16 March 2012

A Bloggers Prospective: Product Reviews

My Dear Friends,

As a blogger that sometimes does product reviews and/or giveaways, I sometimes get pitches that I don't feel would be a good fit, or truthfully, completely disinterest me.  The thing is, this is MY blog.  I want to share things with the cyber world that I'M interested in.  After all, people follow blogs because they like their content; so in that vein, they would most likely enjoy the things I talk about as well.

What do you do when you get an opportunity that you want to pass on?  
If I'm not personally interested in the product, what makes me think that those who read my blog will be?  After all, bloggers have followers because they write about things that the reader is interested in.  If you take out the "interest factor" then there's nothing to keep people coming back.

Why I don't do reviews without an actual item to review:
Why agree to review a product without an actual product?  All this means is that the company is trying to get free advertising from you.  If you don't get a product for review, how can you give an honest opinion?  Also, if you get asked to do a review and then they want to send you the product for consideration, then after the review, they want you to send it back to them...that's just shady.  Stay away from those dealings.  If you can't keep the product, again, it's basically free advertising.  

What do you do when you dislike a product?
I'd say about 95% of the products I've reviewed, I've liked.  I say yes to the initial review if I want to know more about a product, but if it happens that I absolutely don't like it, I do this:  I write what I call an "about" review.  I take into consideration that said company was nice enough to offer a product that I was initially interested in for a review.  If I happen to not like it after the fact, then I write an "about" post where I detail the background and history of the company, it's products and ways to connect via social media.  In a few occasions, I have suggested things that I thought might improve the product.  I feel that this is the best way to handle the issue, since I am not slamming a company or product, but instead putting honest, reliable information out there.  I feel that I owe a good post to not only the company (since they did send me a free product), but my readers as well. 

How I pitch prospective companies:
In my pitch letter, I state my processes - the outlines of what the post will have in it.  For example, I always include social media links and promote via my social media.  I list reputable companies that I've previously done reviews for, as this shows you are serious about your blog and have the backing of well known companies.  There are some people out there who pitch a company and then keep items without doing a review, and I try to let prospective companies know that I am a legitimate, trustworthy blogger.  It's also important to let the company know that samples are not returned and in the event that you dislike a product, what your policy is on how to handle it.  People read a review blog because they want to know your true, honest opinions about something.  You must be truthful.  If you don't like it, don't pretend like you do.  You aren't helping anyone that way.

Blogging Style & Preferences:
You have to realize that while these are your opinions and you are welcome to type in whatever writing style you like, it has to be put forth in a way that will identify with people.  If a review reads in monotone and is boring, chances are the reader won't finish the whole page.  If they won't finish the whole page, they probably won't be back to your blog.  Try and engage the readers, make them want to comment or talk to you.  When you get an email or comment from a reader who appreciates your content, it's such a great feeling.  Remember that whatever company your working with is a business, and they need good vibes as much as the rest of us.  The majority of companies will work with you on color, sizing, preference, etc. so that they send you something that will actually get used rather than sit there or be given away. 


rj7777 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diane said...

Sometimes if a company offers to let me do a review, but it is not something I would normally need or use, I will ask if i can pass it on to other bloggers who might be a good fit.

I do the same things when I write up a review of products that i didn't really like - I write about it, and what it is supposed to do. Then I write what I would have liked better.

Only once I had a product not work at all. I thought maybe it was defective so i emailed my contact asking if she had any tips/tricks on getting it to work. She told me everyone elses worked fine. I explained I really had nothing good to say about the product and that i wouldn't write the review if she didnt want me to and she ignored me and refused to respond to emails. I started reading other reviews online about the product and it didn't work for about half the people either so i let my negative review go up.