Breaking into Product Reviewing

become-a-product-reviewerWhat do you do when you want to buy a product - whether it be a new pair of jeans, a blender, or a baby carrier?

I do two things:

  1. Check the ratings on Amazon.
  2. Search "[product name] blog" on Google.

I do that second step because I love to hear the authentic, honest voices of bloggers.

  • I like to see those jeans on someone who is not 5'11" and 100 pounds.
  • I like to see what that mom next door is making in her new blender.
  • I like to see a real baby's head peeking out from behind the carrier, smiling.

I tire of sleazy ads and fast-talking salespeople. I want the real deal - the whole enchilada. Pros and Cons. Pictures. Etc.

If I read a genuine review, there's a good chance I'll shell out my hard earned cash for the product. If the product is being reviewed and endorsed by a blogger I already read and trust, that chance increases exponentially.

And THAT, my friends, is why product reviewing is "big business" these days - for bloggers and for brands. Companies will often send out samples of their products without batting an eyelash because - to them - it is small potatoes. On the flip side, bloggers receive the advantage of trying a new product, becoming an expert, and sharing their inside experience. In most cases, it's a win-win for both parties.

It's no surprise then that bloggers everywhere are channeling the power of their personal networks and their powerful presence online and becoming go-to sources for in-depth, personal reviews.

Perhaps YOU are a blogger that is watching all of the fun and fanfare from the sidelines - and you want to jump onboard?

mom's-guide-to-bloggingI encourage you to check out my ebook - Bloggertunity: A Mom's Guide to Blogging. The book includes a whole chapter on how to break into product reviewing, including my "top secret strategy" for getting products to review. I also share tips for writing riveting reviews and I answer commonly-asked FAQs.

Like this one...

Q. I just started my blog. When can I start reviewing products?  How many readers should I have before I approach companies?

A. That’s a great question…and a tricky one! I started querying companies pretty early on, but only after I had established some solid content and a significant following of readers. I don’t think there is a magic number per se, but it is probably safe to assume that smaller items will be easier to obtain than larger, higher-priced items at first.

When you are first starting out, your best bet is to join review networks*** and add your name to PR lists. That way, you will be sent relevant campaigns that are a good fit your demographic and your current audience.

***NOTE: My book includes a list of review networks that you can join or apply to.***

WANT TO READ MORE AND BUY THE BOOK?

For the next 48 hours, you can get 30% off. Just use coupon code REVIEWER before Saturday, November 7, at 11:59 pm. Buy the book here.

AS AN ADDED BONUS, anyone who buys the book before that deadline will be entered to receive one of these three prizes (anyone who has already bought the book will be automatically entered into a drawing). Yes, there will be THREE winners!

Check out these mouth-watering prizes:

edible arrangements fruit bouquetA Delicious Fruit Design Bouquet with Half Dipped Strawberries by Edible Arrangements (regular size; $75)

When you want to send a thoughtful gift that is healthy and makes the recipient happy, be sure to browse the beautiful bouquets at Edible Arrangements.

Made with fresh, premium fruit and delivered nationwide, the bouquets are sure to make a memorable and much-loved gift for anyone.

And don't forget the youngest of recipients! Edible Arrangements also offers arrangements for kids...sure to make any kid smile. And what parent ISN'T going to be happy about their child receiving a whole bunch of cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, and grapes?

heidi's heavenly cookies deliveryA $35 Gift Certificate to Heidi's Heavenly Cookies

With flavors like Toffee Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road Eclipse, and Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon, these aren't your ordinary cookies! Homemade and baked with love + care, Heidi's is a homegrown Georgia-based business with appeal to the masses.

The delectable cookies arrive in gorgeously wrapped boxes. Ideal for business gifts, thank you gifts, and more.

crumbs bakery shop bestseller packBestseller Collection Taste Pack by Crumbs Bake Shop ($24; 12-pack)

Featured on the Today Show, Crumb's cupcakes are anything but ordinary. The LA and NY based shops feature over 50 varieties of cupcakes including Oreo, Red Velvet, Cappuccino, Caramel Apple, Chocolate Pecan Pie, and - the one I would order if I went to the shop - Peanut Butter Cup.

Isn't that Taste Pack awesome, by the way? 12 mini cupcakes for $24. That is a totally fun gift idea for a team of teachers/nurses, a college student and roommates, or a mama with a big family.

Want to order something off the site right now? Enter discount code CRHS15 for 15% off your order (through Nov. 30).

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One more thing: I hate leaving people out (I was always the girl in school who talked to the wallflower or introduced myself to the new kid) so I have a giveaway for everyone - even if you don't or can't buy the book.

auntie anne's pretzelsAnyone who comments on this post before Saturday, November 7th, at 11:59 pm will be entered into a contest to receive a $5 gift card to Auntie Anne's Pretzels. I know it's a teensy prize, but won't it be fun to pull out that card from your wallet next time you're at the mall?

So, chime in. Say anything. If you want, you can answer this question...

YOUR TURN: When you are going to purchase a product, do you turn to blog reviews? Why or why not?

P.S. Don't forget that you have 48 hours to enter discount code REVIEWER to get 30% off my book.

