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How to get your products featured in Sunset Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide

For product-based businesses, getting featured in a major magazine's holiday gift guide can be a game-changing opportunity. Not only does it offer priceless brand exposure, but it can also lead to a massive sales boost during the biggest shopping season of the year.

One of the most coveted editorial placements is the Holiday Gift Guide from Sunset Magazine.

As one of the leading lifestyle publications in the Western United States, Sunset has served up inspiration for home, travel, food and gardening for over 120 years. With a rate base of 1.1 million readers across 13 states, scoring a spot in their annual holiday issue is a holy grail for brands looking to get in front of an affluent, trendsetting audience.

Sunset readers are typically upper-income homeowners with disposable income to spend on quality products that fit their upscale yet casual aesthetic. They eagerly await each year's Holiday Gift Guide, turning to the magazine to discover unique items for decorating their living spaces, entertaining, traveling, pursuing outdoor adventures, and cultivating a life of leisure and appreciation for the Western lifestyle.

For businesses whose products align with Sunset's brand identity and editorial focus areas, being included in this guide can introduce your offerings to a massive new audience practically guaranteed to appreciate them. It provides valuable third-party validation and coolness by association with one of the trendiest magazine brands around.

While getting featured in Sunset's Holiday Gift Guide is no easy feat, it's an opportunity worth vying for due to the potential payoff. With a bit of strategic preparation and persistent outreach, your products could land in the hands of over a million readers looking to treat themselves or find the perfect gifts for loved ones. Those kinds of impressions are invaluable for driving brand awareness and sales.

If you're ready to take your product business to new heights this holiday season, follow these tips to increase your chances of being included in Sunset's must-read Holiday Gift Guide.

Understand the Magazine's Brand

First and foremost, you need to make sure your products are a good fit for Sunset's brand identity and readership. The magazine celebrates “the premium Western lifestyle” with a focus on home design, travel, food and entertaining. Their readers are typically upper-income homeowners with disposable income to spend on quality products that enhance their living spaces and leisure activities.

Your offerings should align with Sunset's upscale yet casual aesthetic. Think items for entertaining, outdoor living, home decor, gardening, gourmet cooking, travel gear and wellness products. Trendy but timeless pieces with a touch of rustic elegance tend to do well.

Take a close look at the magazine's recent issues, as well as their past Holiday Gift Guides, to get a sense of the styles, color palettes and price points that resonate.

Understand the Types of Products Featured

To increase your chances of being included, it's crucial to understand the specific types of products that Sunset typically features in their Holiday Gift Guide. Some of the most common product categories include:

  • Home Decor & Furnishings: Stylish yet functional pieces for indoor and outdoor living spaces, such as furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics, and decorative accents with a rustic-modern aesthetic.
  • Gourmet Food & Beverages: High-quality, artisanal edible items like olive oils, vinegars, spice blends, cocktail mixers, specialty foods, and gourmet gift baskets that appeal to home cooks and entertainers.
  • Gardening & Outdoor Living: Tools, accessories, and decorative elements for gardens, patios, and outdoor spaces like planters, fire pits, garden tools, and nature-inspired home goods.
  • Travel Gear & Accessories: Luggage, bags, apparel, tech accessories, and other items for jet-setters exploring the Western U.S. and beyond.
  • Wellness & Self-Care: Candles, bath products, skincare, fitness gear, and other items promoting relaxation and rejuvenation.

When curating your pitch, think about how your products fit under one or more of these themes that resonate with Sunset's readers. Highlighting your brand's story, quality, and alignment with the magazine's lifestyle values can also help you stand out.

Start Your Outreach Early

The Sunset Magazine Gift Guide is one of Sunset's most popular and lucrative issues every year, so you'll want to get on the magazine's radar as early as possible. Editors typically start requesting product submissions as early as May/June for the November/December holiday issue that hits newsstands in late October.

Don't wait until the last minute to throw your hat in the ring – get your pitch materials ready by late Spring. Editors are inundated with submissions, so the early bird often gets the worm when it comes to scoring those coveted gift guide spots.

