For large retail brands, holiday kits are planned well in advance. Print editors are typically done with it by the end of August, and digital editors start planning as early as October. It’s not so nuts as you see holiday kits already available at Sephora and Ulta way before Thanksgiving nowadays.
Small indie brands may not have the luxury of a 6-month lead time, or even a 3-month lead time. So what do you in that scenario?
Keep pitching, but don’t get flustered when editors tell you that they’re done with their holiday gift guides. You should expect that assuming you’ve done the homework. But don’t give up! Unless it’s an actual holiday kit, pitch it for a post-holiday story.
Keep your eyes and ears opened for freelancers who work on multiple gift guides for multiple outlets. You never know what spin they’re looking for at the last minute.
Expand your outreach–seek out blogs and Instagram influencers. While we all want an influencer with millions of followers, influencers with 5K to 10K+ followers can wield as much influence to their highly intimate and engaged audience. Make sure what you pitch actually match their aesthetics and price points, just like how you’d pitch to editors.
And hey, there’s always next year!!