Why Reviews are the cheapest marketing you can do

Dec 24, 2020 9:27 pm


Here's why you should give away expensive products (to the right people).

Welcome to the weekly Content Marketing email that gives you real, actionable advice, often from the media's point of view, to help you expand your reach, grow your audience, and sell more of whatever it is you're selling!

Hello Content Creators!

Last week, I used our recent Editor's Choice posts on Bikerumor as a content marketing example. And I promised to explain why sending your products in for review is one of the most cost-effective ways to market it. So here we go:

Let's say you have a product. Maybe it's an expensive product...let's say $500 to $2,000.

Maybe you're hesitant to send 10 of those out to editors and influencers because *gasp* that could add up to $5,000 to $20,000. Maybe more!

That's a lot, sure, but...

What do you think it would cost to:

  • Buy a four-page spread in a magazine?
  • Buy a feature story on a major website?

If you don't know, simply request the media kits from your favorite media. Or just call their sales people. And get a rate card from the relevant influencers, bloggers, etc. They'll all vary, but it'll probably range from $1,000 to $20,000 per placement.

What?!? Why?!?

Yes, ad and advertorial placements are expensive. It takes the media a lot of hard work, money, time, and energy to build and maintain our audiences.

(This is also why brands shouldn't try to become media companies, but that's a big topic I'll cover later)

Which is why earned media is so valuable... because ads are things we charge you to place, because we're really selling access to our audience. But a review (aka "earned media) is press coverage and exposure that you don't explicitly pay for.

But there's always a cost. And that cost could be your product, so budget for it.

Fortunately, your actual cost on a $2,000 product is probably much closer to $500, maybe less.

Or just host an event.


You know what media are suckers for? Free food and beer.

You know what else? Trips and experiences.

And guess what? That stuff is usually cheaper (sometimes by a lot) than running proper advertising, but it's often enough to earn a solid story.

That photo above? That's from Knoxville. We've published two huge stories on riding there, posted tons of social media pics, and continue to praise their trails and food/beer scene.

Their total cost for hosting us on two separate occasions, including food, hotels, and production fees? Easily under $5k.

Granted, I'm probably (definitely) underpricing our services on Bikerumor, but the point is this: A similar feature story (one, mind you, not the TWO that we've written) in something like Travel & Leisure or Bicycling would easily top $10k. Likely much, much more.

The economics are similar for hosting a product launch event. You'll cover flights, lodging and meals. But if the product is worth the time and effort from the journalist to attend, you'll likely get a similar high-value story out of it.

For smaller items that don't justify our time away from the office, host a breakfast or lunch at an existing event. Or a happy hour. Don't skimp.

It's just another way of looking at the numbers.

And that product you sent in for review? Write it off as a marketing expense. Unless it's an extremely high value item, just let us keep it.

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A Recent Content Project


Remember that Churro Maker I mentioned in last week's newsletter? It's a super cheap item that probably shouldn't have ever been sent to me. But now I've mentioned it twice here, and it'll get a nod on Bikerumor, too.

So, to illustrate the point above, what do you think this coverage is worth compared to the cost of sending out a $24 utensil?

Now imagine the type of story we'd do for a higher value, high interest item (here's an example). Because we media folks usually feel obligated to write a story about the things brands send us, especially if there's a conversation between us prior to arrival.

And extra-especially if we have a good relationship with you and your brand.

So, yes, you should send out your expensive items for review. Just take the time to build your relationships with us before you want to send something out and expect a big feature review. And talk to the person reviewing it before you send it and make sure they're on board for reviewing it.

Happy Holidays!

That's it for this week, thank you for taking time to read these. I sincerely appreciate the feedback some of you have sent, and a huge thank you for sharing these with your marketing friends...that really means a lot to me, and it really helps!

Happy Holidays, everyone!


Tyler Benedict

PS - Forget a gift for your favorite marketing friend? Forward this to them and just let them know you were thinking of them! Because it's the thought that counts, right?

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*Any items, services, or products mentioned in these emails are provided solely because I think you'll like them. I don't sell this space, but some links might be affiliate links, which earns me a small commission (beer money, really) if you buy something. This helps support all the free content. Thanks!