1) Remove your preconceptions: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. It’s true, I’ve checked. You may get a free buffet every now and then but not without some sort of annoying person trying to sell you something. Similarly there’s no such thing as a free product, as no company in their right mind would want to give away something without a possible benefit.
2) Create your unique offer (U.O.): What this means for the prospective blagger is you need to find something that you can offer a company in order for them to give you something back free. In my case I offer to review any product that I’m sent for free but you don’t need a blog to get freebies, just an idea. If you, for example, love to eat pizza then why not contact a company that sells pizza? They’d probably love it if you gave them some product feedback. If you have more than 100 friends on Facebook why not offer to email everyone some product info? Or, if you live in a flat, why not offer to put up a product poster in your window? Anything’s possible and the more original your idea the more likely you are to succeed.
3) Do your research: To help you come up with a U.O. research your target company, try to understand what makes them tick and the markets they operate in. Mostly a quick browse of a company’s website and some news articles will be more than enough, but remember the more you understand a company the easier it’ll be.
4) Create your blagging persona: Once you know the company’s target market, then you must embrace it! If you’re trying to get something for free from a well-established, traditional company you’ll need to talk in a concise manner. On the flip side if you’re trying to get a skateboard for free then you’ll need to embrace a more casual persona.
5) Choose your medium: Phone and email make this blagging persona (blagging tip #4) creation even easier as you won’t even need to go to the trouble of dressing up to get free products. However, if phoning you’ll need to cram in a lot of information in order for the person at the other end of the line to understand your U.O. so it’s best to start slowly and to ask questions about the product before you even mention your U.O. Email is far easier as you can lay all of your cards on the table in one go (“I can offer you X, Y, Z if you give me A,B,C") but you’ll need to convince someone you’re not a trouble maker in the first line or that plan is over. The more traditional method of going up to people in shops is all but dead. Unless the managing director, or marketing director, happens to be in that day, and agrees to meet you, you’ve got no chance so that’s not really an option.
6) Initiate Contact: All set? Okay go for it. If you are using the phone jot down on a piece of paper everything you want to get across, and any interesting facts about the company. Brace yourself and dial. If you are emailing – check your spelling and facts.
7) The U.O. is King!: Remember blagging tip #2. Don’t forget to stress your U.O. or you’ll have the phone slammed down/email binned on you in a second!
8) The “freebie” stigma: Be warned as soon as the word ‘freebie’ is mentioned most companies will shy away so be sure to stress, as part of your U.O., that you can’t fully use the product unless it’s yours to keep. After all you can’t give them any benefits if they wrestle the product away from you!
9) Follow-up: Don’t be surprised if you think you’ve obtained a product, only to find two weeks later that your mailbox is still empty. Second emails / phone calls are often required to remind people you exist and that that you can still offer them some fabulous benefits if you can get your hands on a product sample.
10) Report back: Once you’ve got the product, be sure to act on your promised offer, let the company know your views and tell them about any benefits they have gained by taking you up on your U.O. This opens the door for future collaborations with the company and also ensures you don’t give me a bad name!
These blagging tips should help set you on your way, and for more helfpul advice read some of my other posts to see these tips used in different scenarios.