Open topic for discussion: Why I don't sell my PR Product SamplesSaturday, July 11, 2015
Just the other day in an event, a beauty blogger friend of mine were in deep discussion about if selling PR samples were a GO or NO GO. She and I share the same no-go opinion about selling products we have received to blog about. Again, I am not here to judge, that decision lies entirely up to you. After discussing this with my friend, I felt that it's a good topic to open up! So let's, shall we?
Let's discuss more after the jump!
When I started blogging 6 years ago, I never expected that brands would notice my work. I bought products with my own money, using the products on myself and my clients so that I can make a review. When I started attending events as the beauty editor for MegaStyle.ph that's when I started getting PR samples and brands started sending me products.
For my love for makeup and skin care, I used them all alternately, and for products didn't really work out too well on my skin, I would give to my friends and family to try.
I admit, after blogging on and off for 6 years, I have become a bit overwhelmed with the amount of products I receive on a daily basis, not to mention those sample products I receive from events -and the need to occasionally “clean closet” is a must to avoid expired wasted products.
When I first started blogging successfully (that moment when you realize brands start to notice you and your blog and have started sending you products) I asked other of my beauty blogger friends what their take is on selling PR samples they received and the answer was always the same: No!
So what you may ask do I do with all those products? Specially during the holidays when brands really send you tons of products. I trade with my other blogger friends or I donate products as prizes when my family plays bingo. Some products I bring with me when I have dinner with my friends and give them away so that they can try them, having said that, selling just seemed unethical to me.
- First of all, if your main goal is to blog solely to get free products with the purpose to sell them later on, then better quit while you're ahead. Blog about products because you are genuinely interested and have a passion for that topic. Avoid making compensation as your main goal, otherwise, your blog will go quickly as it came.
- There is a growing number of blogs out there and it increases more by the
minutesecond! The reason why these blogs become popular and really successful is because they are passionate about blogging and they don't do it to get free stuff (or well maybe they do, but not for the reasons you think). Companies are getting more and more selective on who to send products to. Not every company has the resources to spend on sending samples. When they do send me products, they are making an investment. If I am only after the free product, then these companies might not want to work with me.
- PR Samples sent to me have a specific purpose. They are meant to be used and reviewed by me on my blog so that others who turn to the world wide web for advice before they purchase can know more about their product and be considered to be purchased. I mean if I were given a night cream, can I really review that product in just a single use? My readers will know if I am being truthful in my review, and these companies rely on me to give a very fair and detailed feature of their product.
- I understand that you may receive some products that are not suitable for you. I have received a lot of foundations that are not my shade in the past so I trade them with my blogger friends who would want to switch, if I am unsuccessful I would contact the person who sent me the product and ask if I can switch to a shade that is more suitable for my skin so that I can make a proper review/feature of their product. They will appreciate the effort and more likely will want to work with you again, and be more selective when it comes to sending you stuff. Some will even get in touch with you first before they send you another product!
- I feel that I have been given a sample because a brand feels they can build a great blogging relationship with me. Brands spend a lot of time and money sending me promotional products and they are after my opinion, my approach, and my expertise both as a makeup artist and beauty addict! Being a passionate blogger has made me some sort of an expert by now on beauty (so I would like to believe after working in the beauty industry for 11 years).
- I don't misuse their trust in me by selling their products as I might never hear from that company again. Remember, repairing a damaged reputation is hard!
- Readers recognize if I am just selling a product. Posting stock photos of products and just copying and pasting from a press kit is not reviewing a product. So if your reviews contain no information at all about how the product works, then you lose your audience and your sponsors.
- Imagine if the norm was that each blogger a brand approaches would sell the items they receive. People could end up fighting for the items with the highest value regardless of what their audience wanted to see in their blog or what it would bring to their blog.
- I treat my sponsors like family. Even if we only get to work once on a project together, I make sure that during that time, we build a good working relationship. It's fun to make new friends right? Besides, how would you feel if your friend made a profit with the gifts you send them?
- I know my readers spend their hard-earned cash on my recommendations from the reviews I post, and as a consumer myself, I hope that fellow bloggers are doing those reviews in an honest fashion. If you are a blogger and you start raving about a product you love can win big points with a brand, which is really awesome as long as you’re being real – yes, they may send you more samples and want to work with you on more projects, but what isn’t cool is faking these relationships dishonestly for the purpose of making big bucks from selling those obtained samples.
Although I do understand that we can’t keep all of our product samples, and that there are only so much creams we can use at a time. And God knows how much eyeshadows you have given away before they politely and subtly tell you to stop offloading your samples to them (but seriously, who would turn away to free makeup?).
But there are so many other things you can do with samples that don’t involve compromising the your friendship and blogging relationship that make up the blogging world. There are plenty of ways to sanitize the make up you’ve swatched, which are barely or hardly used – it’s just about thinking outside the box in terms of who could benefit from them. Maybe you have a friend of a friend who aspires to become a makeup artist? A makeup artist friend who is freelance? Send some lipsticks his or her way and see how they can use them! There are literally endless opportunities to make use of used/swatched samples!
I love trading with my fellow bloggers! But for me, the best way I share my products is having a raffle or a giveaway on my blog! It's the best way to help brands spread the word about their new product and for them to try it out before they buy!
Happy Sunday everyone!