We hate to mention the C word in September, but in the world of the media Christmas deadlines are already looming, and journalists are looking for relevant stories.

If you have a product you think would be great for a gift guide, now is the time to make your move and contact editors with your pitch, because these types of publications are compiled several months.

Bear in mind, though, there is stiff competition to be featured in a Christmas gift guide. Producers all over the UK will want to get that magic mention, which could give a real boost to their festive sales.

So here are our top tips on maximising your chances of being picked by an editor.

  1. Photography

You’ll know that the best way to entice someone into buying online is to have some really great photos of your products. The same applies to getting into a gift guide. The editor will want some superb photos, to showcase on their pages, whether they are in print or online.

Don’t just stick to images of the products on their own, but try to set a scene, or evoke an emotion, by having a great background, or setting, or even by using models.

  1. Subject line

Use the subject line to entice the editor, but also be clear what you are sending them. If your product is the perfect stocking filler, than say this in the subject line. If it’s a luxury gift for men, make this clear. In this way, your email will stand out when the editors scan their full inboxes looking for Christmas gift guide contenders.

  1. Keep it short

Your email should be a few sentences long. To make it clear what you are saying, use bullet points too. Succinct is best, and add a link to where the editor can find out more information.

  1. Is your shop ready?

Before you do any of this, make sure you are ready to sell. If the editor clicks through to your ecommerce site and finds it’s half finished, with Latin text instead of copy, and missing photos, then they won’t want to promote you.

We were consulted recently by a business selling a great product, with some great photos but the website text wasn’t ready. Our advice was finish this first, then send off your pitch.

  1. Where to send the pitch

There are literally hundreds of gift guides for Christmas. Almost every B2C magazine, newspaper or online media will run one, some themed and some generic.

Choose the media best fitted to your product, and then do some research to work out who you need to contact. If you have a printed magazine, you should see some contact details in the contents panel. Websites also carry contact us pages. You could even try a Google search using key words, for example, “editor” “Christmas gift guide” “XX media” and see what comes up.

Another tip is to keep an eye on relevant hashtags on Twitter, in particular #journorequest and #PRrequest. Here, journalists are always posting out requests for people to help with comment or case studies for features they are writing. They will also put out calls for product contributions, so if you see one relevant to you, then get in touch.

And of course use your own social media feeds to put in those hashtags, and you might well get spotted. If your product is a little bit unusual, or quirky (in a good way), you have a chance of being spotted.

Don’t forget bloggers and influencers. They carry a lot of clout with their followers, so being featured here could really boost your sales. You may need to give out freebies, but this could pay dividends in the long run.

Be prepared, though, that you might be asked to pay to feature in the gift guide. That’s a decision for you depending on your budget and whether you feel you will get a return on investment.

For more advice on how to get into the media and attract the attention of journalists, do get in touch with Word Worker.

We help SMEs with their public relations and copywriting in Swindon, Cirencester, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.