The Wrong Way to Give Product Samples to the Media

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You naturally want to give your product out to whoever will take it and put in a good word for you. But have you stopped to consider what the best way is to go about it? Shipping out your brand new miracle product is a great way to get some publicity, but you may find yourself getting burned if you don’t do it right.

Here are a few simple rules when sending your product out to journalists for review.

Don’t Skimp

Think you can cut corners and still get a great write-up in the paper? Think again! Sending out the bare minimum might actually cost you money in the long run. For example, let’s say your product for review is your brand new line of hot sauces.

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You’re so sure of your sauce’s ability to fire up the competition, you only send food reviewers one small bottle each. Unfortunately, the one journalist who did actually review it got a bad bottle. It opened during transport and soured. Now, the whole culinary world thinks your sauce tastes like gym socks!

So don’t skimp – send a batch of your product for the reporter to try out. One good tactic is to send them an extra for their own personal use. This way, even if their initial reaction is lukewarm, they may warm further after using it for awhile.

Make Sure to Ask

Do you appreciate receiving things unsolicited? It might be fun to get presents, but when those presents swiftly fill up your desk, it becomes a problem. Even more so if you’re not even supposed to get those presents in the first place!

It’s always a good idea to make sure the reporter you want to send your product to knows these items will soon be on their way. This prevents many things. For one, it stops you from wasting product when they throw it away. Also, it prevents you from getting a nasty letter or email telling you to cease and desist sending your hot sauce to a reporter who is allergic!

Furthermore, you may be sending your blood, sweat and tears to the wrong person entirely. While Tom Jones does review food, Bob Jones down the hall from him focuses on “extreme” products like hot sauce. Checking beforehand can verify who you should send your product to.

Include Info

Lastly, be sure to include updated and accurate information with your shipment. This includes not only info about your product but a small bio of your company and contact information.

The facts about your product should be rather extensive. If there are instructions needed, be sure to include them, along with any precautions. If you’re selling hot sauce, this would be to be careful when eating and don’t rub it in your eyes!

You should also include in the package a list of the items you’ve sent. This prevents confusion when something is left out or lost. If there is a requirement for the reporter to return the product, include full shipping materials as well as instructions.

Have you had success (or disaster!) sending out product samples? Tell us your story!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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Mickie, you always provide very relevant, very useful information. I have been in public relations for many years and I always learn something new and useful from you. Thank you.


While many media take product samples as part of their doing business, I would caution that the policy of other newsrooms is to refuse to take samples, gifts, etc. So you should be sure to know this in advance. Otherwise your sample ends up in the garbage.


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