Shopping Links Blog

Stop Wasting Your PR Budget: Gift for Guaranteed Reach

March 05, 2018
Brand, Agency

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It’s a problem many marketers face: to generate awareness that resonates among your customers, you need to a part of organic conversations  -- especially as increasingly more online users are looking to peer reviews and endorsements before making a purchase. It’s not enough for your shoppers to see your advertisements. They need to hear about your brand from a trusted source. 

In the past, this has been the role of PR. Appearing as part of a magazine’s product guide or an online trend list was one of the few tools marketers had to reach customers organically. But as any marketer (or publicist) knows, PR is a time-intensive, resource-heavy tactic, and in many ways, it’s a labor of luck. No matter how good a publicist’s relationships are, or how compelling the brand story is, landing coverage often comes down to timing and which products happen to be top-of-mind as an editor sits down to write. 

Read More: PR vs. Influencer Marketing: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

This is why many PR firms have embraced influencer gifting. Although traditional press indeed can have a tremendous impact on overall awareness and brand perception, editor outreach alone doesn’t always produce enough results to justify the costs. Through influencer gifting, whether directly or through an agency, brands can mitigate the risk of overspending on PR by guaranteeing a return on their investment. Gifting also gives brands and agencies who have been successful with media outreach a way to continue receiving exposure when they’ve exhausted newsworthy angles. There are only so many relevant editors and publications a publicist can engage -- once a list has been exhausted, a brand isn’t likely to land new coverage until they introduce a completely new product or find a fresh news angle. Influencers keep the conversation going.  

Read More: How to See a Greater ROI with Influencer Gifting

Aquis Hair is a great example of a brand that has parlayed great press coverage into even more brand awareness with influencer Product Seeding. The hair-saving towel brand landed mentions in several publications throughout the last year, including WWD, New York Magazine, ELLE and Racked. In looking to secure new types of coverage, Aquis worked with Shopping Links to secure relevant influencers to continue the buzz, while helping the brand reinforce its core values. The campaign also helped the brand gain new traction across the US and Europe, with influencers posting from London, New York, Texas, California, Chicago and other key markets. By using our Product Seeding collaboration type, the brand was able to secure guaranteed coverage at less than $90 USD per influencer. 

Want to secure influencers for your own brand? Get $100 off your first Product Seeding collab. Click to get started

The bloggers represented a wide range of shoppers, from busy moms such as Alley of @lifeofalley, to New Yorkers on the go like Tricia of @happilyeverstyle. Where traditional press gave Aquis “expert” endorsements from beauty editors, these Instagram posts showed real, everyday people using the product in the same way Aquis customers would.   

Want more details? Get in touch for a demo, and we'll walk you through setting up a collab, step by step. 

By selecting niche influencers with highly engaged audiences ranging from 10k and 50k followers, the brand was able to gain insight into authentic customer reactions through saw multiple comments directly about the product. 

Read More: How to See a Greater ROI with Influencer Gifting


The brand was also able to repurpose the influencer content into shoppable posts on its own Instagram for an opportunity to earn immediate revenues from the campaign. In this example using content by Tienlyn of @thoughtful misfit, Aquis reinforced its “hassle-free hair” brand message while allowing its followers to click and shop without leaving Instagram. 


Tienlyn’s original post received nearly 1,100 likes and 50+ comments, including plans among Tienlyn’s followers for a girls’ weekend with matching turbans: 

Aquis also received multiple SEO-boosting blog posts from the campaign, a benefit we have seen with many of our Product Seeding collaborations. Although our Product Seeding collaboration only requires influencers to post on Instagram, we are finding that many include additional, complimentary pieces of content. These extra pieces, in addition to the simultaneous posts by other, similar influencers, add to another great benefit of gifting at scale, which is amplification. When 10 or 20 influencers within a particular niche are all talking about the same brand, it creates a buzz that’s impossible to ignore. 

Read More: Product Seeding 101: The “How To” and Benefits of Gifting at Scale

Finally, through influencer gifting at scale, you have the benefit of tracking your results by individual influencer over the same time period, allowing you to see which ones showed the strongest engagement. Whether you’re using these results to determine which bloggers to engage for larger-scale collaborations, or if you’re an agency and want to give your client deeper insights into the demographics most engaged with the brand, analysing results is as important as the coverage itself. We make this analysis easy by providing Collaboration Results for three months after a Product Seeding collaboration. 

Final Thoughts 

Traditional PR still has a role to play in a brand’s overall efforts to increase awareness and convey its core messages, but with so much of the tactic left to chance, relying solely on media outreach can risk wasting valuable marketing dollars. By working with your team to incorporate Product Seeding, or gifting at scale, you cost-effectively secure guaranteed exposure among the right audiences while creating a more sustainable way to keep the conversation going, even if you have been successful in landing relevant media coverage. 

We have designed our Product Seeding collaboration type as a way for brands and agencies to cost-effectively secure guaranteed coverage with an opportunity to land additional earned media. Starting at just $895 USD, brands or publicists can secure 10, 25 or 50 influencers with at least 10k followers on Instagram to engage for gifting collaborations -- no additional payments required. Influencers agree to post on Instagram and tag the brand within 30 days of receiving a product, service or experience, although we often find that bloggers will add complimentary blog posts or Instagram stories..Book a time with us to see how you can incorporate Product Seeding into your own campaigns, or drop us a line at to ask any questions. We’re always happy to help!