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    7 Tips for Pitching Gift Guides

    During every holiday season, headlines proclaiming, “The perfect gift for your mom,” “Ideal gifts for him,” or “Top picks for animal lovers” are a helpful shopping tool and one of the most widely-read articles for publications. To increase visibility for your client or business’ product or service during a time when consumers are inclined to spend, you want to secure a spot on these lists. This holiday season, consumer spending is expected to go up by 14% from 2022, reaching $1,652. 


    What are the best tips for pitching gift ideas to reporters, editors, and publications effectively? Discover these seven insights directly from journalists and PR pros. 




    Thoroughly research journalists


    It’s crucial to research the journalists and the publications you intend to pitch to. Not every publication or journalist creates gift guides, so ensure your efforts are targeted to relevant people and publications. Depending on your pitch and product, those gift guide lists may not be the right fit, or you might be approaching journalists who aren’t covering gift guides at all.





    Understand expertise and preferences


    How can you ensure you’re properly targeting the right publications and journalists? Review their website and what they cover. Read through previous articles on gift guides to gain insights. Pay attention to the journalists on social media and research their interests. Searching for the term “gift guides” on platforms such as X can help you discover journalists seeking industry-specific products. 




    Or you may find that the publication prefers receiving gift guide recommendations through a submission form. BrownStyle Magazine, a lifestyle and luxury publication currently accepting gift guide considerations, provides a dedicated gift guide form for PR professionals to conveniently share all relevant client information. 






    Be wary of article updates


    While researching reporters who cover gift guides, it's essential to check that they haven’t recently covered the same topic. A helpful Google search like “[previous year] Holiday Gift Guides” can reveal journalists who have previously written these lists.


    However, newer gift guide articles can be updated even though the original author is no longer associated with the outlet. Our recent Coffee With Journalist episode with Alexis Morillo, a lifestyle editor at Bustle, emphasizes the importance of doing thorough research before conducting outreach.



    Beck Bamberger: “What kind of holiday gift guide pitches would stand out to you and why? We're recording this in September, by the way, everybody. I mentioned that the fall is happening, so that should be a big clue. But go ahead.”


    Alexis Morillo: “This is related to this, and then I will definitely answer that directly. But you think that, and I'm sure it can be confusing because I know when you look up journalists, you get just whatever has their name on it that's been updated the most recently. But I have gotten holiday gift guide pitches that were from my previous job because that's everything updated for SEO purposes. I have gotten asked for updates on things that I no longer have access to. So I do think that taking a look at that is very important because sometimes, unfortunately, I can't help updating some of the things that publicists want me to.”


    Pitch in advance, but be mindful of the timing


    To increase your chances of being included in gift guides, pitch your ideas well ahead of the holiday season. What’s the optimal timing? According to various journalists on X, who have witnessed the holiday countdown firsthand, suggest pitching two to three months before the holiday. If a journalist isn’t quite ready to write the story but is interested in including your product in the guide, they may save your email for future consideration.


    However, when it comes to Christmas gift guides, it’s advisable to steer clear of the trend of “Christmas in July,” as suggested by Rosemary Donahue, health and parenting editor at Insider.





     According to A. Pawlowski, a health reporter for The TODAY Show and NBC News digital, and Jen Chaney, a TV Critic at Vulture, August and September are too soon.








    However, if you pitch print media, send pitches early, according to Arthur Gies, a supervising editor at Wirecutter. Jenni Hilton, marketing and PR pro, also agrees. 






    Provide high-quality images


    High-quality visuals are crucial in a shopping gift guide. When contacting journalists, ensure your email contains the necessary assets to feature your product in the guide. These images can increase your chances of inclusion. It’s best to get all the details to them as soon as possible to avoid the journalist from choosing another product.


    Joni Sweet, freelance writer and editor at various publications such as Forbes, NatGeo, TIME and more, shared her preferences on the best ways to share product images.



    Screen Shot 2023-11-08 at 10.24.21 AM



    Share multiple clients in one email


    If you have multiple clients in related industries, try pitching them for the same gift guide. Alexis Morillo shares that to efficiently pitch these clients to reporters, it’s best to include them all in a single pitch, specifying the type of gift for each product and using the subject line that indicates it’s for a specific gift guide. Why? It’s easier than saving and finding multiple gift guide products.



    Alexis Morillo: “But I do think that like if someone has a bunch of clients, I prefer having all of it in one email. Like I said, I use that kind of as my Google search. So this guide in the subject line and then maybe inside the body of that, there's experience gifts, as well as hosting gifts, as well as wellness and beauty gifts. I can kind of use that as my guide, rather than having five different emails of all the different categories from the same person. I think that's very helpful with gift guides.”


    Highlight a compelling story 


    Similar to how traditional advertisements and influencer campaigns on social media can boost a consumer’s interest in purchasing, items associated with celebrities or featuring celebrity testimonials can increase the product’s credibility.



    Alexis Morillo: “I also think it's nice and, obviously, this isn't always doable, but if there's something that has a buzzy celebrity component, such-and-such celebrity has used this, that's a great caption to use in a gift guide. So I think something like that.”


    Beck Bamberger: “Oh, yes. Good point. Drop those celebrity names. Yes.”


    Alexis Morillio: “Yes, exactly. Name drop.”





    Want to land a placement in a top publication like Forbes? Try OnePitch for free, submit your client/brand information, get your curated media list, and start pitching directly on your OnePitch profile.

    From an agency reporter to senior editors, learn how to pitch journalists on #CoffeeWithAJournalist. See more examples of pitches that landed on The TypeBar.

    Do you have a pitch that landed your client exceptional coverage that you want to highlight? Email us at with your pitch and 3-5 reasons why you believe it worked.



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