Best Practices for PR Packages: Paid vs. Gifted

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Studies have revealed that creator recommendations have influenced 81% of consumer spending habits, while 69% prefer brand recommendations over traditional advertisements. When optimizing your marketing strategy, your business can take two approaches: paid collaborations or influencer gifting programs. Not sure which path to take? No worries – read ahead to learn the ins and outs of each strategy and how each can elevate your PR packages.

Defining Each Approach for Your PR Packages

Before you solidify your PR package, let’s cover the basics. 

Influencer gifting involves brands sending products to niche creators in exchange for a social media shoutout. CPG brands have found success with gifting programs by prioritizing engagement, sales, and brand awareness on TikTok and Instagram. Gifting programs are helpful when a brand wants to generate user-generated content through unique, trendsetting creators. Content examples include Instagram and Snapchat stories that feature the product, unboxing videos, or health and wellness posts.


Shoutout to @impact.snacks for having innovative packaging. 👏 #gifted #ecofriendlyproducts #ecofriendlypackaging #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #eco

♬ Beachside – E66S

Bound by legal agreements, paid collaborations require influencers to promote your brand in exchange for free products and compensation. Sponsorships require influencers to maintain tight communication with the agency to meet the brand’s requirements. These collaborations allow more room for revisions, resulting in higher-quality content and increased compensation. Sponsorship examples feature dedicated videos showcasing the product or be included as segments within longer videos.


#cleanseyourskinweek #isitcake #everythingiscake @LaRochePosayUS

♬ original sound – inaecakes

Influencer Gifting Benefits


Unlike sponsorships that require deliberate budget planning, gifting programs are budget-friendly ways to manage surplus inventory. Limited marketing budgets can make it difficult for smaller brands to collaborate with big-name influencers. Gifting programs enable startup brands to cultivate niche communities with nano or micro-influencers. Here’s a piece of advice when deciding which influencers to look out for:

  • Nano-influencers: Nano influencers have a following between 1k and 10k followers. They have a niche, loyal audience that actively engages with their content, but they don’t have a high reach potential when compared to bigger-name influencers. Despite this, nano-influencers are a cost-effective choice for brands dipping their toes in a new niche.
  • Micro-influencers: Micros are a step up from nanos, typically having a following between 10k to 100k followers. These influencers have higher reach potential with relatively high engagement rates. However, micros generally require higher compensation, which may limit startup brands from engaging multiple candidates for gifting programs.

Authentic Reviews

Gifting is a hassle-free option that doesn’t require contracts, creator negotiations, or strict content guidelines, allowing creators to get creative when showcasing your product. Influencer audiences often find gifting posts more authentic since creators aren’t bound by brand guidelines. 

These posts create excellent UGC content that can be reused in future campaigns. Authentic gifting programs build community by encouraging interaction with creator posts and reviews. These reviews can be more constructive, which will help develop trust between your brand and its consumers, ultimately boosting your brand’s reputation.

Flexible Agreements

PR gift packages offer flexible agreements that allow small influencers to affiliate themselves with brands they love or those that match their interests. Gifting introduces influencers unfamiliar with your brand to a taste of what your business has to offer. Startup brands with tight marketing budgets leave little room to dabble in different influencer niches. Gifting programs, however, allow small businesses to test the waters for future collaborations.

To incentivize higher-quality UGC content, create small gift bundles that showcase a variety of product samples. A beauty influencer will be more motivated to upload authentic tutorials and challenges with high-value bundles that allow for creative freedom. 

FTC Guidelines for Gifting Programs

By now you might be familiar with Federal Trade Commission guidelines. If you need a refresher, here are some things to keep in mind when creating influencer gifting programs for your PR package:

  • Disclosures are Required: The FTC treats influencer gifting programs and sponsorships the same. If an influencer endorses your product, they must disclose their affiliation with your brand. Influencers can say, “Thank you [brand] for sending me this product” or use hashtags like #ad #gifted to ensure messages aren’t lost in translation.
  • Be Concise: The FTC recommends avoiding abbreviations to prevent confusion. While not a requirement, it’s better to be safe than sorry when maintaining transparency in your partnership.
  • Disclose Affiliate links: If you give influencers an affiliate link, they must inform their audience that the influencer earns a profit from these links.

Collaboration and Sponsorship Benefits

Content Guidelines and Heightened Reach

Because both parties are contract-bound, brands can expect creators to follow specific content guidelines to ensure their posts are on-brand and convey the brand’s message accurately. This may require influencers to submit drafts for proofreads and revisions. When asking for revisions, don’t limit the influencer’s creative freedom! Creator-based ads typically outperform traditional marketing ads, so following these steps can broaden your reach and increase post impressions.

In some cases, creating sponsored content might be easier for creators. Why, you might ask? If brands provide clear instructions and guidelines, influencers have a solid outline to follow. This transparency allows influencers to produce more content without sacrificing quality or spending too much time on one specific post.

High-Quality Content

Fair compensation encourages influencers to create higher-quality content. While more costly, larger influencers will seek long-term partnerships, so ensure you compensate them fairly. Check out these six ways to compensate influencers at this NeoReach blog!

Professional Relationship Building

Formal contracts enable detailed performance metrics to guarantee campaign success. If your chosen influencers genuinely love your brand, sponsorships can lead to future partnerships since they are already familiar with your values and goals. For influencers, partnering with agencies can elevate their careers and inspire new, innovative content that boosts your visibility and solidifies your PR packages.

FTC Guidelines for Sponsorships

A general rule for both gifting programs and sponsorships is to always disclose your partnerships. The FTC holds both brands and influencers accountable for transparency. Failure to disclose can result in fines and suspensions, so if you’re unsure whether something needs disclosure, disclose it anyways!

This article was written by Briana Borik

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