It seems a little bizarre mentioning the festive season right now. After all, we’ve just started to see a glimmer of summer weather (even from the reaches of our Newcastle PR office!), and we’re busy dreaming about holidays. However, most monthly magazines work up to three or four months in advance. Therefore any brand pushing a product for expected Christmas sales needs to be proactive and pitch for product placement from July.

By making sure your brand is prepared for the festive season well in advance you can ensure you get the best shot at appearing in those all-important gift guides. Here, the Tonic shares its top tips.

Be organised: As well as magazines working several months in advance, there is a mountain of work that goes into Christmas gift guides. This means that the deadline is brought forward a few months. In order to get ahead, brands need to outreach now. If you wait until the actual festive season to hit, you’ll have missed the boat.

Take the news to them: Be proactive in identifying who your priority media targets are and take special care researching every last detail. You need to know where each is based and who the key contact is. As many journalists are office-based, take the news to them and meet in their office. Having an event in an outside location which they have to travel to doesn’t always work.

Showcase your product: Arranging a meeting with your key media is no small feat, so make sure you really use the time wisely. Take a wide selection of good quality items and leave some behind as gifts and reminders for the journalists.

Give the journalists everything they need: The days of carting round piles of paper documents are well and truly over, but the concept is still alive. Make sure you give the journalists everything they’ll need by taking all imagery, background information and press announcements on branded USB sticks.

Maintain relationships: After you’ve met the journalist and built a relationship the hardest part is over, so make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste by keeping it alive. Provide the journalist with regular insight and news, but be careful not to pester them too much as it can come across as pushy.

In summary, for long lead media, the secret to securing valuable consumer PR coverage is to plan ahead. And at The Tonic, we’ve a stocking-load of experience in generating strong product placements on behalf of our clients. Check out our One Direction case study for one example.

Mince pie, anyone?