Over the years I’ve pitched ideas and communicated with David Moye, who has a 25-year background in news with a specialty in weird news, which made him a perfect fit for his position as a Staff Writer at Huffington Post Weird News. The Internet and social media have made weird news and products more popular than ever.
In addition to his daily news posts on drunken zombies and people arrested for aggressive mopping (yes, that’s mopping), Moye writes five Weird Huffington Post Gift Guides each year, for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The Weird Gift Guides are very popular, receiving an average of over a million impressions.
Products featured in his Gift Guides often see a jump in sales. “One year I included a $350 wine holder made out of a cow’s hoof. The owner told me he sold 170 of them solely from being featured in my Gift Guide,” notes Moye. That’s almost $60,000 in sales from one placement!
While he looks for very specific types of products (the ones that make you say, “That’s the worst gift ever. I’m getting it for my uncle,” Moye quips, he recently shared some universal pitching tips:
1. The number one mistake product companies make when pitching products is bad product photography.
“My guides (and Gift Guides in general) are photo driven. I need cheesy photos that explain what the product does in one shot without writing. It’s best if you can see a person using the product, not just a photo of a product in the package.”
2. Tied for first place in pitching mistakes is pitching a product that’s not a fit for the piece.
“Telling me you have a weird product in the first sentence and then cutting and pasting the boiler-plate pitch you send to normal news outlets, with products you describe as “sentimental” or “heartwarming” is an obvious example,” notes Moye.
“I want my mouth to drop or my eyebrows to raise when I see a product,” says Moye. “A reaction like WTF is what I’m hoping for.”
3. Don’t penny-pinch on product samples.
“It’s a pain in the neck to send back samples. Unless you have a really expensive or one-of-a-kind product, don’t tell me you need the sample back. It’ll make me think twice about including it,” Moye asserts.
4. Follow pitching instructions.
Moye often posts on HARO (Help a Reporter Out). He usually includes instructions on how to pitch him. Here is an example from his recent request:
40) Summary: Looking for weird and wacky Christmas gifts
Name: David Moye The Huffington Post
Category: Lifestyle and Fitness
Media Outlet: The Huffington Post
Deadline: 7:00 PM EST – 4 October
Every year, I do a guide of weird and wacky Christmas gifts for
Huffington Post. Help me make this year’s guide the weirdest.
1. Please review my previous weird Christmas gift guides. You
can find them by going to the HuffPost site and doing this:
“David Moye” + “weird Christmas gifts.” Last year’s guide
included a crime scene terrarium and a Santa Claus costume for
hamsters. Help me make this guide even weirder 2. Good photos
are crucial. I prefer photos showing humans using the product
(the cheesier the better). WARNING: HARO strips out photos so
let me know if you have good photos. 3. If your product only
qualifies as “quirky” or “unusual,” don’t pitch — helpful
keywords for me include “weird,” “crazy,” bizarre,” “stupid,”
“asinine,” “wacky” and “delusional client.” 4. Send complete
product detail in the body of the email. Don’t send only the
link and say “click on this.” 5. My gift guides average 1
million page views. 6. Yeah, that’s a lot. 7. No, I don’t anyone
at another section who is working on a normal gift guide. 8. No,
I’m not interested in interviewing your client about the
product. As you know from the extensive research you’ve done,
you are aware it’s a photo-driven gallery with a few pithy
In a typical HARO request, Moye will receive 100 pitches, “Most of the people who pitch don’t read these instructions, which is why only about 10 of the pitches contain products that are viable for the Gift Guide.”
Last but not least, I’ll end with my favorite answer from David to one of my questions:
5. What wording do you like to see in Subject Lines?
“I’m actually familiar with your work and didn’t get your name off a mailing list.”
(He’s still waiting to get that one!)
We hope these tips lead to more successful pitching and media placements.
Thanks to David for an entertaining and informative interview! You can check out his posts at the Huffington Post here.
Oh, and if you’re interested in more information on Holiday Gift Guide P.R., you can get it here.
This post is now available on LinkedIn. You can see it here.
There’s nothing like picking up a magazine or newspaper and seeing your product featured in it. Oh, wait, there is one thing better than that. What is it? Watching all the sales coming in from that placement!
I’m excited to announce that this month we have an amazing lineup of Holiday Gift Guide media folks willing to share insider tips on getting Holiday Gift Guide placements.
