Getting on PR Firm and movie studio mailing lists and promoting the films they are publicizing has a natural and unexpected consequence. After doing exactly what you promise to do for a period of time (written about here: Paying your Dues with Film (PR) Firms) they begin sending you DVDs, Blu-rays, and other promotional swag you didn’t even ask for or request.
I worked for a long time when I first started out to getting on many movie studio and PR firm mailing lists (the process is written about here: How to Contact Film Public Relations (PR) Firms). That is absolutely the wrong thing to do when you start out 99% of the time. What you should be concentrating on is posting content and making sure your website is constantly updated, which encourages site visitors to come back daily. If you start out with a fabulous looking website with multiple writers in tow, you are in that 1% that can shave off time to get yourself on a few mailing lists since the site will be updated regardless of your attention.
As I said previously, I got on the lists and soon I began receiving unsolicited Blu-rays, DVDs, and other promotional materials in the mail. The question is: what do you do with them after they have landed on your door step?
Example Time Bitc…You!
One example of this situation is what I just received in the mail, the Blu-ray of Love & other Drugs. Since I didn’t ask for the film on Blu-ray to review and do not wish to at this time, I will give the film away in a Blu-ray contest. I will set what every goal I have for the contest through the entry criteria. I spoke of this in detail here: How to Create and Run a Giveaway Contest on a Website.
There are many options on how to deal with unsolicited DVDs, Blu-rays, and promotional materials when you receive them in the mail.
Giveaway what you receive in the mail to your current readers or readers you hope to attract through proper promotion of your giveaway (written about here: How and When to Promote Contests, Giveaways, and Sweepstakes on Twitter to Maximize their Pageviews). This rewards your readers for their loyalty and patronage. It also gives them a tangible reason to revisit your site.
Review the DVD or Blu-ray sent to you in the mail and post the review on your site.
Write an engaging story on it *ahem*. Write a fun post and tell your readers the swag you just recieved. I see these types of posts all the time. I saw them for TRON: Legacy, SAW, Wall-E, etc.
You could give them to your website employees as perks, put them in an office swag box, or give them away as work place incentives.
“…remained the Discipline of Steel.” – Conan the Barbarian, 1982. No matter what you choose to do with what your sent, one rule of thumb to live by is that you should always show the responsible parties that you did in fact use their unsolicited materials if you use their materials. If you have a contact person in the PR firm that sent you the item or in the movie studio itself, email them a link to your coverage (your post). I would suggest doing that the same day the post goes live but its up to you.
Unsolicited DVDs, Blu-rays, and promotional materials can be valuable to your website, your RSS Feed, the number of people following you on Twitter and Facebook if you leverage them properly. If you have read Battlefield: Earth, you know how valuable leverage can be. If gain is not your goal but fun is, you have options in that venue as well. The best part of unsolicited material is that if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You didn’t ask the PR firm or the movie studio to send it to you.