Christine writes for Entrepreneur and this is one of her submissions. It originally appeared on the Entrepreneur site but it’s shared in its entirety below.
How New or Emerging Brands Can Get Big Holiday Shopping Coverage
As the holiday season approaches, there are many tips and tricks brands can adopt to gain greater media exposure.
It will be fascinating to see how the 2021 holiday season unfolds. Many Americans will be ready to convert their pent-up frustrations into shopping and new experiences aimed at making up for lost time. Meanwhile, many others will remain cautious about returning to holidaymaking akin to the times prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Retailers which rely on income from holiday shopping are desperate to recover earnings that vanished last year. Whatever the level of holiday recovery, organizations with an interest in making the most of holiday shopping will be hungrier than ever. Products of all shapes and sizes have suffered and will be eager to hit the upcoming season with everything they have.
That includes winning in the marketing sphere, which will see heated competition between brands — big and small — to attract those consumers that are willing to start spending once again.
So, how can the smaller products set themselves up to succeed?
Whether going it alone or marketing with an expert partner, there are many tips and tricks that small brands can adopt to boost their chances of succeeding in what will be a highly contested bout to obtain holiday gifting media coverage.
1. Provide samples
This is something which smaller and lesser-known brands simply must do to cut through the noise — if you believe in your product, the best form of marketing is to get it into the hands of reporters and online influencers, even if it means sacrificing some funds to do so.
If your product is high end, limiting samples to a select few outlets could be a wise opening move. Regardless of how much you decide to give away products, any provision of samples should be worked into your budget. This is something you should consider as a significant expenditure beyond simply hiring a marketing partner with an address book full of potentially useful retail and media contacts. People will still be hard pressed to recommend your product unless they have tried it for themselves.
2. Pay for the more prestigious placements.
Sometimes it is not obvious that placements are paid for, so do your homework before approaching any opportunities to fully understand the financial commitments involved. Many television shows will also require a certain number of products to be available for guests and hosts, and could even ask for a cut of the sales generated via their own websites.
3. Have an ecommerce presence built and ready to accept orders that may arise from any coverage.
Whether this is achieved through your own website or as an affiliate on a marketplace such as Amazon, it is importance to get it right.
Preparation here is key — it can take as long as six months to a year to register as an affiliate on Amazon, and more and more we are seeing requirements for product placements to be supplemented by a means of online purchase.
4. Fully understand your buying audience.
Before committing to working with a specialist marketing and PR partner, do your due diligence and ensure they’re targeting the right audience that will generate maximum exposure for your brand and products. If you are handling the promotional work in-house, find the places where your ideal customer turns to for information and target those sources first.
A mix of earned media and paid opportunities is likely to create an optimum set of results. Traditional PR placements in the holidays business is notoriously competitive, so be prepared to reach out to contacts who can also secure paid placements.
Time is of the essence with this holiday shopping push. Do not start in October! Start researching social media and advertising contacts as soon as possible so you can plan and budget for the August to November window accordingly.
5. Follow-up and exploit any successes.
For example, make sure you post, share and re-share any breakthroughs on social media to keep the momentum building. Furthermore, it could even be worth incorporating this into your Google Ads in order to showcase third-party credibility.
By following these simple tips, smaller brands stand a chance of cutting through the noise.
The 2021 holiday season is set to be a hugely competitive space when it comes to showcasing products to consumers who are ready to spend their money. After the disruption and struggles endured over the past 18 months, now is the perfect time to reignite your product marketing strategies and ride what we all hope will be a renewed wave of holidaymaker spending.