Guest Post – What Really Happens When You Get A PR Sample and How To Better Work with PR’s

Life has been very busy lately with the run up to Christmas and a very busy day job, so the blog has got a bit neglected, and luckily for me Laura came about just at the right time offering me a guest post! Laura writes at six out of tenan online lifestyle and travel magazine for those with a serious case of wanderlust (but whose feet remain firmly in one spot). She works in travel communications, loves candy floss and salted caramel, and plans to live in Bora Bora one day.

We all want them. The little freebies that are a tiny, tiny reward for all the promotion and advertising we give our favourite brands, hotels, and eateries for free. For the hours we spend writing, then rewriting, editing and reediting. For snapping away with our camera come rain or shine, light or no light. For the creative input we put into our little space of the web.

But what actually happens when you get a PR sample?

I’ll explain.


You’ll approach the PR, or the PR would have found your blog through one of her channels. Perhaps she’s been following you on twitter via a secret list, or maybe she saw a comment on another blogger’s post. She likes what you write, how you write and what you’re going to be writing about. You exchange stats – she gives you an estimated value of what they can offer, and you provide details of the coverage and reach she can expect.

You talk about her KPIs (key performance indicators a.k.a how she proves to her client they’ve got value for money in investing in you), and she’ll probably ask what you’ll be providing in terms of content. One blog post? Two? Social coverage? Bringing a blogger friend along?

The PR will then go to the client. Let’s call the client Hotel Macaron. The manager of Hotel Macaron will have a look at the blogger’s work. He’ll discuss with the PR and executives the likelihood they’ll get a good ROI (return on investment) should they offer you a room, and if all looks good, the review will be arranged.

The PR will then pass on the details you need. A room will be reserved as per usual, et voila! Sorted!

How to make her job easier: Try not to be too fussy about dates, and if you can only stay at a weekend  be sure to suggest a few dates out of peak season/local events.


Following the same pattern above, the PR and restaurant this time will need to weigh up whether you’re given a free-for-all (as in order what you want from the menu), if you’re given a limit such as a main and bottle of house wine, or if you’re given a tab up to the value of £xyz.

The PR’s aim is to push a certain angle the client wants coverage on. Perhaps a cafe has just hired a new barista and their coffee art is a hipster’s dream, or maybe the barman’s just won an award and she’ll want you to showcase their award-winning cocktails. They may have a seasonal menu crafted by the chef they need to promote.

Again, the PR will go to management, and they’ll decide on the details. They’ll also more than likely give the PR a few days and times to book you in – this usually coincides with the waiters and staff who’ve been briefed on working with bloggers before and won’t spit in your soup.

Once it’s arranged, it’s just up to you to arrive and (hopefully) enjoy!

How to make her job easier: Try to book a quiet night, when staff aren’t too busy and can run you through the menu. Offer to speak to the chef, too. Always a plus.

Beauty samples

This works a little differently, as usually the cost is a lot lower. A hotel or restaurant will cost time, and more importantly, space – if you’re in their bed at night, it means a paying customer isn’t.

However, a moisturiser might cost £90 from your dermatologist’s clinic, but it’s nowhere near as expensive to buy in and there’s bound to be plenty of them from the supplier. So they may offer you a choice of product, or give you one item from the range. Again, the brand may feel sales could do with a boost, or it could be part of a new line.

The brand itself might arrange which product and get it sent out, however more than likely it’ll be you and the PR working together.

The way this works differently is because she will more than likely be given, say, 20 samples to distribute to bloggers over the course of a few weeks. If you’re one of them, she won’t even need to speak to the client, she’ll get it sent out based on her instinct – she’ll be aware of you and your circles, your reach, and her own KPIs. She’ll then present an overall performance report based on the coverage that group of bloggers.

This is why if your stats look good on the outside, it’s fairly easy to get a beauty review. Most of the time it’s about getting masses of coverage. Think: Apocalips.

How to make her job easier: Show examples of previous brands you’ve worked with, and give a date when the review will be live by. She’s working with a lot of bloggers, you NEED to stand out if you want to get into her contact book.

Remember, at all times a PR is accountable to her own manager, and the client. The client might offer a review, then decide they don’t want to work with that blogger any more. They may have found a blogger has already brought in the business they need, so their funds are best allocated elsewhere. Or they might just be an awkward nightmare and never reply to her emails and calls.

A PR is the middle (wo)man between you and a brand who doesn’t want to do the dirty work. Make her job easier, and you’ll have a friend for life. Promise.

If you enjoyed this post make sure you check six out of ten out – there’s many more great posts like this!

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