In our experience, most newspapers, magazines and online publications run competitions and giveaways on a regular basis.
Before contacting the person who organises these, who is often the marketing coordinator, check what they have run recently and see what the prize level is. It is usually set at a certain level, so if this is $1000, you'll see perhaps five product giveaways valued at $199 each, or if it is a more expensive product, one or two being given away.
This will prepare you in advance to know how many of your products you will be required to provide should they be interested in your product. If your product is a low value item, such as a food item, then consider adding other relevant and more expensive products to increase the unit price. For example, we took our client's Butterfingers shortbread and created a hamper with two expensive bone china mugs and packs of tea and coffee, which made an attractive, higher value package. We arranged for a hamper company to make it up for us and add colourful finishing touches.
Then it's time to contact the publication or website and discuss your offer. You often won't get a "yes" straight away, but will need to provide a high resolution photo of the prize along with a short story about the purpose of the giveaway, which should tie in with a newsworthy or seasonal event.
Obviously you want to target the media that relate to the product being promoted. For example, the Butterfingers hamper giveaway was run in "Food & Drink" columns/pages. And another giveaway program we have just completed for Heatstrip outdoor heaters was run in "Home & Garden" supplements.
Some metro daily newspapers are moving to an integrated online and hard copy offer that involves advertising and editorial, which is a totally different offer. You don't have to do this. Look carefully for other straight giveaway opportunities; they are out there and most would welcome what you have to offer.
Finally, make sure you have the product or package ready to be sent. Some publications prefer to have the prizes in their office before they run the promotion, others are happy for the prizes to be sent to the winners after they have been drawn.
"Decide in advance how much product you are prepared to give away and how much you want to spend on the total project."