Today’s gift guides include printed pages and online formats to include more products than ever.
A great product can generate a lot of talk on social media by being presented attractively for digital consumption. Editors such as The Kit’s Michelle Bilodeau are looking to fill their corporate Instagram feeds as well as publication pages.
Follow these three steps and help your products land on both:
1. Plan around the online and social hit.
Craft your pitches to include elements that readers will want to share on social media. Think about a creative way consumers can engage with your product along with a campaign hashtag. Just as when you include a storyline in a pitch, including decorations on your product’s theme can help editors imagine how to photograph them. This reduces one step of the design process for the publication and gives you additional influence on how your product is presented to the world.
Bilodeau relies on her art department to turn attractive products into social collateral. “We always welcome brands who are open to us sharing the products on social,” she said. Bilodeau said she will feature some materials in the magazine and others only on social media.
When you give editors more to work with, they are more likely to find a medium to talk about your product.
Benefit Cosmetics has this down to a science. When the brand' managers share products with influencers and magazines, they do it as part of an integrated message—between package design, social media and top-of-the-line marketing—that defines a specific product. Ruth Goudie, senior marketing manager at Benefit Cosmetics Canada, says that by the time she sends a product to a magazine she knows it is a hit.
“We really focus in on that one thing makes the product unique and focus out marketing on that one-thing,” she said. ”With influencers and magazines, we try to create and play up the experience. We sell an experience that happens to be through makeup.”
Benefit uses social hashtags to build niches on social media. An example is #WowYourBrows, with which the brand on Wednesdays shares photos of their followers and holds product giveaways on Instagram. In Canada, this has resulted in more than 1,500 posts on Instagram.
Bilodeau recently received a pinwheel from Cover Girl in promotion of the brand’s Butterfly Mascara. The pinwheel featured The Kit’s branding, which caught Bilodeau’s attention.
“You can tell they took some time to think it all through and customize it for us,” she said.
2. Be aware of industry themes.
Help editors categorize your product into their lists by watching your competition and identifying which themes they have in common.
“It might be in how the product is priced, the botanicals that are included or a particular look that can be achieved with it,” Bilodeau offered.
Digital editors often work in 30-minute intervals getting items online as soon as news crosses their inbox. A product that makes it into a gift guide might have been pitched for as a news item months ago and recalled for a guide.
“I probably have 30-products on my desk right now to review and test,” Bilodeau said. “I want pitches that are creative, well thought out and include all of the information I need.”
3. Provide unique access.
Bilodeau’s favourite pitch came from Smashbox cosmetics, which had partnered with Canadian illustrator Donald Robertson to design a lipstick collection. To promote the line, Smashbox gave The Kit access to the renowned artist who has been dubbed the “Andy Warhol of Instagram” by Vogueand the Globe and Mail. The magazine ran a Q-and-A with Robertson and photographed him as he sketched Beyonce with a Sharpie and a Smashbox lipstick from his line.
The benefits of the pitch were twofold: Smashbox got its new lipstick in the pages of The Kit and Bilodeau got direct access to a big name for content that ran Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.