With the holiday season fast approaching, bloggers and content publishers all over the web are planning their Holiday Gift Guides. These popular posts are a major way blogs use affiliate links, and most brands spend months sending emails with press releases and product info trying to get featured in these placements.
So how do you get your hot new product into the biggest gift guides? There's no magic bullet, but knowing how gift guides are built helps a lot.
Paid and Unpaid Placements
There's a great deal of debate in the blogger community about whether spots in gift guides should be paid or earned. The "paid" advocates view this as an opportunity to sell a valuable piece of real estate in a popular post and feel brands should be willing to compensate the site for the exposure. The supporters of the unpaid placements see a gift guide as carefully-curated content that will only be effective if the author's personal picks are based solely on the products themselves.
Many sites who do paid gift-guide placements will solicit the brands who offer their top personal picks, but that solicitation could come through an email to the affiliate contact, a pitch in the Placements Marketplace, or outreach to a brand's PR team.
Sites that won't take payment for gift guide products are likely to use affiliate links to monetize their posts and will probably start joining programs in October with products they'd like to feature. These are the most difficult placements to secure, since the author feels the need to personally endorse and stand by the products they suggest. If they haven't purchased a product themselves, they may request one for review. (Note: Product for review doesn't necessarily require a blog feature unless specifically agreed to by both parties.)
Get the Word Out
Whether looking into paid or unpaid gift guide opportunities, now is the time to let publishers know what's new and cool in your product offering. A gift guide-centered newsletter featuring your most popular and crowd-pleasing holiday products can help both types of blogs decide if your product fits. Make sure you let publishers know if you're considering paid placements or willing to provide product, and who to contact with requests.
Gift guide information should be on its way to publisher inboxes as soon as possible, as September and October are prime months for getting the word out. Too early or too late and your odds go way down. Just be sure to highlight your best products and offerings in a pleasant manner and you should be well on your way to a successful holiday season.
If you're a publisher with tips on securing gift guide features, leave us a comment and let us know what you're looking for!