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Should You Offer Samples? A Guide to Why They Matter & How To Simplify the Process
March 11th, 2022
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Wondering if it’s worth ordering extra inventory to provide samples to the media? As any publicist will tell you: YES, fulfilling sample requests is worth it! Sharing your products with journalists provides them with an opportunity to use and enjoy the product while integrating it into their everyday routine, increasing familiarity with the brand and building a relationship with a potential new lifetime customer. 

Think of all those “I Tried It”-style headlines your dream publications are posting. This happens when journalists get to try the product—and enjoy the experience. In addition to potential digital or print press, when a writer likes a product, they’ll often share it on Instagram and introduce it to their audience as a new must-have. Win-win! 

Now that you understand why fulfilling sample requests is worth it, let’s break down the best practices for handling, tracking, and following up with editors throughout the process. 

Press Hook’s platform has streamlined the sample request process and journalists love the curated breadth of products easily available for sampling. Writers are able to filter and sort through various brand and product tags to find what they need for any story on which they may be working, and can then input a sample request or contact a brand for more info directly from a brand or product page. 

Here, our sample request dos and don’ts.

DO: Keep it timely

Once you’ve received a few sample requests, fulfill them as soon as you can. Journalists are typically working on a deadline and are requesting products to test for specific story angles. This is doubly true for short-lead and digital writers, as the story publication time is much tighter than long-lead.

Waiting days or weeks to receive a sample will throw editors off, and they might forget the story they had in mind when originally requesting. 

And if you’re a Press Hook brand, don’t forget to sign in regularly to review sample requests in your brand dashboard, approve them, mark them as shipped, and provide tracking information so the writer knows when to expect it to arrive.

DO: Send only what was requested

Editors request products for specific stories, and while you might think it’s helpful to throw in additional items or personal favorites, try to refrain and only include the products requested. Writers often receive product or mailers from multiple brands a week and don’t enjoy unnecessary, unsolicited clutter. 

General note: only send samples if an editor requests or previously approves receipt of product! Sending unsolicited product samples is a problem many journalists have taken to Instagram to call out—and not in a good way. Be sure to have a rapport with an editor before sending a new product. 

DO: Use the Press Hook feedback survey

Another seamless feature in the Press Hook sample request process is the feedback survey. Sent two weeks after shipping confirmation, the sample request feedback survey offers a general questionnaire for the writer to share their experience with a product. Journalists enjoy the easy submission, and can include details on potential story angles, timeline, or potential publications. The survey offers more targeted feedback by asking opinions on packaging, product, journalistic beat, and potential opportunities. Brands love candid responses and can utilize this feedback when making future decisions on products, launches, and beyond.