You can use a PR Platform like Media Leads to find contact information and deadlines for Sunset Magazine editors (as well as thousands of other journalists and media outlets).

Send a Compelling Pitch

When pitching your products, you'll need to craft a brief but compelling pitch that immediately grabs the editors' attention and makes a strong case for why your items deserve to be featured. Highlight what makes your products special, giftable, and on-trend with Sunset's readers' interests and lifestyles.

Start with a concise, benefit-focused overview that explains why your products would appeal to the magazine's audience and how they fit into Sunset's editorial focus areas. Identify which specific sections or themes like home decor, travel gear, outdoor living, gourmet food, or wellness your items align with.

Provide detailed product descriptions that go beyond basic specs to convey the inspiration and brand story behind each piece. Describe premium materials, craftsmanship, unique design elements, and any special features that make your offerings stand out from the competition.

If your company is based in the Western United States, make sure to mention this in your pitch and emphasize how they capture the Sunset aesthetic and ethos.

High-quality, eye-catching product photography is absolutely essential for your pitch. Invest in professional photos that showcase your items from multiple angles against clean backdrops. Lifestyle shots depicting your products in use can also help editors visualize how to style them for the gift guide. Imagery is hugely influential for Sunset's visual-first brand.

If possible, offer to send free product samples for the editors to experience your items firsthand (but don't send samples unless the editor specifically asks for them). This can give you a major advantage over brands who only provide photos and descriptions.

Before submitting your pitch, review it carefully to ensure there are no errors, typos or inconsistencies. Make sure to also include a link to your website, as well as pricing information, with your pitch.

Crafting a polished, visually compelling pitch is key to capturing Sunset's attention amidst the flood of submissions they receive.

Follow Up

The reality is that major publications like Sunset receive countless pitches every year for their gift guides and other editorial features. With so much competition, you may not hear back after your initial pitch, but that doesn't mean you're out of the running. Persistent yet polite follow-up is key.

Don't be afraid to send friendly reminders every 1-2 weeks to keep your products top of mind with editors. However, there's a fine line between persistent and pushy that you'll want to carefully navigate.

When following up, always aim to provide something new or exclusive that adds value beyond your original pitch. This could include:

  • Updated product photos or lifestyle imagery showcasing your items in new ways
  • Supplemental product details, brand stories or inspiration behind new pieces
  • Offers to send additional free samples for hands-on evaluation
  • Suggestions for creative styling, pairings or use cases the editors may not have considered

You can also try to re-emphasize how your products align with the specific sections, themes or reader interests the Holiday Gift Guide will likely cover. Remind them why your brand is such a good fit for Sunset's aesthetic and audience.

Throughout your follow-ups, maintain a friendly yet professional tone. Don't let frustration seep through if you haven't heard back – editors are simply inundated during this busy period. A brief note expressing your continued enthusiasm can go a long way.

If you still haven't received any response after 3-4 follow-up attempts spaced a couple weeks apart, it's likely time to move on for this year. But don't get discouraged! Editors often keep promising brands top of mind for future opportunities. Your persistent outreach helps build brand awareness.

The key is striking the right balance of persistent yet respectful follow-up. You want to continue providing value while avoiding anything that could be seen as pestering or intrusive. With a strategic, polished approach, you can greatly increase your chances of getting products included in this valuable editorial feature.

In Conclusion…

Getting your products featured in Sunset Magazine's Gift Guide requires strategic planning, a visually compelling pitch, and persistent yet polite follow-up. While it's a competitive process, the potential payoff makes it well worth the effort.

Scoring a spot in this prestigious editorial feature can introduce your brand to over a million affluent readers primed to appreciate your offerings. It provides valuable third-party validation and can lead to a massive sales boost during the critical holiday shopping season. For many businesses, it could be the exposure they need to take their growth to the next level.

If you're ready to go after this golden opportunity but want extra guidance, sign up for our free online training: “How To Get Your Products In Front Of Millions Of Shoppers By Getting Featured In GIFT GUIDES (Year-Round).” This on-demand training offers advanced strategies for crafting a winning pitch, building valuable media relationships, and standing out among the flood of submissions major publications receive each year.

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