Best Approach for Distributing Media Product Samples

We have developed 300 new product sample kits for media.  The kits feature everything the media needs to test the new product.  How should we go about distributing the product kits?


By Jennifer Manocchio

Since you have invested in developing these product review kits, you want to ensure they will have the greatest impact among both media and consumers.  In order to do that, first determine what markets you want to target.

If the product is only available in select markets, start by targeting media in these markets.  The media is more likely to write about product available at their local stores.  If media decide the product is worth covering, it can help drive retail sales.  Additionally, retail buyers like to see that you are supporting product sales in their markets.

Also, consider any long-lead consumer and trade magazines.  If you know your product will be available nationally in the near future or if it is available online, national media will consider testing or writing about your product.  It could take up to 6 months for a national magazine to cover the product; therefore, start that process as soon as possible.

Once you determine the markets, the second step is determining what media within those markets to target.  Certainly you’ll want to start with media that will be interested in the product and media that will reach as much of your target audience as possible.

While it may seem obvious to start with the newspapers, magazines, blogs, web sites, television and radio stations that reach the most people, don’t forget about niche media.  For example, consider you are promoting a DIY product.  While regional home magazines might have a lower circulation than a daily paper, don’t overlook those publications because the majority of the people reading a regional home magazine are likely your target audience.

After you have developed your target media list, start by contacting the media (by phone, email or both) and determining their interest in receiving a product sample kit.  We highly discourage sending unsolicited product samples because it can be a big waste of time and money. Product samples could be shipped back to you or media could simply toss your package in the garbage.  While it will take more time to contact the media, the results will be better.

Following product distribution, contact the media again to ensure they received the materials and to answer any questions they may have.  This will also give you an opportunity to gauge the interest of the reporter and whether he or she plans on writing a story.

Distributing product samples to the media is a process and requires time and attention.  However, if you are taking the time and money to develop product review kits, it is definitely worth the investment to ensure you are targeting the correct media and the media has confirmed they want to test your product.

Launching a new product and want media coverage?  Contact me at jennifer at or 910.772.1688.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.