The producers of media gifting events are always on the hunt for new brands to participate. As a result, it’s not uncommon for brands to be approached throughout the year with opportunities. Similar to a celebrity gifting suite, these events offer brands valuable face time with influential editors and media, for a fee. Editors get a “one stop shop” of curated companies and an easy way to gain multiple story leads. These suites are often clustered around popular gifting and shopping events like the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day as well was Earth Day and Back to School.
While the opportunity to pitch multiple editors at the same time, without having to send out a million pitches sounds appealing, the cost can be significant. In my experience, sometimes media gifting suites are worth the cost to participate (and the required product to give away), but the ROI isn’t always there, especially for smaller brands.
The next time you get pitched on a media event like this, consider the following:
1. Are the media attending relevant to my industry?
Some events try to appeal to a multitude of brands and press, going after those who work in everything from food and wine to fashion and beauty. While some brands may find unexpected success with a publication outside their vertical, it’s more likely to see a return when the event caters toward editors from publications you know have a strong alignment when your brand. If you have an all-natural skincare brand, an event that promises beauty editors and wellness bloggers is worth looking into – one that lists technology editors may not be worth the effort.
2. What results can be expected?
The companies who throw these events make their money through participation fees, the editors pay nothing to attend. Before signing an agreement, get a sense of the type of typical results brands similar to yours have experienced in the past. Get a feel for how selective they are – the best ones won’t accept everyone who can pay. Request case studies and even ask to speak to someone who participated previously. You want to get a sense if this particular media gifting suite consistently sees positive outcomes – ie press placements – come from their events. There are no guarantees with anything media related, but all the brands who participate should at least see a bump in editor interest through sample requests or media inquiries in the next several months to a year after the event.
3. Will we have category exclusivity?
It’s not typically a great idea to be lined up next to a ton of similar brands. If possible, ask for exclusivity and at a minimum, you’ll want to at least know if other brands in your space are a direct competitor. There’s nothing wrong with presenting next to like-minded companies (and can often be a benefit – editors love trend stories!) but it can get sticky if there’s a brand in the same niche space with similar pricing and story.
4. Are there other benefits to participating?
Some gifting companies won’t give out editor contact information, but you should receive a list of attendees. Ask if the gifting suite company includes social promotion, a photographer or post-event images you can use. Do they offer any post-event outreach? Make sure to ask about any/all extended benefits and take the opportunity (as a paying customer) to rely on the expertise of the gifting company to what you are entitled to before signing any paperwork.
Final word: Don’t be afraid to negotiate cost
If the price point you’ve been quoted is beyond your current budget, know that everything is negotiable, from the fee itself to extras like additional promotional signage or ability to have more than two people presenting at the table. You’ll never know unless you ask!