Having your products featured in gift guides is an inexpensive marketing strategy that can reap a high return if you target just the right blogs/press in just the right ways. Sometimes this is as easy as giving your product listing a title that's rich with strong keywords, and other times being pro-active by approaching media will get you publicity.
Think like a shopper
Optimise your product listings using keywords and phrases that a shopper would use. When hunting for feature-worthy items, editors will likely use these keywords to find your product. E.g. an engraved bronze bookmark could be described as a "personalised gift for book lover".
Write a list of blogs that appeal to your audience demographic. Is your product a good fit? What kind of products do they feature? Have they curated gift guides in the past? Prioritise blogs in order of most likely to be featured.
Try to think outside the box, would your products appeal to other markets, categories or price-ranges? Does the bookmark have birds and flowers on it? Approach garden/botanical blogs. Does it double as a bottle opener? Approach foodie/lifestyle blogs, etc.
Research the most relevant individual to contact. Is it the editor, or more specifically a lifestyle, food, beauty, etc, editor? Do they have a dedicated Christmas gift guide editor? Find their email address or best way to contact. Here's an example of a brand reaching out to a magazine via Twitter:
Scout for opportunities. See this past post about scouting opportunities via the Twitter hashtags 'journorequest' and 'prrequest'. If you're lucky (and eagle-eyed!) you could discover some relevant requests from journalists for glossy mags and popular newspapers, etc. I sometimes weed out and retweet good journo requests via my Twitter account.
Submit your work to a showcase. You can submit your products to a showcase or juried gift guide at a small cost to guarantee a spot (if accepted!) For example, UK Handmade have a quarterly showcase where your work is featured for 6 weeks. You can apply here.
You've optimised your product listings, researched the best and most relevant blogs, found the perfect point-of-contact person, and now it's time to wow them with your amazing product!
Structure your email. The blogger or editor is no doubt extremely busy and may receive hundreds of submissions. Make yours short, clear, and tailored to each blog. Proof read and edit down until you have a mere few paragraphs.
- Very briefly introduce yourself and mention why your product is an ideal match for the blog.
- List your product's benefits/features.
- Include a link to the product web page.
- Have a relevant email signature with your full name and links to your online presence and contact details.
- Have high resolution images ready as you may receive an urgent email requesting them at very short notice. Have both lifestyle and cut-out images prepared.
- Have your product or samples ready to post at short notice. You may not get them back, but include your address and don't forget a note with your name, website url and details.
- Organise your email folders to keep all pitched emails and replies in one place.
Excellent news! Now get press clippings or screenshots and post them on your social media to share with your audience. If you have an Etsy shop (or your own webshop), you could include screenshots/images in your About section slideshow or as images for the product listing - this helps to show your product is a popular, quality, trusted, must-have item that is being talked about!