I wanted to think of a sassy title for this blog but then I decided forget it, I want you to know exactly what you're getting - great advice from a fellow entrepreneur!
It's Oprah Time!
I am all about the personal user experience. That's why I'm the Chief Experience Officer CEO in these Tin Shingle parts. In my guidance in how to effectively use social media, rarely will you hear me advocate for setting up automated things. Rarely. And if you do, it's because it's super special.
Holiday 911: Who you should be pitching now, and should you buy the "holiday list" - le't's talk!
In the spirit of the overabundant amount of "Christmas in July" sales, and the fact that publicists across the country are currently pitching their clients feverishly for holiday gift guides, I thought I'd let you in on some secrets to ensuring you have a fair go at getting yourself into a holiday gift guide. As always, with PR there is never one right answer, one right pitch, and one right tactic because at the end of the day it's a science based on relationships, what certain editors want at certain moments, price points, how well prepared you are, and luck.
That said, following certain key rules will help you get ahead of your competition and stay on top of pitching:
* Remember that holiday is a long lead. The magazines will begin hitting the newsstands in November, which means they will be those magazines that are working 3-6 months ahead are working on their holiday issues right now.
* There is no solid system with magazines regarding which editors cover the gift guide. Sometimes it's several, sometimes it's an assistant, sometimes it's a freelancers....you get it! Because of that the best way to find out who is covering the gift guide is to check with the editorial assistant at the magazine. Just simply ask who is covering the gift guide, and reach out to that editor for the guides rules and regulations.
* Be sure you have prepared a holiday pitch prior to reaching out - in pr time is of the essence and if you hesitate or wait too long after finding out who covers the gift guides you may miss your chance. So be sure you have a pitch (that you can adjust and spin to different outlets depending on what they need), product photos, a functioning website, and retial photos available. KNOW what your holiday offerings are, and know them well, don't play a guessing game when it's crunch time.
* Title your subject line of your pitch emails something with the words "holiday gift guide" in it so they know what they are getting, and if you know the specific gift guide topic include that and your product in the title.
* Be sure the pitch is short and sweet and to the point, links to your site, and includes bullets that share your features (low price, great value, eco-friendly, a must-have for tweens etc).
* Work fast - some holiday gift guides are going to print this coming week!
* Don't purchase pre-fabbed gift guide contact guides - they editors are changing constantly, as are the topics, and many of these guides do not provide you with enough information as is. It's best to reach out by phone and email - not only will you be sure to get the correct information, but you will also begin creating lasting relationships with the media.
* Collective E Members - don't forget to continuously use your media contact lists and editorial calendars provided for you on the website to ensure you're able to work quickly and efficiently! Also - CORE members you will receive updates on the holiday gift guide editors as we will share several who have reached out needing product, along with other relevant information about their gift guide lists.
Many of you reading this have your products (or you are your own product), and you want to get on themor you on television, in magazines, or on a great website.
Brands often spend lots of time and money investing in their pr campaign, from pitching to branding materials, and then forget one of the most simple rules for getting lots of visibility - have your product on, with, or near you at all times. This doesn't mean toss your business cards in your handbag, but involves great preparation, which we'll talk about now!
When I was younger I used to read Trivial Pursuit cards in bed. Not to cheat, but because I wanted to know EVERYTHING. I was addicted to all of these random facts and mini-lessons in history, science, current events - you name it! I packed my brain with them, and so began my love affair with knowing as much as I could about what was going on in different areas of the culture, the world, the media, business - whatever I was interested and involved in.
This habit has become very useful when working in PR and trying to land stories in short lead media (tv news, newspapers, blogs, weekly magazines) because I know what stories and news is hot in many categories, right as it's happening, and I can respond with a great expert, a great new angle on the story, or a spin that gets a someone great press.
Staying on top of news can be difficult, so in order to be sure I know breaking news in all the categories I need for the multiple pr campaigns I'm involved in, I sign up for RSS feeds. These go directly into my inbox in their own neat, little folders so I can check them whenever I need to and they don't clog my already jam packed inbox.
I personally sign up for multiple feeds including:
* The Today Show's feed (also helps me keep up-to-date with what kinds of shows they are working on and interested in)
* Entertainment feeds from Entertainment Weekly & People Magazine so that I can be on top of breaking showbiz news for my celebrity-friendly brands and general knowledge of what's new in Hollywood
* Variety in order to find out what movies and shows are coming out so I can think about product placemment
* Several business magazines that cover small biz and entrepreneurship so that I can see the way they cover stories similar to the ones I want to place and also so I can stay informed as an entrepreneur
* New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal for heavier news and breaking headlines...
This way the most up-to-date headlines are being fed to me directly allowing me to quickly piggyback on a story at the most, and at the least be very informed.
The more you know about what's going on, the more you can create great stories!
Get your RSS feed going - and if you have any other great RSS suggestions please share!
Beyond regular pr leads, day in and day out we are working on ways to get our members in the press. These Random Acts of Pitching™ our team carries out, whether they be answering editors’ calls for product for a last minute photo shoot, creating segments
I just got off the phone with Family Circle magazine, and just to let you know their timeline and what to pitch them - they just closed September and will be getting into October soon - so be sure you are pitching late fall themed products, Halloween ideas, expert advice for October, etc.
Remember, October is also breast cancer awareness month....