Essential Blogging: Sampling Etiquette

Accepting press samples, especially in beauty, is an essential component of product blogging.  However, many bloggers are confused by proper sampling etiquette. To help make navigating product reviews easier, we’ve provided a few simple guidelines.

  1. Create a sample acceptance policy.  Whenever a sample for review is offered to you, direct the pr representative to your policy so you both are on the same page.  Your policy should include information that covers if samples will/will not be returned, the stipulations for a product to be reviewed, and that you reserve the right to not review any product submitted.
  2. Be honest.  When reviewing a product, it’s best to be honest.  If you didn’t like the product, say so, but also realize that just because a product wasn’t right for you doesn’t mean it won’t be right for someone else.  If you think that the product is something your readers might enjoy, turn the negative review around by contact the PR representative to see if they would be interested in offering samples to readers in a giveaway.  One gal’s dud is another woman’s life saver! 
  3. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  If you dislike a product so much that you can’t find a positive aspect, keep your integrity and your reader’s respect in tact by not reviewing the product.  If you feel so strongly about the poor quality of the product, consider dropping a line to the PR representative and letting them know how you felt.  
  4. Giveaways are tricky. Offering up a product as a giveaway to your readers is a slippery slope.  After all, you wouldn’t want to offer them a sub-par product that you have yet to test.  Consider making it your policy to test all giveaway products as well.  Keep your standards and your quality high!

Do you have any additional tips to offer? Leave them in the comments!

    5 responses to “Essential Blogging: Sampling Etiquette

    1. I think that these are great tips and that once receiving the sample, reporting the feedback, etc – it’s always good to keep notes and follow back with either a future post or a way to say thank you. Every holiday season, I send hand written cards out to those that I have their addresses to so that they know I appreciate working with them. This isn’t me asking for anything but just acknowleding our relationship and it’s such a nice and unexpected thing to do. Other times I will mention them within a post tying them in even when I didn’t have to. Alerting them to this is always something that makes them pleased and lets them know that it’s not a one way exchange with you!

    2. Sarah, thank you for Amy Vanderbilt’s book of Sampling Etiquette. I have lost sleep over trying to figure out how to deal with a product that doesn’t suit me but would suit somebody else. This helps immensely.

      Kimmie, what a wonderful way to say thanks. Amy Vanderbilt would kiss your blog for that!

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    5. Sarah, these are some great tips.
      Would you happen to know where I could find a sample of a “sample acceptance policy”?
      I’m having trouble trying to figure out how to put one together.


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