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We’re barely into fall, but the holidays are right around the corner!
And that means brands everywhere will soon be scrambling to get the word out about their products. 

While ads, email marketing, and retargeting are some of the most common methods, there’s one overlooked strategy that has the potential to drive a lot of customers your way—for FREE. 

‘Tis the season for holiday gift guides!

Sure, anything flavored with pumpkin spice and cozy sweaters have yet to hit store shelves. However, national and long lead media outlets are already at least one month into searching for what will be the hottest gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

They aren’t the only ones.

According to the National Research Foundation, 40% of all consumers begin researching holiday gifts and gift ideas as early as September.

September! Can you believe it?

How do you get in front of both the media outlets and savvy shoppers?

By having your gift guide-friendly offerings ready to go before the sun sets on summer. 

The truth is, many consumers looking for great gift ideas will look to gift guides for inspiration. 

As most gift guides are roundups of gift ideas for a family member or friend with a particular interest, there are likely websites in your niche that specialize in sharing gift guides including products very similar to yours.

With the average consumer spending more than $500 on gifts for their family this holiday season, getting your products in gift guides can help more shoppers discover you—especially if you have a niche product that makes a great gift.

The first step in getting your brand in gift guides is to research blogs and websites with gift guides in your niche.

For example, if my company sells jewelry, I would research blogs and websites with gift guides for jewelry lovers.

Before you Google, put yourself in the head of someone researching gift ideas. What would he or she search? Here are some search terms and search ideas, just replace jewelry with your store’s niche:

  • jewelry gift guide

  • jewelry gift guide 2018

  • jewelry buying guide

  • jewelry buying guide 2018

  • jewelry gift ideas

  • jewelry holiday gift ideas

  • gift ideas for jewelry lovers

Before beginning your outreach process, find at least 20 websites that match your niche and curate them for quality.

Not sure what you’re looking for?

First, ensure they’re approachable. You would never approach a competing brand to promote your products any other time of year.

The same holds true during this lead up to the holidays.

If an identified contact is a major publication, research the editor of the publication to make a customized, personal, and successful pitch.

Next, check to make sure your identified targets have active websites and have a reasonably sized audience.

To do this, look at the date of their most recent post and see how many followers they have on social media. Check for other social proof like the average number of comments on their blog posts.

Remember, a site’s audience doesn’t need to be massive.

Smaller websites and blogs are often more approachable. Even if only 100 new eyeballs see your brand for the first time, that is still 100 passionate people learning about your product who wouldn’t otherwise.

Plus, gift guides live on forever. Even after this season, people will continually find that guide once it ranks on Google.

Before performing any outreach, you’ll need to find the contact information for the person who runs each website.

For most blogs, you can find this in the About or Contact sections. If you’re struggling to find a website’s contact information, try reaching out to them on social media.
Never send a mass email! Not even if you blind copy everyone.

This is an unprofessional, impersonal way to build business relationships. Instead, send each of your prospects an individual, personalized email.

Will it take extra time? Yes.

Is it worth it? Definitely! 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of drafting 20 personalized emails, break your content down into something relatable for each contact.

Write about something you enjoyed from their previous gift guide or something you like about their site. Then, try to find a way you can relate to the person before getting to your request. This will make your emails sound more authentic, instead of something automated.

Trust me, if you give people the impression that you’ve sent the same email to a hundred other people, they won’t take your request seriously.

Want to really stand out in the holiday gift guide crowed?

Offer to each contact a sample of your product. People are more inclined to talk about or recommend a product after trying it for themselves.

Are you prepared to start promoting your brand for the upcoming holiday season?

Want more tips or expert assistance? Schedule a one-on-one bluePRint PR strategy session and signup for exclusive Hearsay content.