*UPDATE* The winner of the Edible Arrangements bouquet is Cara A. The winner of the gift certificate to Heidi's Heavenly Cookies is Sondra N. The winner of the Best Seller Collection Taste Pack by Crumbs Bake Shop is Melanie J. The winner of the gift card to Auntie Anne's Pretzels is #5 Melissa.

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19 comments on “Breaking into Product Reviewing”

  1. I am actually a reviewer of fruit baskets and provide my visitors with additional coupon codes to save money. In the next week or so I'll even be adding photographs of the different fruit baskets in a picture comparison. The internet and blogs has really made it possible for people to expose the difference between what is actually shipped out versus what the picture looked like online. I've read that 70% of people are now reading reviews before making their final online purchase. Feel free to visit my site at http://www.fruitbasketreview.com

  2. Yes, I do look up blog reviews. For their honest opinion, but also because companies will give temporary % off codes - love that! It's two great reasons to read the blog post about a product. :)

  3. I trust blog reviews, read them , and often buy. The only problem I have is not knowing how to find the blog which is reviewing the product I need :(

  4. Wow, I have never thought to check blog reviews on products! But I agree that it's much better to hear real people's opinions of things. I usually try to check Consumer Reports or ask friends. What a great idea! I'll be googling "product name blog" next time for sure!! It's funny because I've been introduced to so many new products from your reviews already, but I never thought to search for them. :)

  5. I live by reviews like yours! Most of the blogs that I frequent review quite a collective of various products from clothing, toys, kitchen
    aids, etc. Keep up the great work for me.....LOL
    Many thanks, Cindi

  6. I go through the same process for determining the quality of items. Amazon, and bloggers offer real testimony. I've been blogging for 5 months now. The first time I got approached by a company (and I rejected their freebee) wa just two months ago. Like you say, I had to build solid content first and a good solid ranking before companies reached out to me. Always, content first; build a reputation for honesty. Bloggers who do nothing but reviews can seem a bit shillish. Reviews should be interspersed with other stuff or they'll lose their power. At least that's my impression. You have great content AND a good smattering of reviews. That makes you credible. Not a "Build for adsense site" Kudos to you!

  7. I actually don't turn to bloggers reviews. I usually turn to amazon.com's reviews. Not necessarily because I'm uninterested in what bloggers have to say, but I just don't think to go to a blog.

    HOWEVER, when I'm reading a blog {such as yours} that reviews a great product I'd never heard of before, I will be swayed into purchasing it {if of interest to me} simply because of their review and introducing it to me.

    Nell

  8. So, all of the reviews I've been reading, and the snippets from your book have proved irresistible. I just downloaded it. Can't wait to read it!
    Blog reviews definitely sway my decisions when making purchases...especially if it's a blogger who I trust.

  9. I actually have never thought to look before at blog's for reviews. Unless I happened to run across them, I have never done so. Though I do always look on Amazon. In the future, I plan on googling the review through a blog like you suggested.

  10. I'm so glad you did this post - because actually I was recently contacted by a company try out there products and then do a giveaway- Thank for the insight.. :0)
    I was kinda lost on what I needed to do and so on.. Hopefully in the next week or so I will be able to do this giveaway - its from the Ecostore..
    Anyway - Thank you again.

  11. I occasionally look at blog reviews, but that normally happens by chance instead of on purpose. I tend to look more at Amazon or other high-traffic consumer sites for reviews. I suppose sometimes I like to see the volume of answers rather than one person's view (because there are so many different kinds of people out there with differing likes and views).

  12. i always check out blog reviews and google everything before i buy it. like you said, they're a great way to get the low down. even amazon/target reviews often only have people complaining about slow delivery or whatever. blog reviews are more detailed and (usually) more authentic.
    i wish there were more blog reviews for bigger things - like electronic reviews from NON-technology bloggers. i need a REGULAR person's opinion on a new camera, not a professional photographers!!

  13. I ahd to comment again because I wanted to let you know that I don't have a mall anywhere nearby (*gasp*) so you don't have to include me in the drawing.
    Great post, by the way. I have wanted to get the book ever since its release. Money is tight, but the 30% off is great. Maybe I can get my mom to get me an early Christmas gift. I really admire your knowledge and writing style and I can only imagine the wealth of bloggy info that the book contains. Thanks for sharing a bit of info in this post. Have a great weekend!

  14. I love blog reviews. Even PR oriented mommies that are provided product aren't driven to 'fluff' advertise like a mainstream advertising agency ad. The Target bullseye dog can't get me to go out and purchase jeans the same way a real mom can. I need to know a product can withstand real life. I want a testimonial that those jeans will indeed flatten my muffin top belly, and stretch with my child-bearing hips and thighs while I chase my little man all day! I have been let down too many times by a picture and a promising ad blurb.
    If a blogger has a point of view that I align myself with, then chances are high that she (or he) will look for the same qualities in a product that I am looking for too. I use blogger reviews to save time, and money, by drawing from their experiences. Bloggers (especially mommy bloggers) are a great resource and a powerful selling tool for products, in my opinion.

  15. I haven't really ever looked at Blog reviews much in the past, perhaps it's because I don't order much online. If the item is something "big" then I will but if it is something I pick up in the store a lot of times I don't. I do believe it's a great resource, and I do plan on reading them for future purchases.

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