Just as things are heating up for summer, it’s time to think about the end-of-year holiday season. Yikes! 

You might be wondering: “But, do we have to?” The short answer is yes, but it depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for coverage in print magazines (yes, they still exist), then the general rule of thumb is to lock something in 3-6 months out from when you’d want the piece to publish. That being said, even online outlets are starting to get ahead, with most reporters we’ve spoken to suggesting wrapping up your gift guide pitching before the end of summer. 

I know, I’m sweating just thinking about it, and it’s not because it’s approaching 90 degrees here in New York today. 

We’ve seen these early asks for holiday product roundups happen across the board. Think about what you see outside of a media setting, with Halloween decor in your local Home Goods starting in August. For last year’s holiday season, we started outreach for our client Wisdom in July, taking advantage of the summer and fall Prime Days, seeding reporters with product info to keep the relationships warm leading into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of those EOY product roundups. This approach proved successful with our team securing early wins in publications like Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Parade.

From our experience on the consumer side of the business, there are a few things that have helped us stand out. While some might seem obvious, it’s important to keep in mind since we already know the media landscape is competitive, and that becomes especially true during the busy holiday season. 

Here are five suggestions to make your holiday gift guide coverage season a success: 

Remind yourself that it’s never too early to reach out:

As I mentioned earlier, the concept of “long-lead” has never been more true than it is today. We’d suggest starting your holiday outreach in the summer, finding opportunities to tap into seasonal moments to entice a reporter now, and keep the relationship warm through the end of the year (and beyond).

Don’t forget, even a small discount goes a long way:

Everyone likes to know they’re getting a deal, myself included 🙂 While not every brand can offer a promotion or discount code, you can get creative in your product offerings, whether it’s bundling products together (to give the illusion of a deal) or waiving shipping fees for last-minute shoppers. 

Be creative and find a niche category to stand out:

You can’t just reach out to a reporter with a product that would be great for their holiday gift guide… BO-RING. Think about quirky listicles you can help them create, whether it’s gifts for the person who refuses to buy into mainstream trends but still gets all of their inspo from TikTok, or the Bridgerton lover who wants to keep their steamy obsession under wraps. 

Round up your round-up!

You may have been tasked with media outreach for one specific brand, but don’t forget about your other clients! They may not all have obvious holiday gift guide products, but it’s always helpful to reporters if you can give them more than one brand to include (especially if you’re going super niche on the above). 

Wrap everything up in a nice bow (gift pun intended):

Beyond offering them the product, all necessary assets, product info, etc., think about what else you can offer reporters. Can you couple the product with insightful data that points to why it’s relevant to their reader? Is there a consumer-facing spokesperson who can share a bit more on how to use it, why they love it, or who might care? Help them help you! 

Our job as PR professionals is to make reporters’ lives easier. We know they’re going to be slammed with gift guide pitches come October, so let’s get ahead of it (for ourselves, and their inboxes). Plus, who couldn’t use an excuse to get in the holiday spirit a few months early!? 

Want to learn more about how SourceCode can help you with your brand outreach, whether it’s for holiday gift guides or anything in between? Beyond the coverage mentioned earlier, we’ve also landed clients in The New York Times, Insider, and WIRED for product roundups. Reach out and let’s chat!