As we edge closer to the end of the year, one of the things that many content creators finds solace in is the Holiday Gift Guide. It’s no surprise that it’s popular either. For one, it benefits your audience by helping them with their own wishlists (or finding a gift for someone else). It’s also popular because of how it enables working with brands. There’s also the fact that it’s relatively easy to put together – you pick things that you love and put them together as a list. But despite all the things that a Holiday Gift Guide has going for it, so many creators don’t do them well.
As such, today we’re creating Creator Hype’s Holiday Gift Guide Guide! This guide contains all the tips and tricks for developing an effective and useful Holiday Gift Guide… one that your audience will say to themselves “Wow, that sure was helpful!” and not “Wow, that sure was a list of things brands sent them in the last two weeks.” So make sure to check our list more than twice, avoid the naughty and include the nice!
The Holiday Gift Guide Guide
Only Include Things Your Audience Will Love
If you’re creating a gift guide, it should go without saying that the items should be things your audience may love. Too often, we’ve seen niche bloggers include things that have nothing to do with their audience. Hey, we all would love a new TV, but if your audience is there for makeup – perhaps stick with makeup? You build trust with your audience through a content niche – stick with items they trust you on.
Don’t Include Hard to Get Items
Make sure that anything you put on your holiday gift guide is something people can actually buy. Limited edition items are amazing, but they often sell out. If your audience can’t buy it – you’re not being very helpful.
Make Sure the Picks are YOURS and NOT Just Brand Pitches
The holiday season has PR and Brands on rapid fire mode. This means you’re likely going to get a ton of pitches that include ‘gift guide suggestions’. While some of these are helpful, don’t make your list of whatever brands pitch you. Way too often we see Holiday Gift Guides that read like they’ve been written by the PR people themselves. While it’s nice that a brand or PR send you something – you’re under NO obligation to include it on your list. If it’s legitimately good, great – include it. But don’t do it because they sent it to you. Your responsibility is to your audience first.
Don’t Put Your Guide in Gallery Format
To get more page views on their ads, many digital publications started creating Holiday Gift Guides in a gallery format. DON’T DO THIS! It’s the most annoying way to display a list. When it comes to your user experience, you want your list to be easily viewed. Having to load a new page for each gallery item is slow and frustrating.
Include Links to the Product
Your audience is looking to buy things, so make it easy for them to do so! If you don’t have links to the products, you’re making the experience harder for your audience. If it’s on Amazon, include an affiliate link (disclose this). Make your audiences lives easier.
Be Realistic with Your List ($ vs $$$$$)
When creating your guides, be realistic financially when deciding what to include. While we all want a new car or a $15,000 piece of technology – no one reading your blog or watching your video is going to buy that. So don’t include them – they don’t fit. While it may make a PR person happy, that’s not your responsibility.
Don’t Forget Charity
You have a platform that reaches people – yet too few content creators use their platforms for charitable causes. In fact, we’ve documented cases where content creators only do something charitable when they are being paid. Gross. Give back to your community by including a charitable option in your gift guides. It can be as simple as linking to Sick Kids Hospital!
Curate Multiple Holiday Gift Guides for Specific Niches
While creating a single holiday gift guide is acceptable, some of the best are where the content creator gets very specific. They take the time to break down their audience into hyper-niche focuses. That makes those guides feel personal and helpful. It’s also great for generating organic traffic, as most don’t take the time to get so specific. Definitely on our wishlist to see more of!
Make Sure Your List is Mobile Friendly
2017 web traffic is dominated by mobile devices – so make sure that whatever you do, it’s visible on a 5″ screen. If you’re taking images of your gift guide, consider that screen size when deciding on what pictures to use. This is where we can see the ‘gallery’ style used properly. But make sure it’s the popover style gallery and NOT the ‘load each page to increase total page views’ style.
Give Your Guides Some Meat
Too many holiday gift guides end before they begin. At the very least, include a dozen items. But, we’re going to recommend 20-25 being the ideal depth. Think about the most successful ‘Gift Guide’ in history: The Sears Wishbook (RIP). The book contained thousands of products all grouped into niches, so each page contained 20-30 specific items. A page for leather jackets. Another for new board games. One for winter hats/gloves. A page for remote control cars. When you create a deeper guide, you give your audience more to look at and more things to consider. Those affiliate links also get more chances to be clicked.
Don’t Half-Ass It
Last and not least – don’t half-ass your holiday gift guide! If you’re not already thinking about them (it’s November 9), then you’re not properly planning them out. Posting something hastily is never a good idea. So take the time to think about what you want to recommend! Draw out what you envision it looking like. Then do it!