This is a guest post from Liam Donoghue, Manager of Print Media at Cision.
If you’re anything like me, just hearing the word “June” or “July” conjures up images of snow, sleigh bells, and boxes of presents wrapped under the bulb-lit tree. No, I’m not crazy, and it doesn’t have to do with living on the Southern Hemisphere. I think this because now is the time to start thinking about those end-of-year holiday gift guides, especially if you plan to pitch traditional media outlets.
Cision just released its 2012 Holiday Gift Guide Briefing Book. It gives users of the Cision Media Database an early step in securing product coverage in holiday gift guide editions of major media outlets, as well as blogs and websites. With deadlines, lead times, and contact info for the people directly responsible for the gift guides, it’s got all the information a PR professional needs.
The key to a successful gift guide pitch is to be timely and to know exactly the kinds of things a specific outlet is looking for. Lead times, photos, and shipping the product are all considerations that need to be made.
W. Andrew Powell edits The GATE and handles the site’s summer and holiday gift guides. He prefers to receive well-targeted pitches that make it apparent the sender knows what the site is all about.
“I definitely appreciate the pitches that understand we don’t cover clothing, children’s toys, or makeup,” he says. “I also appreciate pitches that include images, a few specifications, and overall details that give me an overview of why this item might be a great thing to feature.”
Powell crafts his gift guide to look fairly similar to The Gate’s regular gift features. “Since people only want to scroll through a certain length of article,” he says, “I keep each item in the gift guide to a minimum of one to two paragraphs, and the whole article tends to focus on five to seven items, which usually works out to be a perfect length, plus photos.”
In addition to timeliness and terseness, Powell also hopes PR pros don’t overlook a simple, logistical consideration: “Because I am located in Canada, not everyone gets that if they’re shipping me something to review, it has to go through the border and that can take time. On more than one occasion, I have also had to pay import and brokerage fees, which is never fun.”
Speaking of fees, it’s important to note that when working with bloggers, remember not all work for free. The rules governing bloggers are a bit different compared to working with journalists at more traditional media outlets.
When a PR [professional] contacts a blogger, they have to keep in mind that bloggers will not work for free,” says Alyssa Hart, Digital Promotions Manager & Owner at A Motherhood Experience. “Some require a product and some require a set fee as compensation, usually discussed after an initial pitch between blogger and the PR rep.”
Regardless of whether PR pros are looking for coverage in one of the U.S.’s largest magazines or a medium-sized Canadian website, they can use Cision’s Holiday Gift Guide briefing book to pitch some of the best traditional and new media this summer in time for coverage this winter.
You can download a free copy of Cision’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. Start planning now for successful product pitching and stay ahead in the game with your 2012 holiday media campaigns.