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Wildfire’s top 5 last-minute Christmas gift guide tips

Posted by Ella Delancey on 3rd December 2014

GiftGuide1It’s December, and that only means one thing for everyone in the PR world. It’s the last-minute scramble to squeeze every last drop out of your clients’ Christmas gift guide push.

Any consumer tech PR worth his/her salt will tell you that you should be pitching for Christmas Gift Guides as early as July and we absolutely agree. At the same time there is still work to be done in December when online publications, blogs and print dailies are still hastily putting their guides together.

By December you should have been working on your priority consumer technology, gadget and lifestyle publications for months. Now it’s about casting the net wider and making a last-ditch effort to put your product in front of national and regional daily newspapers.

Follow Wildfire’s Christmas gift guide survival tips to make sure that your client’s festive period really is a season to be jolly.

1. Double-check your PR tools

At this point you’re not going to be sending too many products out for review. It’s about giving journalists all the product information they need as well as a compelling pitch. Journalists get sick of asking for the same three fundamental pieces of information at this time of year:

  • Hi-resolution images: Product and lifestyle shots of people using the product
  • Price: How much will my readers need to pay for it?
  • Stockist: Where can my readers buy it?

Make sure you’re ahead of the game. If you’re going international, don’t expect UK journalists to want the price in dollars or vice versa. And at this stage don’t expect them to ask twice!

2. Build lists

Lists are a PR person’s best friend and last-minute Christmas pitching is no exception. Research the online media landscape with a focus on bloggers and online lifestyle.

By all means, categorise the publications to make your own life easier but don’t just group titles into a particular area and send them a generic pitch based on assumption. Take a look to see what kinds of products they usually put in front of the readers and see if you can develop a story that might work.

3. Pitch to an audience

As well as researching each publication, remember you are ultimately pitching to an audience, so it is best to tailor your pitch to the audience the publication is aimed at. Provide a concrete reason why a certain person would be chuffed to open your product on Christmas Day.

A helpful way of doing this is to think family members – you’d pitch something differently to your teenage brother than you would to your gran. For example, as a mother you’d be inclined to buy your teenage son a tablet to help with homework and let him plays games on the bus to school. On the other hand you may buy your Gran a tablet so she can do a bit of online shopping while she’s sat in her armchair or Skype your eldest who’s away at uni.

4. Provide real use cases

As well as developing human stories – hooking onto seasonal trends is also a popular tactic. For example, if you’re PRing health and wellness apps or wearable technology, you may pitch it as the perfect present for the health conscious user who wants to hit the gym in January or someone who is giving up smoking as a New Year’s resolution. On the other hand it may be a smart home product for a gadget-loving Dad who wants to keep track of energy use during winter given recent fears over an energy crisis.

Either way – don’t assume that the journalist will help create an angle for you. You need to make sure your story stands out from the crowd and they have everything they need to pitch your product to their readers.

5. Stay on your toes

It’s no good pitching if you’re not going to follow up. This doesn’t mean spamming journalists with repeat emails or calling them until they pick up – if yours was a pitch to remember, they should only need a gentle nudge.

Following up should be a gentle reminder, rather than shaking people until they listen to you. Also make sure your media monitoring process is geared up to find coverage outside the normal remit. This will avoid damaging newly forged relationships by following-up with people when they’ve already covered your product!

Ella Delancey

A trained journalist, with a degree in English Language and Journalism from Kingston University, Ella began her career writing for local newspapers such as The River, followed by several internships within the media industry, including stints in fashion PR and social media agencies. These experiences fuelled her transition from journalism to PR, allowing Ella to combine her writing and creative skills with a deeply instilled ‘news sense’ to ensure she maximises coverage for her clients at every opportunity.