Join us on May 29, 2014 teleseminar at 1 p.m. Eastern (it will also be recorded). We are featuring editors from:
First for Women
Gannett Special Sections
You can sign up here: (See below for a special bonus if you’re one of the first 50 people to sign up.)
Why do we offer this teleseminar about fourth quarter publicity in May? The answer is because most magazines have a lead time of six or seven months and stop accepting submissions during the summer. So you need to get ready for pitching now.
Why are Holiday Gift Guide Editorial Placements so Important?
The fourth quarter holiday season is the time when most people are in “buying” mode. Publicity placements that occur during that time can (and have) led to thousands, even tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.
Why Is This Call So Important?
As you can imagine, competition is fierce to get holiday gift guide placements. Insider tips from the actual Holiday Gift Guide Editors are extremely useful in the success of your media efforts.
What Will You Learn on this Call?
What types of products top magazines and other media are looking to feature
What to include in a pitch to get the attention of top Holiday Gift Guide Editors
How to find the right media contacts to pitch your product to
The five pieces of information you must include in your pitch to make it successful
Examples of successful product placements – and why they got in
And much more!
Early Sign-Up Bonus: If you’re one of the first 50 people to sign up, you’ll also receive a list of 10 Top Holiday Gift Guide Editors’ contact information. In addition to the contact information for the Editors listed above, you’ll also receive contact information for Editors from InStyle, People StyleWatch, Family Circle, and more!
Don’t miss out on this call and bonus. Sign Up Now. You Can Sign Up here.
Disclaimer: At the time this message was sent, all media had confirmed attendance. Occasionally breaking news and other business demands will lead to a confirmed editor not participating in the call.
Throughout the year, the media offers Gift Guides for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving and more, depending on the product.
As you might imagine, getting coverage in a Holiday Gift Guide is not all that easy. There’s lots of competition from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other P.R. and product companies that are also pitching gift products.
My new report can help! This is free to you, as a thank you for checking out my tele-seminar with Holiday Gift Guide Editors. You can get the report, Nine Tips For Getting Gift Guide Placements All Year Long, here.
After many years of publicity pitching, I’ve come to the conclusion that publicity placements in Mommy blogs are extremely cost-effective, and offer great sales opportunities for small businesses.
Typically, Mommy blogs refer to blogs written by women with at least one child, generally writing about topics of interest to Moms. Often these blogs will contain reviews and giveaways of products and services that will be helpful to other Moms.
Readers of these blogs are eager to check out new products and giveaways, and trust these Mommy bloggers to provide information on great products. This leads to more sales, and more positive exposure for your products.
The best part: for ONLY the cost of sending your product, and sometimes sending another product (if you are offering a giveaway prize), Mommy bloggers (assuming they like your product) will generally provide:
- A first-person, descriptive, positive review of your product (if they don’t like your product, they don’t post a review)
- Links to your ecommerce website that will generate more traffic, sharing and, most importantly, sales
- Traffic to social media sites (some reviewers will list your social media sites in the review)
The icing on the cake: Large product companies realize the value of Mommy bloggers, and work with them all the time. Yet Mommy bloggers are open to submissions from small businesses, and they have the same opportunity to get publicity coverage.
To learn about our upcoming tele-seminar featuring pitching tips from a panel of Mommy bloggers, and to sign up (we have limited space), visit us here.
If you want to get publicity for your product, here are the three steps you must take in order to succeed:
- Have a great product (and packaging).
- Find the right media contact and make a great pitch.
- Follow up.
The key here is knowing that if you don’t have a great product, steps 2 and 3 are useless.
What Makes a Great Product?
Most people underestimate the importance of a great product. That’s because if you make or sell a product, you always think it’s great. But what makes it great to the media is probably very different. Here are the qualities (the more features/benefits that your product offers from this list, the better) that make a product interesting to the media:
- Solves a problem in a unique way
- Amazing design
- Breakthrough idea – example: Quirky extension cords
- Works well, tastes great, etc. (In most cases the media will test out your product if they are interested in featuring it in a story)
- Colorful packaging / visually appealing – especially important for visual media
- Product ties into trends – organic/green, political, etc.
- Priced right – less than key price points ($100, $50, $25, $10) or priced high if truly a luxury item
Do These Products Pass the Test?
Here’s an example of a product from the February, 2014 Oprah Magazine “O List,” which offers monthly products that Oprah and her team love:
Example #1: Cleansers from Sapadilla — do they meet the media criteria for a great product?
