Tis The Season for pre-holiday planning! I know we have 3 months until the Holidays, but it goes by fast and now is the time to get portraits for those Christmas Cards, book travel plans or start deep cleaning for holiday visitors and if you are like me, I tend to keep my eyes open to savings and deals well before Christmas for the kids. This is where a Holiday Gift Guide on your blog can help so many including yourself! You can link your readers to some great products you have tried and you can pitch companies and get products to review and promote which, in turn, helps out your gift stash! If you have never done a Holiday Gift Guide, I am here to say the hardest part is pitching and waiting and the rest is so simple!
I start by choosing a theme. This year I am focusing on Educational Toys/Media. Now I know types of companies to pitch and can go back through companies I already have relationships with that fit the subject
Create a pitch post/page
I have a post that lists the available options for the companies I pitch. I do this for several reasons. One-I do not like my pitch letters to be too wordy, so to be brief about my Gift Guide then ask them to visit my link for more details is a better option Two-it leads them to your Blog. The companies click that link to see more and they are now on your Blog which is more inviting for them and more personal than an email. Three-it keeps me consistent and organized.
I will share my post example here: http://www.3sonshavei.com/2013/09/holiday-gift-guide-2013-educational.html
You now have a theme and some guidelines in your post you created so now you are ready to draft a pitch letter. I write myself an email with a pitch letter. I do this because saving an email in a folder is easy and when you copy/paste it is already email formatted. Mine is a paragraph. Stating who I am, my blog link, a short sample of what my Holiday Gift Guide will focus on and a link to my Guide Details Post. I state my email as best contact asking them to email me for more details.
I create a 2013 Holiday Gift Guide Folder for all email correspondences I have. After sending a few pitch letters, I go to my SENT MAIL folder and grab those pitches I sent and drag them to this file so I have easier access to who I have pitched. Keep a separate calendar for your Holiday Gift Guide. I just found a July 2013-December 2014 pocket calendar on a clearance shelf in Target’s office end cap for $0.60! May want to check that out next time you go! I use both paper and digital calendars which is why I bought that!
Now just sit back and wait. You may get immediate responses or none at all from many companies or a ‘we will get back to you’. By about mid-October, I will send a second email by replying with my original asking if they had a chance to read my original and stating there is still time to join your gift guide
Remember some points as you communicate with companies wanting to work with you. The most important is asking exact links/social media accounts they would like promoted. If they are offering to include a Giveaway for your readers, you want to be very clear on exact prize details as well as when you are to get winner information to them so they have time to get the prize out before the Holidays. Most want winner info first week of December, but always double check that! Keep those emails filed away and available for next years guide!
Decide how you will post and begin in the beginning of November (typical Gift Guide start). If you only received a few responses back then you may want to do one big Hoo-Rah Holiday Gift Guide Post! Listing a paragraph about each sponsor and offer multiple winner’s for the giveaways you were allowed and send that post everywhere! This is a good time to perhaps pay for some advertising or promote pages. If you scored many positive replies, you can do a daily or weekly segment. Gifts for busy Mom segment or gifts for Grandparents segment, etc… Have fun, be creative and find the best exposure and share the posts like crazy!
This post was written by Erinn, one of our amazing TOTS Family contributors.