Reviews: A Simple Guide
A couple of people have asked me lately about product reviews; how you get the product, what you write for the review, etc. So I thought I’d write a little blog post about it. More and more bloggers are being offered products for review these days, or are looking to get into reviewing products. But how do you get a product for review, and what do you do once you’ve got it?
How to Get Products for Review
- First things first – only review products that fit your blog. If your blog is about health and fitness, don’t write a review of a fast food restaurant.
- If you’re a parent blogger, signing up to Tots 100 can be a good place to start. Not because they necessarily hand out a lot of review opportunities, but because once you have a Tots 100 badge on your blog, you will have a place in their ranking each month. This, along with things like your Klout score, the number of Twitter followers you have etc, can be a good thing to mention if you’re requesting products for review.
- Bloggers Required is a great place to start; they post review opportunities for all sorts of different things, and you can “pitch” for things. I’ve got lots of reviews this way.
- As your blog becomes more established, make sure you have a good About page with details of how to contact you. Keep it updated with relevant information about you, and make sure you mention that you are keen to review products. That way PRs who are looking for someone to review their product are more likely to email you. Similarly, keep your Tots 100 profile and profiles on other sites up to date.
- If someone sends you a product to review, always maintain a good relationship with them. Responding promptly to emails and getting reviews up in good time may well lead to more opportunities from the same person/company.
- Another good thing to do is take a regular look at Twitter hashtags #journorequest and #prrequest. You’ll often find people on there looking for bloggers to review their products.
- One thing to bear in mind is that you don’t need to be given a free product to review; you can just review something you’ve bought and is relevant to your blog. This is something Kip Hakes has been doing for years, and I think he’s right about people being constantly on the blag for free stuff.
- That said, if you really like the look of a product, and would like a free one to review, there’s no harm in contacting the company in question to see if they’ll send you one for review. I signed up to do a series of posts on Yahoo Contributor Network before remembering that I didn’t own a reliable sports bra… so I contacted a couple of companies to see if they would provide one for review. You’d be surprised at how many companies are open to working in this way nowadays, and really the worst they can say is no!
Testing the Product
Writing Your Review
- I’ve seen “reviews” where people have clearly blagged themselves a free product in return for a review, and their post consists of “look, here’s X product… I got sent one… you can buy it here” with no information as to what they thought of it, whether it was fit for purpose etc. Although to a certain extent people will be providing you with things just for the link you’ll put in your post, also spare a thought for your readers!
- Think about what you would want to know about a product. For me the main things are the cost, and whether it’s worth that price. Don’t be afraid to say “It costs this much, and I wouldn’t pay that for it” but back that up with a reason as to why you wouldn’t pay that much.
- If you got the product through the company’s website, mention how easy it was to do that. One of my most-read reviews is this one of Vistaprint photo books, where I mentioned how many extras they try to get you to buy when you’re checking out.
- Always make sure to include a disclaimer, stating the terms of the review. I usually say something like I was provided with this product free of charge in exchange for a review, but this was not dependent on my writing a favourable review. It’s important that your readers know you weren’t just given this thing in exchange for advertising it. And if that was the case, you need to let them know that your post is an advertisement rather than a review.
- If you’re not sure what to write, or how to say something, it’s always worth looking at reviews on other blogs to see how they’ve gone about doing things. Obviously don’t copy them, but using other blogs for inspiration is a great way to get those creative juices flowing. Make sure the words and opinions are your own though; if you find that another blogger reviewed the same product and didn’t like it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write a positive review if you did like it!
- Always try to include a good photo of the product. If it’s a toy, I also try to include one of the toy being played with, and with clothes I take a photo of S in them rather than just flat on the floor.
Adventures of a Novice Mum
Thanks for a detailed and helpful post. It's definitely important to remember that people read reviews to help them decide whether to buy a product on not and as such bloggers have a responsibility to offer their honest opinion on products, especially ones they're given for the purpose of reviewing. Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted...My 2015 #Gratitude List Wk 2
Useful stuff, Vicky. I've never tried doing product reviews, though I sometimes wonder if I should get into the Amazon affiliate program, since I end up linking to books from their site fairly frequently. But I didn't know anything about BloggersRequired, and it was good to look that over; also Kip Hakes' post was definitely worth a read. And I thought the only annoying people on Twitter were the ones constantly telling me to buy their book. ;-) Paula recently posted...BHAG or be SMART, Creatives? The Answer is Yes
I do like doing product reviews but I am hoping to soon jump into the world of vlogging. I think if I was reading a review i would like to click on a video of the product to actually see it in action or from all angles. Thanks for linking up #FlashbackFriday Michelle Murray recently posted...Oops I've Become An Online Shopper