When it comes to media gifting, there are lots of unspoken rules and etiquette. From the method of pitching to what is actually included in the package, it’s essential to carefully craft a sampling strategy using curated PR packages and consistent messaging. As a Los Angeles PR agency, we’ve been perfecting the approach to media sampling for nearly a decade. We have seen firsthand a massive return on investment when it comes to media coverage. Here’s how to get the most out of your efforts with sample sends.
Avoid Cold Sample Sends
Unless you’re one of the biggest brands in the world that every reporter is trying to get their hands on, surprise, unsolicited sample sends are extremely risky. Reporters are often sent hundreds of welcomed PR packages for stories that they’re working on, so when they receive one they weren’t expecting, it often gets lost in the shuffle or simply ignored. Even worse, many writers find cold sends to be wasteful. Instead, it’s better to simply send an email to the reporter you’re thinking of and ask if they would be interested in trying your products. Chances are, if it’s within their beat, they just might say yes!
Keep the Package Simple and Focused on the Products
The days of big, flashy PR packages are fading in the distance, especially for newer brands and smaller businesses. Many writers would prefer that the packaging be easy to recycle or reuse and have more products to try. For example, even if you’re launching a new product, it can be helpful to still send a few of your other hero products to go with the box. That way, they get a better sense of your product lineup, and still get to try the new one. It’s always a good idea to include a handwritten thank you note, along with your contact information. If you have any informational cards with more product or brand information, that can be great to toss in, too.
Always Follow Up With Tracking and Delivery Updates
Once the package is sent, give your contact a heads up that the package is on its way. This email should also include the appropriate tracking number and expected delivery date. That way, they know when to look for the box. Once delivered, check in after a few days to ensure they received it, saying you’re excited to hear their thoughts. If your product is something they have to try out for a long duration, such as skincare or vitamins, loop back in a few weeks. In that message, you can check in and see if they need refills or have any questions. Remember that sending samples isn’t just an opportunity for them to try the products. It’s also a great gateway of conversation for you to build better relationships with journalists.
Be Patient, and Remember a Sample Send Does Not Equal Guaranteed Coverage
As with everything in earned media, journalists can never guarantee coverage in exchange for samples. Not only does that go against their journalistic integrity and morals, but it’s sometimes impossible for them to predict when a story fit may arise, especially if your products are more niche or specialized. However, if you did your homework, they accepted the sample, and your product is high quality, you have a great chance of coverage when a story fit does arise. With that said, don’t “over follow up” and email them every week asking if there’s a fit. Oftentimes, we’ll see media coverage come through months after sending samples, so it can take time for sample sends to pay off. Be patient, and stay respectful and helpful to your media contacts for the best chances of coverage.
Ready to start sending your products to media? Learn more about media relations here, or reach out to our Los Angeles PR agency and we’ll take care of it for you.