Inclusion in a top-tier holiday gift guide is a goal for many consumer technology brands, yet not all products are a fit, or ultimately make the list. What can brands do to increase their chances of inclusion, and what are some considerations to keep in mind?


Quality visual content is huge. Considering that gift guides are visual by nature, ensuring your product photographs well is key. Should you find out that the guide is holiday themed, consider taking the time and energy to produce images that mesh with that theme, from colors to props and beyond. If you don’t have thematic content available, consider using MBA’s expert creative team to produce it on your brand’s behalf (see sample images below), as it may be the difference between making the cut or being kicked to the curb.




Consider driving a good deal. Gift guides typically seek products around the $150 – $200 price point, so if your product exceeds that range, or if you want to increase your chances of getting into a particular gift guide that touts a good deal, think about what kind of discount or exclusive deal you may be willing to offer. The deeper the discount, the better. Also, don’t forget about affiliate partnerships, and include links whenever possible.


Don’t wait around. Your product is more likely to pique a journalist’s interest if they’ve seen it before, and already have a good relationship with your team. Waiting to introduce yourself and/or your product until late summer and early fall is often too late. In addition, media tend to pull products from old stories and reviews, so if you’re already present and/or accessible, your likelihood for inclusion increases. PR expert Nicole Brandfon says simply: “inclusion in holiday gift guides comes from continuously updating media throughout the year and continuously launching products.”


Third-party validation is incredibly important. Media want to know that your product is amazing, beyond what is shared by the brand itself. MBA veteran Valerie Fuentes explains, “one of the best ways to guarantee that you’ll be in holiday gift guides is to have a really strong reviews program throughout the year, and make sure that you’re getting visibility in all these other top tier outlets that other media members are searching when they’re looking for content.” Positive validation from other media, customers and Amazon reviews all add fuel to how awesome your product really is, and why it deserves a coveted spot. Side note: if your rating is less than four stars, you’re unlikely to be featured.


Make sure your consumer-centric lens is turned on. At the end of the day, “not everything is a holiday gift guide-worthy product. Would I give this to my sister? That’s a good gauge,” shares MBA pro Jessica Darrican. Regardless of how great your product is on paper, if it doesn’t align with the target audience of the holiday gift guide you’re going after, it’s not likely to make it in. For example, a high-tech drone may not jive in a gift guide geared towards new moms.


Consider whether the channel is appropriate. Print gift guides are notoriously difficult to get into, given they are often tied to a specific theme, have limited real estate and are typically seeking products under the $50 mark. Unless the fit is spot-on, consider an online route where there are considerably more openings to fill in a given guide, and particularly if you have affiliate links available for online sales. Some publications produce multiple guides in a given period, which opens the door for more opportunities for inclusion.


Need guidance getting your gift guide program up and running, or simply looking for advice and recommendations in this area? Contact us today!