As a PR and marketing agency, we’ve seen the world of PR evolve significantly along with consumer and media habits. We’re now fully immersed in a world where we are conscious of our footprint and as consumers, are demanding more sustainable products. So what about sustainable PR practices?
In PR, we send products to journalists and influencers left, right and centre. So how can we make this more beneficial for the environment?
Sending your products to media, and influential people is a vital element of a strong public relations campaign. Though it has long been a part of what publicists do, the act of PR send outs has gained wider attention, and then criticism, with the rise of beauty Youtubers and Instagram influencers sharing their insurmountable piles of free product with copious amounts of packaging.
Let’s start by discussing why publicists send out product and the benefits for the brand.
Receiving the physical product cuts through the mess of emails and DMs that a journalist and influencers receive daily. While it can be easy to disregard (or not even open) a pitch email, receiving something in the post makes them pay attention.
Morally, it is important to most people that they try a product themselves before recommending it to others. Not only is this a great chance for you to prove that your offering is high quality and effective, it is also a way to ensure that when people do mention your product it comes across as more authentic. They will have real experience with your brand that they can discuss and put across to their readers or followers, this will be far more influential than a simple product listing from someone who has never tried them.
But what about those piles of PR we see plastered across the internet?
More recently, we have seen calls from editors and influencers that they are receiving more product than they could ever possibly house, use or deal with. While it can definitely be a great PR tactic, product send outs can easily become overwhelming and wasteful when people receive too much.
The packages begin to become like the emails, there are too many to deal with and they become easy to ignore, which defeats the purpose of the send out in the first place. Not only is it a waste of the brand’s product, it is an unnecessary plight on the environment.
So, how are we combating it?
We work with our clients to create a product send-out strategy that works with their budget, product levels and their PR goals. We prioritise quality over quantity and do not encourage the sending out of product to every man and their dog. Instead, we create targeted lists of people who are likely to enjoy, benefit from and cover the send out.
The key to not being wasteful is making sure the person wants the product before you send it. Reaching out via email, pitching the product and gauging their interest ensures that you are only sending to people who are genuinely excited to receive it. Not everyone will want the product and that is okay, it is better that they never receive it in the first place than a brand wasting their time and money shipping something only for it to be thrown away.
By creating a dialogue and keeping in close contact with influencers and media who love your brand, you can develop a genuine relationship with them. This will help you understand how often they want to receive product, whether they need to receive absolutely everything you want to send or when you can predict they will need a restock of your products. This will help you be able to nurture these relationships without wastefully sending copious amounts of product.
PR send outs or media drops are an integral part of your marketing mix. However, they can easily become wasteful if they are not conducted with purpose. Like everything we do, it is all about the strategy, creating a plan that will achieve your goals without unnecessary wastage. If you want to work with us to produce a PR strategy for your brand, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.