- A truly new product? Yes
- Unique, breakthrough product? Not sure
- Tastes great / works great? I’ve never tried them, but I’m sure the folks at O Magazine did, and I trust them
- Colorful packaging / visually appealing? Yes; using different colors for the text makes the ordinary white bottles stand out
- Ties into trends? Yes; Healthy and Green
- Priced right – less than key price points ($100, $50, $25, $10) or priced high if truly a luxury item? Yes; priced under $10
Here’s an example of a product from the March, 2014 Woman’s Day Magazine “Under $20 List,” which offers monthly products from the WD team.
Example #2: Fig & Rouge Pomegranate Balm from BeautyHabit.com — does it meet the media criteria for a great product?
- A truly new product? Yes
- Unique, breakthrough product? Not sure
- Tastes great / works great? I’ve never tried them, but I’m sure the folks at Woman’s Day did, and I trust them
- Colorful packaging / visually appealing? Yes; the fun, nostalgic packaging actually helped land a place in this themed product roundup
- Ties into trends? Yes; A 100% organic, 100% pure, 100% natural skincare product
- Priced right – less than key price points ($100, $50, $25, $10) or priced high if truly a luxury item? Yes; priced at $9 – a “Little Indulgence”
Note to resellers: It’s important to carry products such as this one, that the media is interested in. Beautyhabit is a reseller, and has a winner with this product.
I hope these tips help you on your path to getting great publicity and subsequent sales! For more ideas on how to get great product publicity, check out my 12 Months of Product Publicity program, here.
Wish you had a magic wand to get great publicity coverage in O Magazine, Real Simple, the Today Show, and more?
I have good news! You won’t need one, because I’m going to show you how to get great publicity, using the easiest product publicity plan ever!
Join me for a live Webinar on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at 1 p.m. Eastern time (I’ll also record it), to go over the plan.
The Webinar is free, if you sign up for a free trial of my 12 Months of Product Publicity Program.
Your free trial also includes:
1. My Personal List of 10 Top Product Media Contacts and Pitching Tips, from InStyle, Woman’s Day, and more
2. Publicity Opportunities (from my own media contacts)
3. Fill-in-the-blank Publicity Plan Calendar
And I think you’ll like this, too …
Just for checking out my new program, you’ll get my brand-new list of 2014 Top Magazine Editorial Calendars. So you’ll know the best time and place to pitch your product — in advance.
Get everything here.
To start the New Year off right, I’m offering, for a limited time, a list of 2014 Editorial Calendars, free of charge.
It’s my gift to companies that sell products, for checking out my new “12 Months of Product Publicity” program.
You can get the Editorial Calendars here.
What Are Editorial Calendars? Editorial Calendars list topics and special editorial coverage to be included in each issue. This is extremely helpful in getting publicity for your product, because you can offer story ideas and products that tie into these topics.
Magazines included in my complimentary 2014 Editorial Calendars list include: O, the Oprah Magazine, InStyle, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, People Style Watch, Fitness, Ladies Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Traditional Home, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart Living, and more.
Just confirmed that client Pirouette, maker of perfumes, bath and body products, was featured in the January, 2014 issue of Romantic Homes.
One of my favorites, the Jasmine Musk Eau de Parfum, was featured.
Pirouette products are handmade in the U.S.A., vegan, cruelty-free and 10% of the company profits are donated to charity. The entire line of perfumes, soaps, lotions and gift sets are available at: www.pirouetteessentials.com.
Is your head spinning from all the changes in the Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media world? The team at Zable Fisher Public Relations has helped hundreds of clients over the past twelve years keep up with those changes and prosper, and we’d like to help you!
Learn what you need to do differently in 2014 to achieve and exceed your business goals, by joining us for a complimentary ***, interactive session, led by me (Margie Zable Fisher), of Zable Fisher Public Relations, on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the new downtown Boca Raton Library’s East Community Meeting Room. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
During the session, you will learn:
- The right social media platforms to use for your business
- The three types of products or services every business needs
- Ten marketing tactics every business should use
- Why I asked you to bring a donation
- And much more
*** Please bring a gift (that can fit in a shoebox) for a child from ages 2 to 17, for inclusion in our Girl Scout Troop’s “Birthday in a Box” program, to benefit kids at Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Hollywood.
Seating is LIMITED. Sign up here to reserve your seat.
The address of the new Boca Raton Library is 400 NW 2nd Ave., Boca Raton, FL 33432.