Tips: Public Relations


Sabina Ptacin provides these tips on creating the pitch, pitching, following up, and what to do after you land some publicity.

Samples: Do Blogs and Websites Send Them Back?

Over the years, we've noticed that with the growing number of blogs, there is growing number of product and sample requests. Sometimes the blogger declares that they need to review your product in order to feature it. Sometimes they wil use it, so can't (or won't) return it. Sometimes it seems, these blogs just exist to get free stuff. In fact, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has recently amended its rules to include bloggers as media who need to include a disclaimer if they received free stuff for a review. So how can you tell who is legit, and what to expect from them? Who pays for sending the samples over and back to you again? Designer James Perse started charging the press for samples. So where do we stand now? We interviewed our own PR Director and Co-Founder Sabina Ptacin to get her take.

Sabina PtacinSo the deal is usually this: magazines and television programs will ask you to “send  XYZ over”. Because we are in a recession and because media is in a pinch, and because they are the power players, our PR team will 7 times out of 10 do the delivery (or clients do) themselves. This is expense #1 people should be aware of. If you are in NYC you can have an intern (or yourself) deliver it, or pay for a messenger. You can ask a magazine to pick up, but if they don’t volunteer it don’t be needy, just do it.  Often they WILL send back on their dime though. (*Note: make sure you give them your correct return info.)

In terms of sending samples, if it is make-up, food, a book, etc. don’t expect it back. If it is something someone has to use to experience consider that as well.  If it is apparel, accessories, baby toys, or other physical products and you are sending them to a magazine, and THEY request it, they should be returning it. You can even double check and make sure they aware you have limited samples and this is a returnable sample.
National television rarely returns unless it’s something expensive or one of a kind. Why? Because they have too much going on. With bloggers, it depends. Some see products as currency for reviews, and sometimes that’s fair enough if it’s a good blog. Other times, I let them know “this has to be returned”. If they say no, decide on your ROI (return on investment) and if it’s worth it to your brand before you send.
PS: The Oprah Winfrey Show ALWAYS returns my products!  Even after a YEAR.
PPS: If you send a sample without them asking for it, no matter who they are, don’t expect it back.

Online Press Clippings: Best Bets

What goods a press hit if you can't share it?  Media hits should always be saved in your website & media kit, sent out to leverage your press, and saved to show potential buyers.

Normally when a clip is in print we can easily scan it and put it on our site etc.  What do you do when that press clip appears online?  After trying numerous ways to do this quickly, efficiently, and at minimum to no cost to our clients, we solved the problem at Red Branch PR last year and I'm excited to share it with you:

Short and sweet, we now use the program "SnagIt" which snags web pages whether they be scrolling, a clip or window, or the just a screen shot.  Even better?  You can use a free trial for a few months so you're not spending any money and it's the easiest thing to use - even for an inept computer klutz like me!

Happy snagging!

Pitching Do's & Don'ts Chapter 1

Here at Collective E we remind you daily of how essential it is to reach out to the media and do little things to build your buzz daily.  That said there are rules when building media relationships, just as there are in regular relationships.  Today we'd like to share a few Do's & Don'ts that are guaranteed to help you on your quest to reach out to editors and producers, and hopef

How do you know if you are ready to have your product featured on a national television program?

Just this past week the producers at The View invited us to submit products for their program that would be included in both a segment as well as an audience giveaway.  We immediately received fantastic responses from so many of you, but also several questions, which leads to this piece of advice.  Here is what you must always be able to provide should national tv come knocking:

* Website - you must have a viable and professional looking website for the producers as well as viewers to find your product and find it quickly

*  Sales - you should be able to sell online with a working and easy to use shopping cart

* Support the Buzz - Your site should be able to support heavy traffic for the first day, as well as the rest of the week that your product was on television

* Product - Not only will you be responsible for giving the audience product (they rarely use gift certificates), but  you must be prepared to deal with high volumes of sales      without delay!  Audiences range from 150-225 members, and you will most likely want to gift the producer you worked with as well ( if they can accept gifts).

* Information - If the producers call you they will want your most recent product information, photos, and perhaps even a recent press release - have those all on hand before pitching!

* Positive & Helpful Attitude - Like it or not, even though you are giving the show a lot of product, THEY are the ones you should be thanking!  Thus be easy to work with, reply quickly, and never expect something, thus you will always be pleasantly surprised!  Even if you had a great call with them, until you actually see your product on the air, don't count your chickens before they hatch!  Be amicable, quick to respond, and don't get upset if they don't use your product or service, there is a reason they make all of their decisions and we cannot fault them.  Besides, you want to be sure you are the first person to call on when they need a similar product again!

Last thought?  GET OVER OPRAH!  Send your pitch, follow up, but don't spend every waking moment waiting for Oprah 's producers to call when you could be missing out opportunities at other outlets!

How to know when your pitch is a bad pitch...

When you are dealing with reporters there are sooo many "do's" and "don'ts" that  at times it's best to simply let others' examples speak for themselves. 

That's why many publicists and brands alike turn to where they can find examples of what DOES NOT work, and why.  You are also able to hear from those receiving the pitches why they don't work.  See this pitches on this site as examples of what NOT to do.

To visit Badpitch go to and check it out for yourself ( and your campaign) !


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