It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas—which also means that if you are a blogger, influencer, or creator, it is time to share seasonal and holiday content for your audience, readers, and followers to consume. I’ve said this before and it bears repeating here—the fourth quarter and the time between Halloween and the New Year is often the most lucrative for folk like us. In order to capitalize on this, it is important to create things that serve your audience’s appetite for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, while also making some coins.
One way that I do this each year is by creating a Holiday Gift Guide. It is not only a helpful tool for my readers, but allows me the opportunity to collaborate with brands who want to market to my readership and demographic. By publishing a Holiday Gift Guide, I get to curate a snazzy list of gift ideas while sharing new products and services with my core audience who may have not known about said gadget or gizmo, or who may add it to their list because I’ve shared more details with them about the item.
A holiday gift guide is a win/win, but, in order to really make it successful, it should also be profitable for you as well. Here is my list for How to Curate a Holiday Gift Guide for Your Blog and Get Paid:
The earlier you start sourcing for your holiday gift guide, the better. Brands often get inundated with pitches and emails to review products, so the earlier you start, the more likely you are to get a yes. Right after Labor Day, I sit down and write a list of brands and products that I want to feature in my Gift Guide, and then I begin the process of reaching out. There are times that the brand reached out to me first and I was able to include them in my guide—but more than likely, I was the one who initiated contact.
One way that I set myself up early is to publish a post on The Cubicle Chick about being featured in my holiday gift guide. I usually publish it at the end of September, and use the post in emails to lure brands to work with me. In the post, I share what categories I am looking for (health, beauty, tech, etc.), some of my demographics, and positives about partnering with me.
In the post, I don’t mention a placement fee (I save that for the email), but include a contact form for them to reach out if interested. I also show samples of previous holiday gift guides that I have done.
Show the value
Be ready to share why a brand should work with you and what they would get for placement in your holiday gift guide. What’s your readership? How many followers do you have? What’s your traffic like? Having an updated Media Kit with this information is a way to get them to place something in your holiday gift guide.
I have three types of placements: paid (where I am given a fee in exchange for promotional consideration for being in my holiday gift guide), and free placement (where I am sent the product for free, but not paid), and affiliate placement, which I will cover later in this post. Yes, I do both paid and free placement because sometimes the MSRP or amount of the gift is worth me placing it for free and I often use it, then re-gift it to a family member or friend.
I look at my holiday gift guide like my blog. Too many sponsored posts and it looks too inauthentic, and not enough means I am not leveraging my platform to create an income. I have a almost a 50/50 split for paid versus free placement in my holiday gift guide, and that works for me since I also have other sponsored work.
The key to having a highly searched and viable holiday gift guide is to have a specific niche for your gift ideas. I am a lifestyle content creator geared towards a working mom audience, so my holiday gift guide(s) are targeted to that genre, thus my Holiday Gift Guide for Working Moms. I’ve also created holiday gift guides for Teen Tech Gift Ideas, Stocking Stuffers for your BFF, Gift Ideas for Coworkers, and Gift Ideas for Foodies. All of those guides are for a specific audience or subgroup/subcategory of the content I share on The Cubicle Chick.
Brands are looking to get their products and services out to specific audience, so the more specific your guide is, the more you will be able to generate both paid and free placement.
Take a brand like Polaroid who is aiming to reach the busy working mom who wants to be able to print photos on demand. If I am just a overall lifestyle blogger with an overall Holiday Gift Guide, they may pass. But if they see that I have a gift guide specific to the audience they want to reach, then presto, I’m their girl.
Try to create niched down holiday gift guides that are targeted and aimed and subgroups. Examples are: Holiday Gift Guide for Families Who Travel, Holiday Gift Guide for Vegans, Holiday Gift Guide for Men with Beards, etc.
Be pitch ready
When you pitch, give them as much information as you can. Link to your call for holiday gift guide submissions, media kit, past holiday gift guides, mentions of the product/service in past posts, etc. Get to know the brand so you can be laser focused in your pitch. “I just read that your massager was listed as a CES 2019 Product of the Year” or “I love your new commercial featuring XYZ (personality).” Show them that you truly are interested in working with them and have done your homework. If you have the product and already own it, let them know that in the email as well.
Contact and connects
One of the first things I do is reach out to brands I have already worked with, as we’ve already done business and have a relationship. This is one of the best ways to keep the conversation going while snagging some great products for your holiday gift guide that your readers will love.
Think marathon and not sprint. It’s one thing to get paid to feature an item in your gift guide. It’s another thing to think long term and to get other opportunities to further the relationship. I often will select one or two things from my holiday gift guide and I will work with the brand to facilitate a review and giveaway of that product/service in another separate post. This helps me build engagement, get more traffic, spread more awareness about the brand, linking capabilities within my site, and shows the brand I am here for them to continue working with them.
Stretch out your holiday gift guide as much as you can by creating more ways to talk about the products and services listed in other content.
Do you have a podcast or IGTV or YouTube series? These can be additional opportunities for the brand to be featured by you, and thus, can help you increase your rate.
The key to having a profitable holiday gift guide? Use affiliate links. Readers and followers are soaking up your content and your holiday gift guide(s)–why not earn an income on the things you love to use while recommending them as a gift idea?
The money talk
The last question you may have is how much do I charge for a paid placement? This is strictly up to you, but you should think about these factors when setting your price:
- Blog reach and traffic
- Social following and engagement across platforms
- Time it would take to review said item
- Link specifications/requirement from brand
- Exclusivity? Do they want to be the only tech brand on your list? And if so, how much more for that right?
- Time taken to photograph and compose review
Once you have factored in all of those things, you should be able to come up with a negotiable rate. My recommendation? Don’t low-ball yourself. Start high, you can always work yourself down, but if you start too low, there’s nowhere to go from there.
Remember, your blog and platform are a business. Make moves accordingly.
Those are my tips for Curating Holiday Gift Guide for Your Blog and Get Paid. Here’s to a fruitful and productive holiday gift guide season for us all.