Don't Send a Naked Sample, and Other Rules about Mailing Products & Media Kits


We've been taught since we were young not to judge a book by its cover.  Unfortunately when sending out anything from your media kit to a sample, that's often exactly what happens.  Because of this, there are certain rules you must always follow to be sure that a) your product gets to exactly where it's going, b) people know what it is and all the information about it they need and c) that they get the best feeling about your brand possible, and want to share that feeling with their readers/viewers/listeners.  Even in a recession you can accomplish all three, and here's how!

A) Be sure your product gets to where it needs to be: 
Never send an unsolicited product. Just don't. Well do if you want to annoy an editor by clogging their desk, or never see it again.  If you are happy to part with a product feel free to send it off, but know that if there isnt' a recipient on the other end expecting it you will most likely never know what happened to it, if they liked it, or where it disappeared to.  Instead, simply research the outlet and send your sample or media kit to your contact when you have already alerted them to its impending arrival and they expect it.  Just imagine if every day you received 3-5 random packages to your office.  Multiply this by 5 days a gets ugly.  I once new a producer who went to Barnes & Noble every week to return books, DVDs, and CDs he didn't want.  Learn your lesson!

** also when you do send a requested package, write on it "Requested Product" or "Personal"

B) When you send your package to somebody other than a member of your company, whether it be a Tin Shingle team member picking it up for a press interview or a producer or editor who has already reviewed your pitch, talked to you, and requested it, don't send it NAKED!  A naked sample is a sample without the following:

Typed cover letter personally signed by you

Typed list of what is in the package and the retail prices of the items

Look Book & Line Sheet of all your products

A well presented product

Contact information as to where they can reach you with any questions

** most of this can be presented in your media kit/folder but the cover letter should be on the outside of any folder or kit, visible.

C) So here's where we get to the judging a book by its cover.  If you are sending a product to any major magazine, television program, or even blogger looks do matter.  The product world is a competitive world and merchandising and presentation from website to media kit to product delivery means EVERYTHING.  If it shows up looking a "hot mess" the feeling about your brand will be "hot mess".  If no one can figure out what it is, who it's from, how much it is, or what other colors and styles it comes in very easily they will move on.  Remember that when you send out a package, the moment it leaves your hand it must speak for itself.  The last thing an editor wants is for you to call to see if they received it and to have to chat iwth you about what was in the package.  So be sure it shows up looking like a great symbol of your brand and is easy to read and understand.

D) How to do this inexpensively?  It's not hard.  Start simple:  Go to Staples or a anywhere you can get office supplies and buy some inexpensive yet durable folders.  Create labels on your computer with your companies logo on them and print them onto nametag stickers.  Then place the sticker on your folder - Voila - a media kit folder that is branded to your liking.  **Choose a folder that's your brand's color - bonus points!  Then put all of your media information in there from line sheets to look books.  Place all of it in a nice looking bag (also inexpensive) that you found online or at a wholesale card shop (you will need several).  Be sure your product is placed in well and won't spill out or fall all over the delivery bag.  Also make sure the product is wrapped well, presented well, and will stay in one piece.

Those for steps really are all you need to know to be sure that delivery to your desired media contact is well dressed and ready to shine! 


Thank you for the tips on sending out samples.
I would also like to learn what is needed to include in a presentation package.What should a cover letterinclude/ what is a book and line sheet--a brochure? etc. thanks Sue Pikal ceramic pendant artist Clay River Studio