeing is believing. Many holiday gift guides are treated as editorial stories versus paid ads, so journalists have to vet the products they feature to ensure they live up to their claims to maintain the credibility of their work and that of their media outlet. Finally, draft a short and sweet cover letter sharing your product’s unique features, gift audience and any special holiday offerings. Make sure to ship with a trackable service, so you know when it was received.

Do Your Follow Up

Once you are confident your product has been received, make sure to follow up with the contact.  A quick phone call or email goes a long way in making sure the journalist has what they need in terms of photography and information to evaluate your product and ultimately make the decision to include in their guide!

While not every product is a fit for holiday gift guides, many media outlets produce similar guides year-round for Father’s Day, Back-to-School and more. So, having an understanding of how the process works, can be helpful for other opportunities.

If you need help connecting your brand with the right media to get your products noticed quickly, let us know how we can help. We have over 20 years of experience regularly pitching both holiday gift guides and year-round product reviews. And, have the media pitching skills and connections to hit the ground running.

Contact Colleen Philbrick at Trailblazing PR by phone at (912) 604-1950 or email for a free consultation today.

Thank Your Clients This Holiday

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Don’t forget your clients when you start addressing those shiny holiday greeting cards. Sending out holiday cards to your clients, prospective customers and suppliers is a great way to stay connected and let them know you appreciate their business.

Apply a personal touch by taking the time to include a special note and your signature. In the Internet Age, there’s something extra special about a hand-written note.   A pre-printed card that isn’t signed by the sender is just so impersonal.

Finally, make sure you send your holiday cards before mid December to avoid mail delays.

Perfection Is Overrated

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One of my favorite motivational quotes is from legendary coach Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” With the end of the year approaching and as we get into the 2016 planning mode, I thought it only appropriate for my first blog post to expand on this sentiment.

Many of us get caught in the rat race of trying to be perfect. You know the thinking, “if I just lose those last ten pounds, I will be my perfect shape,” or “if I can add two more clients my business will be running perfectly.” Or, how about, “I already screwed up my diet today, so I will start over tomorrow and be spot on.” Well, let’s say you reach your immediate goals, what then? Will everything really be perfect? Chances are, something else will stand in the way of true perfection. And, the race will start all over again. It always does. Because nothing is ever perfect. It’s as simple as that.

I am learning this all too well in my battle with perfection. Yes, I admit it. I am one of those perfection seekers. But, recently, I have changed my thinking to strive for excellence not perfection. I am slowly but surely replacing my mindset that all the stars and moons must align perfectly before I take action. For one, there are just so many hours in a day. And, frankly who has time to chase something so fleeting and unforgiving as perfection.

I am finding the self-satisfaction in making progress towards my goals, slowly but surely in every day life. Is it perfect? Not even close. But, am I making movement towards excellence, absolutely. Many people never take that first step simply because they are waiting for the perfect timing. Or, they get caught up in that all or nothing mentality. I’ve been there. Here’s a challenge for November. Instead of starting your New Year’s Resolutions all over again come January 1, why not just pick up where you left off, right now. Just Do It!


Disaster Preparedness Tech, Are You Ready?

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It’s never too late to think about putting together an emergency preparedness kit.  The American Red Cross recommends every family should have an emergency kit on handy in case of unexpected severe weather and power outages.  Our client Motorola Solutions’ new Talkabout T480 was featured as a must-have gadget for disaster preparedness on KTTV FOX LA , listen here for some good resources.