As PR professionals, we play a huge role in gaining media exposure for our brands. One of our favorite parts of the PR process is assisting editors and stylists with the amazing photoshoots we see in magazines, on TV and social media! We keep an assortment of samples (styles of products that are loaned for media opportunities) that are constantly coming and going out of our office. See below for a step-by-step guide for how to check out samples plus some useful tips to keep in mind!
Step One: Make a plan
Every media opportunity is unique – we’ve helped out with cover shoots featuring celebrities, photo shoots for seasonal styling guides and everything in between. Because of this, different types of samples from client(s) may or may not work best. One thing to keep in mind is the types of samples you are looking for before you begin the pulling process. For example, samples in neutral or darker colors work perfectly for fall fashion photo shoots whereas a pastel tassel earring may work better for the spring. Some stylists and editors are very specific and will make a selection of categories (rose gold layering pieces, velour apparel, etc.) while others are more flexible. It is important to keep all relevant details in mind so that you know exactly what you are looking for.
Step Two: Start pulling!
Next comes our favorite part of the sample process – pulling great options for the request! Pulling samples is a great way to get creative while being involved in an exciting media opportunity for your client. Be sure to pull a nice assortment of each category to give each the brand(s) you work with a great opportunity to be featured in the media opportunity. When we are pulling jewelry, we like to include rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets in a variety of styles, colors and sizes. We’ll throw in some great layering options as well as a few statement pieces depending on the opportunity and like to include the newest products from our brands. Don’t include too many samples (unless requested) that aren’t a fit – sometimes it is quality over quantity!
Step Three: Organize & check out
There are different ways that PR pros keep track of samples internally to ensure that everything is accounted for and the last thing you want is a client wondering why something was lost! Whether you use an online database like Sparkle or an excel spreadsheet, staying organized is what is most important. We like to separate samples by categories, check them out and then place them in clearly marked bags to make it easy for editors to review what they receive. When we are checking out jewelry, we will check out earrings while placing them together in a bag marked accordingly, then necklaces, rings, etc. This also helps you make sure that you are including a great variety of options for the sample request!
Step Four: Package it all up!
After you’ve checked everything out, you are ready to package the samples to be sent out to the editor. We like to make samples look like a nice little present – we include decorative tissue paper, candy and a hand-written note wishing the editor good luck to show that each request is handled with love! This is a great opportunity for PR pros to stay on-brand as a company and also their clients. It can be great to include any informational materials for your clients when applicable, like an exciting new product catalog featuring some of the samples they are receiving.
It is always important to stay organized and let your creative juices flowing to pull together a great assortment of samples for media opportunities. After being a part of the sample process from start to finish, it is so amazing to see a brand’s product showcased beautifully in a spread! What are some of your best practices when pulling samples? Leave a comment below!
President & Founder
Liz got her start in the corporate public relations department at Coach, the major American fashion brand, where she oversaw regional press and events. In time, Liz segued into the fast-paced agency world, moving to a boutique firm specializing in fashion accessories. In early 2009, with her passion, talent and eye for irresistibly chic and stylish designs, Liz set out on her own. She founded her fashion PR firm, Mariposa Communications, to provide unparalleled services to a selection of designers, whether established or on the rise. Liz currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, 2 daughters and their dog Mackie.