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Sunday, February 21, 2010

How To: Product Review-Tips (to get you started)


This post has been long overdue!
 

So you want to become a product reviewer.

  I did too, when I first started blogging!  I can recall emailing a mom behind a really great product review blog I thought was fabulous, hoping to get a few tips or "how to's"  from the author.  I received a reply email alright-but it wasn't what I was hoping for.  Instead, the email tone came across as condescending, as if I was simply a bug she wanted to brush away.  What did I know?  I was a newbie, and she had the answers.  But she didn't want to share any information.  Why?  Well-many people want to keep their product reviewing information to themselves.  This is mainly because they feel that if they share the information-that will be less pitches and not as many products for them to review as more and more people seek out how to PR.  All I have to say is: Relax!  Now that blogging and Product Reviewing has become more popular, many more companies are looking to bloggers to promote their product/company.  So, that means there are plenty of opportunities to go around. 


So lets get started:

1.  First and foremost-if you don't have a twitter account-make one.  This becomes very important in social-networking with other moms, as well as companies.  This is great exposure because if a company follows you and likes what they see, they may contact you.  So make sure you sign up with a twitter account right now:)

2. Sign up with as many product review websites as you can.  There are so many out there.  Here are some that are my favorite and ones I've had really good luck with:

Team Mom: http://www.childsplaypr.com/team_mom/

She Blogs: http://www.sheblogs.org/

One 2 One Network: http://www.one2onenetwork.com/

BzzAgent (great for beginning Product Reviewers)-http://www.bzzagent.com/

Chick Advisor: http://www.chickadvisor.com/home.html

Book Sneeze: (book reviews): http://www.booksneeze.com/

Boon:  http://www.booninc.com/inside_BloggerProgram.php

Mom Select: http://momselect.com/

Sign up and subscribe to www.twittermoms.com/-often times you will get RAMBO alerts which will feature great giveaways and products to be reviewed.  

My Blog Spark: http://www.myblogspark.com/

The Product Review Place (they have pitches from PR that come in occasionally)- http://productreviewplace.ning.com/

These should get you off to a nice start!  Just remember-you may not get an instant response.  It took a few months until I started to get offers from these companies, but once they have you in their system, they will contact you if you match up with their needs.

FYI: it is a great idea as well to simply review things you have around the house-companies notice these things as they are blog hopping, and may like how you review a particular product.  They might even want you to review theirs!  So keep in mind-you don't always have to necessarily receive something from a company just to review it.  You can also host your own giveaway-something small to start out. 

If you are really eager to contact a company yourself (just hop online and google key words that fit into your blog niche (you'll find all sorts of businesses and companies that way), you will need a good pitch.  Here is a great one that has already been made and distributed on my "How To Product Review" group on the Mom Bloggers Club.  Thanks to Jessica from http://ridingwithjessica.com/ who posted a great product review pitch template. You can personalize this accordingly. 


A company/PR rep contacted me!  What do I do?

Many companies take advantage of the fact that many new bloggers don't know what they're doing-and that they will be happy accepting pretty much anything.  Keep your standards high.  You are a blogger, and this is fun-but it takes a lot of time and effort to write up a decent review/giveaway.   Outline all of your terms and standards in a microsoft word file so you can send it back to the company that contacted you so they know what they will be working with.  

Also, (this is a BIG one, based on experience) let the company you are working with know that they will need to send out the winning item(s).  When I did my first review, I didn't know that companies would/should do this.  That company sent me two of the same item-one for myself and one for the winner of the giveaway, and I ended up having to go through the hassle of paying for the postage and sending it out myself.  NOT something you want to do!  So be clear about this to your host company.   

I've been contacted by a company/PR rep and am now set to do my first giveaway! Now what do I do?

Do some research on the company/product you are reviewing.  When I did my Eco-store USA giveaway, I checked out the website and familiarized myself with who they were, what they were about, what they stood for and of course, the products.  I usually include a little background bit about them-but really the sky is the limit.  Reviews are very personal-some people take a very professional approach at reviews and only give an overview about the product and promote it, some delve in and really show how they used the product, their likes, dislikes, pros and/or cons.  It's totally up to you and what you want to represent about that product on your blog.  

When you're done writing your blog-at the end you will need to figure out how you want people to enter your giveaway.  This is also very individualistic.  Some simply want people to sign up once with their email address-and others have multiple options for sighing up such as adding you as a follower, adding you as a friend on twitter,  or writing a blog post about the giveaway to be able to post additional entries. It really is all up to you!  I have used many of these methods for gaining entries. 
One thing to do for sure is to make sure you make it clear that everyone enters their email address.  It can get pretty tricky when you select a winner and they didn't post their email address and you can't find it anywhere.


Ok.  So how do I get people to sign up for my giveaway?

Promote, promote, promote!  The more you promote your giveaway, the better.  Go to your social-networking sites such as twitter, Mom Bloggers Club, The Product Review Place, Twitter Moms, etc.  and let other people know you are having a giveaway.

