Sep 302011

This post is by Simon Worrall of CM Copywriters.

Each year, companies spend hundreds of millions on branded T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and pens. Go to enough conferences and you’ll amass terabytes of memory sticks and a wardrobe of T-shirts, hoodies, and caps.

Promotional products are also a way of making money. In 2008, Europe’s soccer elite scored around $800 million from merchandizing. And now online brands such as GitHub and Mozilla sell merchandize online. Most promotional products, though, are given away free.

20th Century Fox have done this in a clever and quirky way. They sent A.V. Club a faux-fox-tail tie to promote Fantastic Mr. Fox. “As promotional gimmicks go, it’s oddly appropriate, if a little sick,” said the entertainment publisher in a post discussing promotional products they’d received.

But not everyone’s use of promotional products is quite so fantastic. Do you really think promotional pens are churning out a strong return on investment? Spend $100 in giving away pens and sell $1,000 in products! The answer is a clear no: the recession hit the merchandizing industry like a punch in the face.

Not all promotional products quiver when they’re asked to justify the cost of being free; there’s one product that fries memory sticks, bursts pens, and shrinks hoodies. And, best of all, companies already have thousands stocked in their warehouse. It’s time they stopped buying branded umbrellas and started giving away their products for free.

Today companies must be more surgical with their marketing spend, and that’s where you can help. There’s never been a better time to get companies to give you their products so you can write a review. Provided you write honestly, and never promote brands blindly, you can become an important source of product information in your industry. This will bring new readers to your blog, and strengthen your credibility with advertisers.

Make your case

When online retailers give away their products, they want to measure results and get a tangible return. Your job is to convince them that you can deliver this.

The first point to make is that if you blog about a product, your followers will buy it. Best of all, you can deliver continuous sales results. There will be a surge when you first post the review, and then a stream as more readers find it in your archives. Be careful though. Don’t commit to writing positive reviews before you

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