I also list my giveaways on these websites, as I have found these  four to work the best:

1. Online-Sweepstakes.  This one probably brings in the most people out of all of them: http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/

2.  Contest Girl: http://www.contestgirl.com/sweepstakes/add-sweepstakes.pl

3.  Prizey.net: http://www.prizey.net/submit

4.  Sweepstakes Advantages: http://www.sweepsadvantage.com/


Last but not least...

HAVE FUN! 



{if you have any PR websites to add-feel free to add them below!}

23 comments:

  1. Very informative post:) Great job!

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  2. Thanks for the list! There's a few on there that are new to me :)

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  3. What a great list of PR tips all in one place!

    I have been doing PR for a few months now and love it! It's a great way to try out products and share them with others via my blog. I love helping these companies promote their products. I especially like helping new or smaller companies get the word out.

    Another great resource is Etsy.com. I browse the site frequently and contact the sellers if I see something of interest. Some say yes and some say no - many sellers like the extra exposure a review on a blog can bring to their Etsy store.

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  4. This is great! Thank you very much for helping out. I am new to all of this :O)

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  5. This was so helpful. I posted about this a couple of weeks ago asking for help getting started and got barely any comments, leading me to wonder about what you said - normally fellow bloggers are so helpful, but with this I didn't get anything. I'm still debating whether I'm going to take the plunge or not. I have to think about some time availabilities first. BUT this was so helpful, I'm going to bookmark it and come back to it when and if I do! Thanks again - glad to be a follower!

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  6. Hey Monique - this is great information. I don't do product reviews (I blog for a newspaper that doesn't allow them), but I firmly believe that blogging is about community, and community is about being supportive and sharing resources - I love that you're doing that! Thanks for dropping by to see me, and I'll be back :).

    Peryl

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  7. Hi,
    I am from MBC and I am so happy to see this! I am new at writing PR's and I just finished my 2nd review a few days ago. I wanted to thank you writing this post and helping new people who want to write PR's I think it is silly that people are so possessive and I have found that a lot of companies as happy to work with me and I was happily surprised.

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  8. Oh, I forgot to say that I am so happy with you that I am now following your blog. :)

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  9. I'm so glad you're all finding this information useful!

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  10. Great post Monique!
    You shared some new places for me.

    Please check out my Partners/Sponsor's page & Scroll down to "Who We Work With" for some more to add to your list: http://americanmuslimmom.com/partners-sponsors

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  11. Wow - you covered this broad topic very well, I've never wanted to be a product reviewer, but you have given everyone some great ideas to get started. Great post!

    Best wishes,

    Kristin
    Thanks for joining on commenting group at MBC :)

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  12. Hey, awesome information, it is great to see people who are helpful. I have put a link to this post on http://bloggersden.ning.com hope you don't mind.

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  13. You are awesome and you made me feel good. Lots of the advice you were giving was exactly what I have started to do...especially the reviewing things around the house! And that helped! A few companies I cold contacted wanted to see examples of my reviews so I was able to send them links to my posts! Now I'm excited to say I have about 10 items to review and I've been blogging for three weeks!

    All thanks goes to people like you, who are willing to share and help fellow bloggers out!!! You rock!!

    Emmi @ Mommy's Free Time

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  14. Hi, following from MBC. You have a great blog. I am looking into becoming a Product Reviewer and I really never knew where to start. Your tips are great. Have a great weekend.
    ~Trista

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  15. You are awesome!! I am also a firm believer and helping others if I have/know something they may like to know. :) Love your tips, and I will be following through with them.

    I'm also following you now with both of my blogs, and am a group member on MBC! Have a great day!

    Tree aka Mother of Pearl
    http://www.motherofpearlitis.com
    http://www.mommiesfaves.com

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  16. Thanks for the great resources a couple other great places are http://productreviewplace.ning.com , http://pitchit.ning.com/ and http://mombloggers.ning.com/

    I've managed to snag some reviews from these places and they also have promo as well as groups to give advice.

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  17. You have provided some great and helpful tips. I really needed them as a new blogger. I'm also a new follower. Please visit my blog at http://www.diaryofachicmommy.com

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  18. I know a lot of the reviews & giveaways that are going on now are for moms and their children. Although I desperately want kids my husband and I have to wait for financial reasons.

    I am however very involved in many kids lives. Is there a way I can review products now so that I will have the products in the future for my own children?

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  19. wow, thanks for all those sites, some I did know, but most I did not know about, on my way to check them out. Also thanks for the review template, great.
    http://www.kitchentable4.blogspot.com
    http://www.twitter.com/kitchentable4

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  20. Thank you so much for posting this I am new to blogging and am having a little bit of a hard time finding people. This has really helps me out a lot!!!

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I read all of my comments and often respond right back here in the comments section. Go ahead-you know you want to!!